Cherokee Nation adds millions to housing, career programs

04/15/2014

(L to R) Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis thanked A-Mo Health Center staff Candice Burkhart, Christie Ross, Tina Snell and Dr. Michael Underwood, as Principal Chief Bill John Baker recognized them and other staff at the Salina health center for their heroic efforts during a recent code blue.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —The Cherokee Nation increased its 2014 operating budget, adding $9.7 million from carryover funds from fiscal year 2013. The additional funding will help more Cherokee citizens with housing and job training.

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council passed the budget amendment Monday, increasing the tribe’s $596.8 million operating budget. The budget modification will allow $1.7 million to be added to the tribe’s housing rehabilitation program, $1.2 million for replacement homes, $332,000 for the Cherokee Day Training Program and $68,000 for vocational assistance. The rest of the funding went toward college scholarships, the Veterans Center and other general fund programs.

“We are very fortunate to have these carryover dollars for programs that directly benefit the Cherokee people,” said Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory-Jordan. “Millions of dollars will help Cherokees with much-needed home repairs and help put our citizens in jobs.”

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council also declared a day each October to recognize some of the most influential people in the tribe. The council approved a resolution to establish “Cherokee Nation Leadership Day.”

Cherokee Nation citizen Cierra Fields, a Fort Gibson High School freshman, spearheaded the resolution as an alternative to celebrating Columbus Day. The day will be dedicated to recognizing current and former Cherokee leaders in the areas of government, education, business, history and cultural preservation who have helped the tribe get to its current state.

“I applaud Cierra for her initiative to replace Columbus Day with a day that all Cherokees can celebrate,” said Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick, of District 3, Tahlequah, who sponsored the resolution. “This is a shining example of how Cherokee youth can make a positive difference in our nation.”

In other business, the Tribal Council took the following actions:

Passed a resolution to support the Oklahoma Education Coalition in its attempt to obtain additional funding for public schools from the state legislature.

Appointed three Tribal Councilors to the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission under advisory positions to ensure the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission operates under regulations set by the National Indian Gaming Commission and the tribe’s compact with the state of Oklahoma.

Voted to donate surplus washers, dryers and a refrigerator to Warpony Community Outreach in Cherokee County.

Voted to develop and apply for a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for a youth build program that would teach students construction skills.

Voted to add $150,000 to the tribe’s fiscal year 2014 capital budget for a total of $99.6 million.

The next Tribal Council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., May 12, at the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah.
Cherokee Nation News Release
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