Fellows Network

Kathy Tibbits

Cherokee Nation, Strategy Group

Stilwell, Oklahoma

Kathy has worked as a planner, organizer, and policy analyst for ten years with Cherokee Nation, with a focus on sovereignty and sustainable self-governance. Today she is a private consultant, attorney, and artist.

For Cherokee Nation, she helped to start the Cherokee Small Farm Project and helped found the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, which is both a producer cooperative and a consumer cooperative with about 2,000 members, 125 producers, and 2,600 monthly ‘Oklavore’ products. Monthly sales average $65,000, of which 95% goes to the farmer producers. On the Board of Legacy Cultural Learning Community, she helps to preserve Cherokee ethnobotanical traditions and to give traditional cultural and artistic opportunities to young Cherokees, sustaining intergenerational connectedness to the Earth. As Co-Founder of the Cherokee Film Festival, she was a part of establishing programs to help rural Indian youth learn film-making for the expression of traditional indigenous values. Kathy is also coordinating an Energy Policy Team to assess Cherokee Nation’s carbon footprint, including the government, its businesses and the businesses and governments that Cherokee Nation interacts with. For Blue Sky Water, a Cherokee traditional conservation group, Kathy is helping to bring together stakeholders on a collaborative Greenway of the Cherokee Ozarks with the help of National Park Service. This will link traditional Cherokee, conservation, and recreation nodes along a 94-mile highway route through the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.

Through the conservation group Save The Illinois River, Kathy also produces an annual Earth Day Songwriters’ Music Jam and is working on a second CD music anthology documenting the culture of the Illinois River as a measure of conservation values.

Kathy has a BA degree in Political Science from Univerity of Oklahoma and a JD in Law from University of Tulsa.

Selected Publication
For Tibbits, environment at the forefront is an article by Renee Fite that appeared in the Tahlequan Daily Press on June 14, 2011. It focuses on Kathy’s community service, environmental, and law work. “Community service matters,” she said. “We’re all in this together. Our community is what we make it – happy, loving, serene. What kind of a world do you want to live in and how can you make it that way? I want to be the change I want to see. It’s how I’m inspired; being purposeful, making the woodpile higher.”

Updated June 2010.