TAHLEQUAH – An estimated 190,000 Cherokee Nation citizens have applied for the tribe’s $2,000 COVID-19 assistance payment, said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
To apply for the payment, citizens have been asked to register at the CN Gadugi Portal online via cherokee.org.
“We have seen a significant number of citizens access the portal, set up profiles, apply for the COVID assistance,” Hoskin told the Tribal Council on June 14.
The CN is offering direct payments of $2,000 for all tribal citizens using federal COVID-19 recovery funds received through President Biden’s $20 billion American Rescue Plan. The payments account for $785 million of the total $1.8 billion the tribe received in relief funds.
Of the 195,000 citizens who registered on the portal, approximately 190,000 have applied for the $2,000 payments, Hoskin said. The CN has approximately 392,000 citizens.
“We still have more to go, but that’s a big number of people that accessed it really on the internet, on their own or with the help of friends or family, or in many cases, council members,” Hoskin said. “We had the goal of getting the payments out in approximately a month of the application being completed, so we’re nearing that first batch of checks to come out. We’ll provide some updates as those go out.”
The CN held its first “field event” event earlier in the day in Vinita to help citizens register for the portal and apply for the assistance payment.
“There was somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 people,” Hoskin said. “Of course these are designed to assist elders and others who lack internet access, lack connectivity, lack access to the technology to sign up. We have many more of those scheduled, 13 in fact in total, through the end of the month.”
Other application assistance events will take place from 11 a.m. to 1.p.m. on the following dates:
· June 15 in Tahlequah at the former Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, 16489 US-62;
· June 16 in Warner at the Warner Event Center, 1311 N. Fourth Ave.;
· June 17 in Bartlesville at the Tri-County Technology Center, 6101 Nowata Road;
· June 18 in Sallisaw at Carl Albert State College, 1601 Opdyke Road;
· June 21 in Pryor at the Pryor Recreational Center, 111 S.E. Ninth St.;
· June 22 in Catoosa at the JW Sam Building, 701 W. Rollins St.;
· June 23 in Stilwell at CNI (former Walmart building), 320 W. Locust St.;
· June 24 in Kansas, Oklahoma, at Kansas High School, 700 Woods Ave.;
· June 25 in Hulbert at the Hulbert City Park;
· June 28 in South Coffeyville at Native American Fellowship Inc., 215 Oklahoma St.;
· June 29 in North Tulsa at Parking Lot B (east of North Hall) OSU Tulsa, 700 N. Greenwood Ave.; and
· June 30 in Jay at the CN PPE/Food Distribution Center behind Jay Health Center, 1305 N. Industrial Park Road.
Anyone attempting to register as a CN citizen must seek assistance via phone, fax, email, and/or in-person at Tribal Registration at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex.
Tribal councilors addressed and approved the spending outline May 27. At the time, Hoskin called it “a broad plan about how to go about being more precise in how we spend $1.8 billion.”
Other aspects of the spending plan bolster the tribe’s mental health and wellness initiatives, assist Cherokee-owned small businesses and reinforce tribal health care services. It also addresses infrastructure, education, housing, job training and more for Cherokee families.