Cherokee Nation citizens adapt to life on lockdown
CHAD HUNTER Reporter
03/27/2020 02:00 PM
Cheyenne Daugherty, 11, helps load groceries for her family on March 20 at the Cherokee Nation’s Food Distribution site in Tahlequah. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Tommy Monholland, of Tahlequah, fills his trunk with canned goods and other items outside a CN Food Distribution location. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Other than trips for groceries or the ever-elusive toilet paper roll, many Cherokee Nation citizens are heeding recommendations to remain at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It will be coming on two weeks that we were out with people,” Cherokee Nation Faye Askew, of Ponca City, said March 25. “But we’ve been staying in for the most part other than going to the store.”
Huddled at home, Askew said she and her family are doing “as well as can be expected.”
“We’re doing fine, not any problem with food, toilet paper or that kind of thing,” she said. “We’ve been doing what they recommend and will continue to.”
Askew said she’s made it a point not to hoard items.
“Someone wrote the other day, which is true, if everyone just went back to their normal shopping habits, we’d be fine,” she said. “There would be plenty for everyone then.”
Despite the uncertainty that COVID-19 has wrought, Askew remains positive.
“It will all pass,” she said. “I think getting hit so hard at one time and not knowing much about it is what’s thrown everyone. I really feel sorry for New York City. That is just awful. Of course, they all live on top of each other. It makes you glad we live out here in the wide open spaces.”
CN citizen Tommy Monholland, of Tahlequah, said he was taking it “day to day.”
“I’ll just be glad when this thing’s over with,” he said while loading groceries into his car at the CN Food Distribution site in Tahlequah.
Like Monholland, Tracy Daugherty and her children were also securing essential groceries at the site.
“I know it’s been crazy out here and everyone’s just like trying to stock up and grab what they can,” she said. “I haven’t really been too worried about it. But coming in here today was a little different. Usually my kids come in and help me load stuff up. But only one person is allowed to come in today.”
Daugherty, who works at the W.W. Hastings Outpatient Health Center in Tahlequah, said safety has become a priority.
“When we go in, they check our temp and ask us the main questions, you know, shortness of breath, running fever,” she said. “Once we get the OK, they put a band on us so that we can go on through, go to our worksite. Once we’re inside, it’s like we’re there at our worksite. We don’t roam.”
Cherokee elder and competitive bicyclist Simeon Gipson was one of many citizens limiting contact with others.
“Most of the people I know are staying in,” he said. “I’m kind of a homebody anyway, so it’s not really affecting me that much staying home. I still take a short ride every once in a while. Otherwise, I don’t mingle with people. I’m getting along fine.”
Chad Hunter has spent more than two decades in the newspaper industry as a reporter and editor in Arkansas, Oklahoma and his home state of Missouri. He began working for the Cherokee Phoenix in late ...