Two hundred years ago, the brilliant statesman and inventor Sequoyah presented the Cherokee syllabary to the Cherokee Nation. This year we are honoring the bicentennial of Sequoyah’s historic achievement that brought widespread literacy to our tribe. 
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In the Cherokee Nation and across the world, we have struggled with the deadly COVID-19 virus for most of 2020. We have made sacrifices and suffered terrible losses, but we see a ray of hope. New vaccines arriving in the CN offer freedom from the threat of this terrible virus. 
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To streamline personal information management for Cherokee Nation citizens, we recently launched the “Gadugi Portal.” Here, Cherokees can manage or update their essential information with the tribe, including things like a new mailing address, name change, date of birth or veteran status. 
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Since the COVID-19 pandemic first reached the Cherokee Nation, our people have worked together to protect Cherokees. We have seen heroic actions and hard sacrifices by our health care workers, staff and volunteers who distributed food and economic assistance, and all those who gave up in-person social and family time to help keep us safe. 
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I live on reservation land, where I am governed by the Cherokee Nation and federal laws. I also live in the state of Oklahoma, where I am proud of our tribe’s successful partnership with the state government over decades.
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As we enter November – Native American Heritage Month – it’s a good time to take stock of where we now find ourselves in this difficult year. Even though we are still weathering the global COVID-19 crisis, I believe our tribal nations stand stronger than ever. Celebrating Native American Heritage Month means celebrating who we are historically, who we are today, and who we will be in the future.   
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CHRISTINE DIINDIISI MCCLEAVE
Imagine rarely, if ever, hearing the words “I love you” during your childhood. As unbelievable as this may seem, this was the experience of so many Native Americans who were forced to attend Indian boarding schools where many were routinely abused, neglected and tortured. They were isolated from their families and communities and forced to forget their cultures, all in the name of “civilization.”
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The coronavirus pandemic has put many people – Native women especially – in peril from domestic violence, as more people are forced to stay home, escalating this unprecedented problem across the United States. The reality is that when households are already volatile or under stress, asking family members to stay home together only exacerbates issues of domestic violence.
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A fundamental principle of our Cherokee culture is that we should consider the impact of what we do today on the next seven generations of future Cherokees. We are answering this sacred responsibility by investing in strong communities and a clean and healthy environment.
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The Cherokee Nation is committed to ensuring that all voting age Cherokees are registered to vote. Recently, we celebrated CN Voter Registration Day because we know how important it is for our citizens to have a voice in our democracy.
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The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the Cherokee Nation like it does the rest of the world, but we are responding in ways that make our Nation stronger.
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