Bulk of $2K relief payments make way to citizens

TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation Treasurer Tralynna Scott reported “good news” on July 13 that her office is caught up with applications for the tribe’s $2,000 COVID-19 assistance payments.

“As of this morning, there were 244,149 applications that we’ve received to date,” she said during the Tribal Council’s Executive & Finance Committee meeting. “Today we are paying the last little bit. We’re going to get about 6,100 payments today, sans a small amount, less than 1%, for payments that are international.”

The CN is offering direct payments of $2,000 for all 392,000-plus 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.

The first payments were sent June 17.

“That was 18 business days ago,” Scott said. “So we got out 244,000 payments in 18 business days.”

For those waiting on paper checks, “those should be coming soon,” Scott added.

Payments are processed in the order received, according to the tribe. Citizens who have not received their payments are encouraged not to call, but to check their Gadugi Portal accounts for payment status.

To apply for the $2,000, citizens are asked to register at the CN Gadugi Portal online via cherokee.org. The link is located on the website’s main page. 

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.

In June, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said the goal was to get “payments out in approximately a month of the application being completed.”

Hoskin on June 14 told the Tribal Council that an estimated 190,000 CN citizens had applied for the tribe’s $2,000 COVID-19 assistance payment.

“We have seen a significant number of citizens access the portal, set up profiles, apply for the COVID assistance,” Hoskin said. “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.”

To aid citizens in registering for the portal and applying for assistance payments, the CN held drive-thru field events during June in Tahlequah, Warner, Bartlesville, Sallisaw, Pryor, Catoosa, Stilwell, Kansas (Oklahoma), Hulbert, South Coffeyville, Tulsa and Jay.

“Of course these are designed to assist elders and others who lack internet access, lack connectivity, lack access to the technology to sign up,” Hoskin said on June 14.