The Pryor Times

February 14, 2014

Notes from the Chief

PRYOR, OK — I am proud to report the Cherokee Nation continues to expand vital services for citizens. In the past two weeks, the Cherokee Nation launched multiple efforts that will improve lives, increase effectiveness and inspire confidence in our abilities to deliver more good for more Cherokee people.

We opened a $4 million child development center in Stillwell. The new center expanded Cherokee enrollment by 50 students and created 10 new, quality jobs for teachers and child care providers. This expansion will positively touch the lives of so many of our young people, as 98 Cherokee children, ages 6 weeks to 4 years old, will now be educated and cared for at the new center. Access to early childhood education is critical for the sustained success of our tribe. We are giving more of our youth the opportunity to dream big and reach their full, God-given potential.

We also opened a new food distribution center in Collinsville. This center will better serve Cherokee families by offering them healthy food choices in a safe environment. By working closely with Collinsville community leaders, we were able to build this new center, which helps propel our tribe forward. These are the kinds of investments that create a healthier Cherokee Nation.

Our partnerships with officials in Delaware County resulted in a $9 million road project that will keep citizens safer. We always strive to be a great community partner, and this refurbished nine-mile stretch of highway will allow the county government officials to free its budget to address other needs. We’ve been blessed to increase funding to local schools, offer more grants to area volunteer fire departments and first responder units, and fill critical gaps with our county and municipal government partners that help everyone in our communities.

Lastly, we broke ground on the new health clinic in Jay that will replace the existing Sam Hider Health Center. This is the third of four tribal health centers and one hospital slated for expansion or replacement under our $100 million health care improvement plan. Expanded services and shorter wait times at our new clinic will improve health care for our people. The clinic in Jay was one of the first health centers operated by the Cherokee Nation. It served our people well for nearly 30 years, but it was overdue for an upgrade. I’m happy we are able to expand our health system and improve the lives of so many Cherokee people. Now, no Cherokee citizen within our jurisdictional boundaries will have to drive more than 30 miles for quality health care.

These are just a handful of the things we are doing across the Cherokee Nation to make lives better for our people, which is the hallmark of good government. The successes we achieve today will make the Cherokee Nation stronger tomorrow, next year and a generation from now.