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Chief Says Every Cherokee Citizen Eligible For $2,000 COVID Relief Payments

Cherokee Nation
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signs legislation Thursday that will provide a $2,000 lump sum COVID relief individual assistance payment to all 392,832 Cherokee Nation citizens.

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on Thursday evening approved a spending proposal from Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. that will use part of the Tribe's $1.8 billion in funding under President Biden's American Rescue Plan COVID-19 relief package to provide direct payments of $2,000 to Cherokee citizens, regardless of residency or income.

"We know the pandemic has impacted nearly all Cherokee families in some way, whether they lost loved ones, lost income, or struggled with their health and well-being," Hoskin said in his "Chief Chat" column Friday. "We can’t bring back all that was lost, but we can try to ease the burden. That’s why the largest piece of those dollars – more than 43% – will be set aside so that every Cherokee Nation citizen receives $2,000 in a single, lump-sum payment. All Cherokee Nation citizens are eligible for this direct assistance, no matter your age, your income or where you live."

"Applications for the payment will open during the first week in June and stay open for a year. Please set up your profile in the Gadugi portal – gadugiportal.cherokee.org – as soon as possible," Hoskin said. "To distribute these funds, we encourage every Cherokee Nation citizen, from our elders to our youngest children, to set up a profile in the Gadugi portal. Parents, however, will be able to use their own profile to apply for the COVID impact payment on behalf of their children. We will develop a special outreach to assist those who lack internet access. We are also adding staff in the registration department and expanding shifts to process citizenship applications more quickly."

In addition to the direct payments, the plan approved by the Tribal Council also allocates $300 million to the creation of new health centers, $120 million to build new housing on the reservation, $120 million to education initiatives and language preservation efforts, among other areas of investment.

"We have all been through a very difficult year. Together we faced the worst public health crisis in living memory, and together we will recover. We made it through this year, and we will keep getting stronger by working together – gadugi – because that is the Cherokee way," Hoskin said.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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