The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council during a regular meeting Monday approved a slate of board members for the Cherokee Nation Businesses Board of Directors.
Among the confirmed members to CNB’s board of directors were: Michael Watkins, Buck George, Bob Berry, Brent Taylor, Gary Cooper, Jerry Holderby, Deacon Turner, and Dan Carter. While there was discussion regarding the appointees during last month’s Rules Committee meeting, the confirmations passed and were ultimately accepted during the Tribal Council meeting, as well.
During Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.’s State of the Nation Address, he said the board members are worthy of the council’s respect in that they are all CN citizens and provide a service.
“I think if you look at Cherokee Nation Businesses and the work it’s done, not in the past year, but in successive years through the decades, we have built ourselves into a company that has a great reputation,” he said. “I think we’ve got the best reputation in Indian Country and I think it’s served this Nation well. I think we’ve got in a position through generating revenue that has allowed us – those of us who hold these elected positions – to do some wonderful things for the Cherokee people through our collaborative process here.”
District 15 Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor was elected secretary of the Council.
Councilors also confirmed Tim Landes Jr. as an editorial board member for the Cherokee Phoenix, while Richard Hull was tapped as a member of the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission.
The Council accepted a resolution authorizing the tribe to become a member of the National Congress of American Indians and to appoint a delegate and alternates.
After the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling, Gov. Kevin Stitt sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting that Oklahoma maintain authority over environmental programs within the historical boundaries of the Five Civilized Tribes. The EPA granted Stitt’s request, so the Tribal Council passed a resolution objecting to that decision.
A resolution to waive sovereign immunity for the use of technology projects and services offered by Ookla LLC was passed. The tribe is seeking to enter a contract with Ookla to use its products for measuring internet performance, communications infrastructure mapping and network diagnostics.
An act to amend the Independent Press Amendment Act of 2009 was passed. The legislation was altered to ensure one of the two appointees made by the principal chief, as well as one of the two made by the Council, have quality experience in the management and operations of publications.
As the tribe has reached more than 4,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Cherokee Nation Health Services facilities, the ICU at W.W. Hastings has reached its capacity, and the health care system will coordinate with other hospitals with remaining beds to transfer patients. Hoskin discussed the importance of continuing to combat the virus.
“We should always take time to remember what our health care staff is doing right now,” said Hoskin. “Right now, there’s great stresses across our health systems, and they, I think, are doing the best in the business and taking care of people. But the system is what it is, and there are limits, and across the country, across the state, and even in our system, capacity issues are very concerning to us as we deal with COVID.”
Hoskin said his biggest concern at the moment is stopping the spread of COVID-19, and he encouraged everyone to do their part. He said it’s important people continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines, and encouraged them to avoid congregating for the holidays.
“It’s the opposite of what we want to do culturally, but we have to do it to protect each other,” he said.
The next regular meeting of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council is slated for Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. Council meetings can be viewed on the Cherokee Nation’s YouTube page.