Cherokee Nation Providing Warmth This WinterCherokee Nation employee Curtiss Hogner (right) demonstrates the operation of the newly installed wood pellet stove in the home of Cherokee elder Mamie Carroll (left).
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – As winter weather approaches, the Cherokee Nation is working to ensure the safety and well-being of Cherokee citizens who need a little extra help staying warm.
In recent weeks, the Cherokee Nation’s Family Assistance program has installed 24 wood pellet stoves in the homes of citizens in need, to help provide heat throughout upcoming winter weather. These families might otherwise have been left in the cold were it not for the Cherokee Nation and some of its programs.
“It is important to remember our most fragile Cherokee citizens,” said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “Many of the individuals that receive heating assistance are elderly and disabled. It is customary in Cherokee culture to honor our elders. Providing much needed support during their time of need is just one of the ways we can do this. It is through the knowledge of our elders that our heritage has lived on.”
Cherokee Nation Family Assistance provides emergency heating aid to eligible applicants through programs such as its Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Each year, approximately 1,700 applicants receive assistance through Cherokee Nation LIHEAP.
“LIHEAP is available every winter to families throughout the Cherokee Nation that need help keeping their homes warm,” said Jerry Snell, Director of Family Assistance. “It’s good to know that Cherokee Nation has a direct impact on keeping our elderly and disabled tribal members comfortable, safe and warm at home during the winter.”
Snell added that pellet stoves are very costly and without the assistance of the Cherokee Nation, many of the recipients would be unable to afford purchase one on their own.
“It is wonderful that the tribe has the resources available to support a project of this nature,” said Snell. “The major benefit is that our tribal elders have been given a resource that will benefit them for years to come, both financially and in many cases from a health standpoint. We have statistics that support the benefits of heating with pellets over all other conventional heating sources.”
To qualify, applicants must live in the jurisdictional boundaries of the Cherokee Nation, meet income guidelines and the head of household must be a member of a federally recognized tribe. All applications must include a copy of the applicant’s CDIB card, proof of residency and income verification. Priority will be given to elderly and disabled Cherokee citizens.
For more information about LIHEAP or to request an application for assistance, contact Cherokee Nation Human Services at (918) 453-5327.