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2023 OICWA Conference

Award Winners

Carney and Kim Duncan, Cherokee Nation

Tribal Resource Family of the Year

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Carney Duncan was born in Tahlequah, OK, in 1967 and is a lifelong resident of Stilwell, OK. He met Kimberly Jo Robertson at Stilwell Middle School when she was 14, and he was 17. Carney currently works at the Cherokee Nation ICW as a resource home recruiter/Pre-Service trainer. He is a Pastor at Power House Church in Stilwell and is the founding member of "7-Ravens ministries."

Kim was born in Stilwell, OK, and is also a lifelong resident of Stilwell. She has worked in the public school systems for 29 years. Currently, she works at Stilwell Public Schools system as the Homeless Liaison, Family Advocate, Parent Liaison, Youth Mental Health Assistant Director, among other duties.

When being nominated for this award by Cherokee Nation, they shared that Carney and Kim have been an open home with Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare since 2017. They have had a host of children come through their home through foster care, adoption, or through the work they have done in their community. Kim and Carney have six biological children who are all grown, and they are adoptive parents to seven children who live in the home. They also have three grandchildren, all of whom were adopted by their adult children.

Their life is centered on helping others and searching out ways to be in service to their tribe, community, and other foster families. Kim works at the school in their hometown, and her office is a go-to for all the children there. Carney is a recruiter and trainer for Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare and emphasizes the importance of trauma-informed care.

Kim and Carney are proponents of family reunification and have taken an active role in helping families reunify by hosting visitations and finding services for their foster children’s birth family. They also have worked diligently with other foster parents to facilitate visits with siblings when they have been separated. Kim and Carney strive to pass on the Cherokee language, culture, and lifeways to their children. Cherokee is not an unintentional act in the Duncan home; it is their way of life.

Tribal Resource Family of the Year Anchor

Judge Charles Tripp is a member of the Cherokee Nation. He has three daughters, three sons, and eight grandchildren. He received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa. He has been a judge for thirty years for a number of tribes in Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah, Washington, Nebraska, Virginia, and North Dakota.

Judge Tripp currently resides as a tribal judge for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Delaware Tribe of Indians, Pawnee Nation, and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. He is also currently Justice for the Kaw Nation, Miami Area Court of Indian Appeals, the Ute Tribe, and the Macaw Tribe.

Judge Tripp demonstrates professionalism, integrity, fairness, and prioritizes ensuring children in foster care are provided connections to their kin, cultures, and communities.

Honorable Charles Tripp

Tribal Court Judge of the Year

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Carmalita Ward

Richard Poweshiek Award


Carmalita Ward is the Indian Child Welfare worker for Wyandotte Nation. She graduated from Rogers State University with a Bachelors in Justice Administration. Carmalita is a first generation college graduate within her family.

She started her career working for OKDHS in Child Welfare but she feels that she has performed Social Work long before her college degree was obtained. Carmalita has always had a compassion for helping others. She is a descendant of the Cherokee, Seneca Cayuga, and Shawnee Tribes. She was raised with a traditional Cherokee upbringing.

Carmalita gives acknowledgement to the Creator who has instilled the power of strength in our people. She passes down that same power so that the families and children she works with will develop HOPE

Richard Poweshiek Award Anchor
Tribal Court Judge of the Year Anchor
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