Hoskin calls CN pandemic practices ‘best’ in region
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. speaks to members of the Tribal Council on June 25 during a committee meeting. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – After lauding the example set by mask-wearing Cherokee Nation lawmakers, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. described the tribe as maintaining “the best practices in the region, whether it’s a government or a business” when it comes to COVID-19.
“I think that’s the reason that we are leading in keeping people safe,” he said during the June 25 Tribal Council meeting. “I wouldn’t be forthright if I didn’t tell you I wasn’t concerned about the numbers that we see across the country with COVID-19, and the numbers in this state. We can do our part here at Cherokee Nation, and we can do a lot because we have a big workforce, we have a big presence.”
In Oklahoma, there were 13,172 cases of COVID-19 reported as of June 29, an increase of 1,224 over five days. CN Health Services reported 195 confirmed cases, an increase of 26 during the same period. CN leaders and employees continue wearing masks, using sanitizer and practicing social distancing.
“You’re doing admirable work in your districts,” Hoskin told councilors. “I appreciate all of you not only leading as you do all the time, but leading by example. I see everyone wearing masks, and you do it out in the communities as we’re handing out food. That’s something I appreciate.”
The tribe’s food distribution efforts are also helping keep citizens safe, said Hoskin.
“I reminded someone the other day that it’s not only that we’re helping those in need economically, but the more we help, the more we keep out of the grocery stores and restaurants,” he said. “As much as we want them to get back into business and thrive, we have to keep our people safe.”
He added that the CN has “to stay vigilant” with preventative measures.
In other business, the Council passed a resolution to submit a fiscal year 2021 Indian Housing Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, and confirmed the appointment of CN citizen Elizabeth Ballew, 53, of Tahlequah, to the Election Commission.
“This was very seamless,” she told councilors after being sworn in. “Thanks a lot. I look forward to it.”
A former general manager and cancer survivor, Ballew was selected by the other four EC members from a pool of 12 people who submitted resumes. During an earlier Rules Committee meeting, Ballew was questioned by councilors regarding her knowledge of the CN Election Code.
“I know that I’m not supposed to be biased,” she said. “My job is not to make the law, but to guarantee that it is enforced.”
When asked why she applied for the EC seat, Ballew said, “I want to give back to my community and my tribe.”