CN At-Large Advisory Committee members announced

07/13/2020 12:30 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced on July 8 members of the At-Large Advisory Committee to guide his administration on ways to better connect with Cherokee Nation citizens living outside its jurisdiction. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced on July 8 members of the At-Large Advisory Committee to guide his administration on ways to better connect with Cherokee Nation citizens living outside its jurisdiction.  

According to a CN press release, this past fall Hoskin signed an executive order establishing the committee to generate input on policy perspectives from CN citizens living outside the tribe’s jurisdiction. It was also created to help identify gaps in available support and outreach to ensure the needs of at-large citizens and community organizations are being met, the release states. 

“By establishing our At-Large Cherokee Advisory Committee, my hope is that we elevate the voices of our citizens living outside the 14 counties and ensure their needs and their perspectives are considered when we craft future initiatives,” Hoskin said. “I couldn’t be happier with this committee of professionals and the heart that each of them have for ensuring at-large citizens feel more connected to their Cherokee roots.” 

The release states that Hoskin selected members to the committee based on recommendations from at-large community organizations and citizens as well as At-Large Tribal Councilors Mary Baker Shaw and Julia Coates. 

According to the release, at-large committee members are Patsy Edgar, of Dahlonega, Georgia, who will serve a one-year term; Cynthia Ruiz, of Los Angeles, who will serve a two-year term; Robert Wood, of Sacramento, California, who will serve a two-year term; and Wade McAlister, of Houston, who will serve a one-year term. 

Committee members will serve a one-year term limit, except for an initial two-year term for two seats to allow for staggering, the release states. It also states that the one-year terms will expire April 30, 2021, and the two-year terms will expire April 30, 2022. 

In the release, Edgar said she is committed to the preservation of Cherokee history and culture, as well as an interest in strengthening the connection of the CN with at-large citizens. 

“I'm deeply honored to have been selected by Chief Hoskin to serve on the inaugural At-Large Advisory Committee,” she said. “I applaud efforts to educate at-large citizens in our history and culture. I also would like to see us educate at-large citizens in how they can help the Cherokee Nation.” 

In addition to the four at-large committee members, CN Community & Cultural Outreach Director Kevin Stretch serves as a member to facilitate discussion, the release states. It added that CCO oversees annual tribal at-large community meetings and the at-large community organizations that have been established across the country. 

Among 380,000-plus enrolled CN citizens, more than 63 percent live outside the tribal boundaries, according to the release.  

As part of the CN’s effort to connect at-large citizens with tribal programs, information and cultural enrichment, CCO coordinates at-large community events throughout the year with the 25 official CN satellite community organizations. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events have been suspended.

Hoskin said the feedback he has received from the committee members, as well as during listening sessions with at-large leaders, has given his administration ideas on how to better connect, the release states.

“Input from at-large leaders, both those on the new advisory committee and others working in their communities, helped inform our judgment on new at-large grant programs, ideas for how to engage at-large citizens on public policy matters and ideas for better communication,” he said. 

The committee will meet primarily using video conferencing, though some in-person meetings may be planned when COVID-19 related travel restrictions are lifted, the release states. 

For more information, call CCO at 918-525-2436.


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