Deputy Speaker of the Tribal Council Victoria Vazquez, Bluejacket Cherokee Association member Morris Bluejacket, Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.
, Okla. — Cherokee Nation leaders toured Craig County on May 25 and made donations to the Big Cabin Senior Citizens Center, White Oak Public School and Bluejacket Cherokee Association.
Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Tribal Council Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez visited the three entities to present checks and thank employees and volunteers for their efforts.
“All three of these entities are making an important difference in the lives of those they encounter in their Craig County communities,” Vazquez said. “The Cherokee Nation is supporting their efforts, and I’m thankful we can help them serve their communities. Their commitment is to be commended.”
Bluejacket Cherokee Association in Bluejacket, a community of about 350 residents located northeast of Vinita, received a total of $1,500, including $1,000 from the tribe’s community assistance fund and $500 from the special projects fund.
“We used the money to put up lights for our softball field; in fact, the Cherokee Nation was instrumental in helping us get the softball field,” said Morris Bluejacket, a former Bluejacket mayor and a current member of the community’s Cherokee association. “Because these lights were installed, we were able to apply to have district competition here next year. That would be a big boost for our little community. We thank the Cherokee Nation for its continued support.”
White Oak Public School, which enrolls about 50 students and is located west of Vinita, received $1,000. Superintendent Richard McSpadden said the tribe’s donation will be used to expand an outdoor classroom, built in part through a Cherokee Nation donation made in 2016.
“Last year we used funding to start the outdoor classroom with a picnic area, so this year we’ll likely expand that. We’ll try to get it done this summer so we can have it for the beginning of the next school year,” McSpadden said. “Money is just extremely tight for any public school in Oklahoma right now, and the Cherokee Nation money is very appreciated and needed at this point.”
The Big Cabin Senior Citizens Center received $250. Big Cabin, located southwest of Vinita, is home to fewer than 300 residents. Cooks at the senior center prepare meals that can be consumed at the facility or delivered to dozens of residents each week.
The funds from Cherokee Nation can be used as needed.
“In their own ways, each of these three groups has a positive impact on those who live in and around their communities,” Hoskin said. “There could perhaps be no better gift than to offer our support to those who take care of our youth and our elders, and the Cherokee Nation looks forward to a continued partnership with these Craig County leaders.”
Projects funded through the special projects fund are selected by Tribal Council and Chief Baker’s office and allow the tribe to partner with communities and organizations on projects that benefit Cherokee Nation citizens and non-Cherokees alike.
Cherokee Nation News Release
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