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Cherokee Nation recognizes first official Pride Month

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signed a proclamation declaring June 2024 as Pride Month in the Cherokee Nation.
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Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signed a proclamation declaring June 2024 as Pride Month in the Cherokee Nation.

The Cherokee Nation took another step toward 2SLGBTQ+ equity this week, as Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. declared the month of June as Pride Month.

Same-sex marriage and Pride Month celebrations are not new occurrences in the Cherokee Nation. But neither are discrimination and isolation for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ Cherokee community.

That’s one of the reasons why Hoskin Jr. said he declared June as Pride Month: to remind his fellow citizens that they are valued members of the nation.

“There are young people right now who feel alone, who feel like they live in the shadows, who feel like no one loves them… that who they see when they look in the mirror is worthy of condemnation,” Hoskin Jr. said in a livestreamed video. “I want them to know, more than anyone else, that the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee people love you and that we see you, and that you're a part of our community.”

Hoskin Jr. said many leaders have used their power to marginalize people and cause suffering. He explained he wants to use his leadership to unify his community.

Before Hoskin Jr. signed the declaration, he also noted Two Spirit, Indigiqueer and LGBTQ+ people have existed since time immemorial.

“It is, historically, the case that the Cherokee people have not been a people who've had a tolerance for condemning or excluding or marginalizing members with the LGBTQ+community,” Hoskin Jr. said. “Whatever we are saying, we need to say it in a way that speaks to our culture, our traditions, which is that we are people who love each other.”

The declaration is not the first 2SLGBT+-friendly policy Hoskin Jr. has implemented for the Cherokee Nation. In November of 2020, he created an executive order to address equality, which mentioned sexual and gender orientation.

Hoskin Jr. also said he is asking his administration to eliminate barriers the 2SLGBTQ+ community may face, aiming to establish a basis of acceptance for all members of the nation.

Sarah Liese reports on Indigenous Affairs for KOSU.