CN tightens security at tribal complex

The Cherokee Nation recently took a fresh look at security and safety measures at its tribal complex in Tahlequah. 

TAHLEQUAH – Following high-profile shootings across the state and closer to home in late May and early June, the Cherokee Nation tightened security and safety measures at its tribal complex and other offices within the reservation. 

Changes include both short- and long-term plans, according to the administration.

“In light of recent tragic events that have unfolded across the United States, Cherokee Nation leaders also began to take a fresh, comprehensive look at tribal emergency policies and procedures,” Chief of Staff Corey Bunch said in a statement. “This undertaking relies on a cooperative effort among Cherokee Nation departments including our Marshal Service, Emergency Management, Risk Management and our Human Resources teams …”

A memorandum from Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. related to security at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah outlined new safety measures that now include two access points for employees, both manned by security officers. 

“Other entrances will remain locked to the public and employees at this time – with the exception of security officials,” Hoskin wrote. “Additionally, please be advised that security cameras across the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex are being continually monitored and updated signage regarding the ban on firearms, or weapons of any kind, with the exception of law enforcement officials.”

Additionally, employees who fail to present an appropriate badge to a security officer upon entry will be subject to bag and item searches, according to the memorandum. 

“Any variance from this order will result in disciplinary action, due to the extreme safety concern for our employees and our Cherokee Nation citizens,” Hoskin wrote. “No exceptions to this order will be made and it will be in effect until further written notice by the Principal Chief.”

In a separate letter, he also stated that safety and security of CN employees “is the highest priority and these are uncertain times.”

“It is always my goal to weigh that responsibility with the convenience and the accessibility concerns of our complex and other offices,” he added. “We understand that the changes have presented a challenge for some departments, and we appreciate the staff’s willingness to navigate those. We encourage our employees at all Cherokee Nation properties to be mindful of their surroundings and to report any suspicious behavior or issues as soon as they arise. Our approach to safety and security in our facilities is evolving.”