Cherokee Nation boosts community partners through special project funds

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Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Tribal Council Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez and Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. presented a $25,000 check in May to Big Cabin officials to help with the purchase of a new fire truck for the town’s fire department. A portion of the donation came from the tribe’s special projects budget, which helps Cherokee Nation help community partners on projects benefitting Cherokees and non-Cherokees alike.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation provided a major boost to local governments, schools, community organizations, churches and more with the more than $568,000 in total donations from the tribe’s special projects budget in fiscal year 2018.
Donations made through the special projects fund are selected by the office of Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Tribal Council, and allow the tribe to partner with communities and organizations on projects that benefit both Cherokee Nation citizens and non-Cherokees alike.
“The Cherokee Nation takes great pride in being a good community partner and recognizes the importance of providing support to the schools, nonprofits, churches and other organizations that make such a positive impact within our local communities,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We know that when we give to these organizations that our Cherokee Nation dollars will go further and be more impactful for our citizens and our communities.”
In fiscal year 2018, the tribe budgeted $40,000 for each Tribal Councilor, representing the 15 districts inside the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction.
Tribal Councilor Bryan Warner, of Sallisaw, gave $13,000 of his $40,000 to rural volunteer fire departments in his district, which encompasses the eastern half of Sequoyah County. The donations helped the volunteer fire departments purchase needed supplies and equipment as well as provide an invaluable service to all members of the community.
“Rural volunteer fire departments are often the first people on the scene when disaster strikes and help is needed,” Warner said. “They can be the difference between life and death or preventing loss of home and possessions, and I believe it is our duty to support these brave men and women who risk their safety for the sake of others.”
In district 14, Tribal Councilor Keith Austin used $17,035 of his allocated funds to help the town of Talala purchase a new storm siren. The siren replaces a more than 30-year-old storm siren in the small town in Rogers County.
“I’m so proud that as a Tribal Councilor I can dedicate resources to projects that can save lives for years to come,” Austin said. “Weather in Oklahoma can often be unpredictable and spontaneous during the tornado season. Having a new siren that can alert people more effectively will allow families to get to safe areas quicker during those precious minutes before a storm can hit.”
Talala Mayor Lester Orwig said the tribe’s willingness to be a good partner in the local communities is not only great for his town but all of northeast Oklahoma.
“This project is of extreme importance to the town and even the immediate surrounding area. A new siren has been a need for a long time, and we are very grateful that the Cherokee Nation continues to provide valuable assistance to our community and others across northeast Oklahoma,” Orwig said.
Total amounts distributed in fiscal year 2018 from each Tribal Councilor’s allocated $40,000 budget and highlighted projects in the Tribal Councilors’ respective districts are listed below:
District 1 Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan – $40,000 – Includes donations to the town of Okay for general support and to the Friends of Hulbert Library’s community improvement project.

District 2 Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd – $40,000 – Includes donations to the U.S. Marshals Museum for organizational support and to Sequoyah High School athletics.

District 3 Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick – $8,083.33 – Includes donations to the Dry Creek Community Organization for organization support and to the city of Tahlequah for the annual Christmas party.

District 4 Tribal Councilor Dr. Mike Dobbins – $40,000 – Includes donations to Muskogee Public Schools for general support and to Project A Association for organizational support.

District 5 Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith – $40,000 – Includes donations to the Marble City Community Food Pantry for organizational support and local volunteer fire departments for general operations.

District 6 Tribal Councilor Bryan Warner – $40,000 – Includes donations to local schools and nonprofits for organizational support.

District 7 Tribal Council Secretary Frankie Hargis – $40,000 – Includes donations to Peavine Public School to help with the roof replacement and to Stilwell Public Library for new shelving.

District 8 Tribal Councilor Shawn Crittenden – $40,000 – Includes donations to the Mid County Fire Department for equipment and general support as well as to Oak Ridge Church for roof repairs.

District 9 Tribal Councilor Mike Shambaugh – $40,000 – Includes donations to the Colcord Riding Club and to Jay Public Schools for facility improvements.

District 10 Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard – $40,000 – Includes donations to the Spavinaw Youth Center for a new heat and air unit as well as to Pine Ridge Church for building improvements.

District 11 Tribal Council Deputy Speaker – $40,000 – Includes donations to Big Cabin Fire Department for a new truck and to the town of Lenapah for a new water treatment plant.

District 12 Tribal Councilor Dick Lay – $40,000 – Includes a donation to the Washington County Cherokee Organization new building fund.

District 13 Tribal Councilor Buel Anglen – $40,000 – Includes donations to the American Legion Post 131 for a new stove and to the Skiatook VFW for organizational support.

District 14 Tribal Councilor Keith Austin – $40,000 – Includes donations to the Rogers County Elder Day Care for organizational support and to the Claremore Museum of History.

District 15 Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor – $40,000 – Includes donations to Emmanuel Baptist Church for facility improvements and to Verdigris Public Schools for facility improvements.

Cherokee Nation News Release

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