By TEDDYE SNELL
The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on Monday night unanimously approved a compact allowing Native Americans in Craig County to participate in the tribe’s contract health system.
Additionally, the council approved a similar compact in North Tulsa for Cherokee citizens specifically.
District 12 Councilor Dick Lay, of Ochelata, praised the council’s efforts.
“This is a giant, giant step for those of us who live outside the [W.W.] Hastings [Hospital service] area,” said Lay. “It’s a huge equalizer in health care where I come from. I’d like to thank all of you.”
Council Speaker Tina Glory-Jordan said she is proud of the measure.
“I’m proud we’re moving to add more to our contract health,” said Glory-Jordan. “My only hope is that we can continue to add possibly ... a portion of Wagoner county. This is a great day for health in the Cherokee Nation. I think we added several thousands of people to our contract clinical health services.”
The council also approved the re-appointment and confirmation of Roberta Gibson as a board member of the Sequoyah Schools Board of Education.
“I just want to thank all of you,” said Gibson.
“I’m one of those you’ll see anywhere and everywhere, and I’m very observant. This is the best I’ve ever seen the organization run, and I’m 70 years old. I’ve gotten to know Bill John, and I like everything you guys are doing. Sequoyah is home for me. I was there when it was an orphanage.”
Councilors set the swearing-in ceremony for newly-elected Dist. 11 Tribal Councilor Victoria Mitchell Vazquez for 5 p.m., today, in the foyer of the W.W. Keeler Complex. Vazquez was elected to complete Chuck Hoskin Jr.’s term, which runs through 2017.
Hoskin left the council after being appointed and confirmed as the tribe’s secretary of state.
In other business, the council approved resolutions authorizing the submission of a grant application to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a grant application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Food Distribution program.
The council also approved amending the tribe’s operating budget to accommodate a $19,000 increase, bringing the Cherokee Nation’s 2014 operating budget to $565,877,575.
Th next regular meeting of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12, in council chambers at the W.W. Keeler Complex west of Tahlequah.