The Respond, Recover and Rebuild Disability Assistance Program Deadline is now extended to Friday, Nov. 13. Now open to all Disabled Cherokee Nation Veterans receiving VA benefits, who live both in and outside the Cherokee Nation reservation. Cherokees with disabilities living within the reservation may also apply for the $300 COVID assistance payment. Apply below.

Education Services

918-453-5000 ext. 5341
17675 S. Muskogee Ave Tahlequah, OK 74464

Early Childhood Unit

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Early Childhood Unit is to bring about a greater degree of social competence in children who may be disadvantaged.

The ECU’s approach is based on the philosophy that a child can benefit most from a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program to foster development and remedy problems through the involvement of the child’s entire family as well as the community.


Cherokee Nation Early Childhood Unit offers two options: Head Start, a classroom environment promoting early childhood development stages; and Early Head Start, serving children aged 6 weeks to three years old.

Head Start serves children age three to five at centers in these areas: Brushy, Hulbert, Inola, Kenwood, Stilwell, Pryor, Rocky Mountain, Salina, Shady Grove, Tahlequah, Webbers Falls, and Zion.

Early Head Start serves children age six weeks to three years at centers in these areas: Tahlequah, Cherry Tree, Jay, Pryor, Stilwell, Salina, and Nowata.

Tribal and Federal Funds for FY 2020:


  • $629,724 from the Tribal Council Head Start Act.
  • $31,267 from the Motor Vehicle Tax.


  • $9,283,589 DHHS Head Start Grant.
  • $43,626 DOI Self-Governance funds.

Total Tribal Funds FY 2020: $660,991
Total Federal Funds FY 2020: $9,327,215

Program Information Report  

Funded Enrollment: Head Start 680, Early Head Start 200.
Average Monthly enrollment: 95%-100%.
Families Served by: Head Start, 712; Early Head Start, 258.

Head Start: 44% of children served are income or categorically eligible.
Early Head Start: 71% of children served are income or categorically eligible.

Head Start: 94% of children received medical screenings.
Early Head Start: 91% of children received medical screenings.
Head Start dental screenings: 90% of children received exam.

Head Start
Early Head Start
Income Eligibility 2020/2021

Family Size


















For each additional family member add $4,480 to the amount shown above.


Eligibility Requirements

  • CDIB (Federally recognized tribes)
  • Within 14 county Jurisdictional area
  • Income Guidelines

Additional Requirements

  • Age Verification Record: Birth Card, Birth Certificate.
  • Immunization Record
  • Income Verification in the form of documents including: W-2; 1040 tax form; recent pay stub; employer's letter; TANF letter or SSI documents.

Applications are screened and prioritized for enrollment opportunities. All children accepted for enrollment must submit a completed physical and dental upon entry into the program. If an application is on file, please contact the office to ensure the most current address and phone number are listed.


  • CNECU Annual Report
    This document is a general profile of current Cherokee Nation Early Childhood Unit operations.
  • Eligibility Enrollment Criteria List
    Early Childhood Unit eligibility enrollment criteria list for 2020-2021.
  • Enrollment Application
    Early Childhood Unit intake applications for 2020.