TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council unanimously passed a resolution to preserve the Cherokee language during its monthly meeting. The Cherokee Nation has many language initiatives to perpetuate its rich language, including a language immersion program and a four-year degree program in partnership with Northeastern State University. These were mentioned as reasons for the resolution, which supports furthering all Native American languages in Oklahoma.
"This resolution brought forward by Councilman Chuck Hoskin is further proof of the importance our tribe places on its language," said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith. "The Cherokee language is important to maintaining our cultural heritage and identity and enhances the quality of life of our people."
Cherokee Nation Industries reported a total of $79 million in sales for the year with an estimated profit of $1.8 million for the year. CNI, headquartered in Stilwell, Oklahoma, also reported the addition of 56 new employees for the year, bringing the total to 333 employees thus far this year.
By a vote of 9 to 7, the Council narrowly passed an amendment to the Cherokee Nation General Corporation Act. The amendment calls for a five percent increase in the dividend paid by Cherokee Nation Enterprises to the tribe. These additional funds would be used for contract health services.
While some Council members were for using the additional funds, some were concerned because of a previous commitment made to a financial institution earlier this year.
"We're talking about surplus (funds)," said Mayes County Councilman Johnny Keener. "We've got it to work with. Let's spend it."
Adair County Councilman Jackie Bob Martin reminded the Council that the Cherokee Nation made a commitment in January that there would be no changes in the tribe's dividend policy with Cherokee Nation Enterprises.
"We indicated we would support the Jobs Growth Act and the three-year capital plan," Martin said. "In our agreement we said we would leave our dividend policy alone."
Martin instead proposed the Council work with the Cherokee Nation Health Services Group to evaluate the true needs of the citizens, saying that while he was in favor of helping the people, he also wanted to honor the commitments made by the tribe. Martin also noted once needs were identified, they could be paid for with the tribe's surplus funds instead of the proposed dividend increase.
The Council also confirmed the nominations of Pam Iron and Tom Herrian as Governing Board Members of the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Care Agency. Established in 2004, the agency facilitates various Cherokee Nation health care initiatives, including joint ventures and other business-related health activities.
In other business, the Council approved the donation of a tribally-owned health services mobile unit to the Cherokee County Emergency Management program and approved a Native American Arts and Crafts Copyright Act. The Council also passed a budget modification which will provide funds for housing, a recreational center and equipment, a ground penetrating system and the Cherokee County Boys and Girls Club "Summer Pride" program.