Cherokee NationCherokee Nation’s economic impact in our state – almost $2.2 billion – is rooted in our commitment to investing in Oklahoma communities, big and small. The Cherokee Nation will never outsource jobs or threaten to pull up stakes when the going gets tough. We remain the best friend that the state of Oklahoma has ever had. To make sure that friendship remains strong and mutually beneficial, we pay close attention to what is happening in the Oklahoma Legislature, and we advocate for legislation that will benefit our tribal nation, the state and Cherokee communities. In the current state legislative session, which recently kicked off at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City, we are especially focused on bills that support Cherokee students in our public schools. More than a decade ago, tribal nations and Oklahoma took steps to improve collaboration on the education of American Indian students by creating the Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education (OACIE). The council includes state officials and educators along with representatives from Cherokee Nation and other tribal governments. This advisory council has been doing good work since 2010, but it expires in July of 2020 unless renewed by the Legislature.
In this legislative session, we can address the problem by allowing the Oklahoma State Department of Education to collect tribal affiliation data for enrolled students in Oklahoma Public Schools. We are working with other sovereign tribal governments, Oklahoma education officials and lawmakers to make this happen. Additionally, we will monitor and weigh in on other key issues, including bringing home our federal tax dollars to expand health care access, ending the troubling trend of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and making sure that our renewed gaming compacts continue to be a win-win for tribes and the state. We always appreciate our friends in the Oklahoma Legislature for keeping lines of communication and good-faith collaboration open, even when we disagree. I look forward to another productive year of tribal-state collaboration to improve the place we all call home.
Chuck Hoskin Jr. is the 18th elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the largest Indian tribe in the United States. He is only the second elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from Vinita, the first being Thomas Buffington, who served from 1899-1903. Prior to being elected Principal Chief, Hoskin served as the tribe’s Secretary of State. He also formerly served as a member of the Council of the Cherokee Nation, representing District 11 for six years.
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