Cherokee Nation donates $2.6 million to public schools

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - Joining in partnership with local communities, the Cherokee Nation donated more than $2.6 million dollars recently to public schools within the tribe's 14-county jurisdiction at an education summit held in the U-do-tlv-sv Tsu-na-ne-lo-di (Place Where They Play) multi-purpose center on the campus of Sequoyah Schools in Tahlequah.

"Youth are a priority to us, and historically, Cherokees have always been dedicated to education. We established the first institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River in the Cherokee Female Seminary," said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. "The Cherokee Nation also endeavors to be a good community partner, and one of the ways we accomplish this is to work closely with communities and their schools."

All funds distributed to schools were generated from the sale of Cherokee Nation car tags during the past year. Under Cherokee Nation Law, the tribe gives schools within its jurisdiction 38 percent of the revenues generated by tag sales. This year's contribution to area schools is greater than last year's by more than $300,000.

"Including this donation, we have given more than $10 million dollars to area schools in the last four years, and schools can use these funds as they deem most appropriate. We feel it is important to continue to return car tag monies to schools because the Cherokee Nation understands and appreciates the importance of education," Smith said.  "We are dedicated to helping our young people achieve the highest level of knowledge possible."

Members of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council were very pleased with the opportunity to provide the schools with the funding, and several Councilors said they felt this donation was one of the most important donations of the year.

Education funding is distributed based on the number of Cherokee children in each school. This year, the Cherokee Nation disbursed $2,678,094.23 to nearly 100 public schools in the eligible areas.

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