Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Open your heart to a Cherokee child this holiday season

This time of year let’s keep in mind those Cherokee children that need a loving, nurturing home. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and make plans for Christmas and a New Year, I hope there are Cherokees families out there that can find a place in their homes and in their life for a Cherokee child who desperately needs a permanent home.

We are in need of Cherokee families who are willing to be adoptive parents. This month is national adoption awareness month and our dedicated staff at the Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare department is actively recruiting families. We have an incredible case load not just within our 14-county jurisdiction, but also throughout Oklahoma and across the United States.

We are currently working with 1,561 Cherokee children. That number has increased since last year at this same time and although we have more approved homes, we also have more kids to protect. These are beautiful Cherokee kids who deserve to feel the loving warmth of a committed family.

The essence of the holiday season is giving thanks for what you have in your life and finding a way to share that bounty. I truly believe when you give of yourself and your home, it’s an investment in a brighter and better future for yourself, for our communities and for our tribe. The energy and love you provide will return to you a thousand fold in the joys you get back. 

Our tribal values have always made our children a priority, and we raise our youth so they can one day assume their role in whatever God has planned for them. A safe, loving home can make all the difference in the world to a child and our Cherokee children should have the opportunity to grow up in a loving Cherokee home, where they remain connected to our culture and our heritage.

Sometimes it seems daunting to think about changing the world as individuals. But you can change the world for a Cherokee child. You can become a life changer and make a true difference in the eyes of a young boy or girl. That is a powerful feeling.

I encourage any Cherokee family that has considered becoming an adoptive or a foster family, to look inside your heart this celebratory season and ask yourself “Why not?”  If you have the desire, financial security and the love, adoption is the gift of a lifetime to help a child in need.

These kids are our most precious resource and a critical part of our brighter future at the Cherokee Nation.  They are our legacy as a tribe and as Cherokee people. I encourage you to visit  to be part of the solution for them this holiday season.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Boys & Girls Clubs play key role for many Cherokee youth

One of the most important things we can do for the future of the Cherokee Nation is to ensure there are ample opportunities for the next generation to thrive. We’re proud to be a partner and financially support the Boys & Girls Clubs of America within our tribal boundaries. These community-based groups play a significant role for our people, providing stable and safe environments for Cherokee youth to learn, play and grow.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America has a large presence in Indian Country across the nation. Just like Cherokee Nation, they have made an investment in our children and truly care about the future of our tribal youth. I can’t think of a better partner or a better mission. That’s why last year we donated more than $205,000 to nine different Boys & Girls Club chapters within the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction in northeast Oklahoma. We will make that investment again this year. Currently, we support clubs in Bartlesville, Gore, Chelsea, Nowata, Tahlequah, Adair County, Delaware County and Mayes County.

Almost 11,000 Cherokee Nation youth receive benefits from these organizations. Club participation can foster lifelong friends and mentors. Local clubs empower youth to support and influence their community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image and good character, participate in the democratic process, and respect their own and others' cultural identities. Because of their involvement with Boys & Girls Clubs, those kids have one more positive influence in their young lives.

Locally, one of the most important functions they provide is a safe place for Cherokee kids to go before and after school and during the summer.

Our young people represent the future of our communities and our tribe. They deserve every opportunity to grow into their full potential. Teaming up with the Boys & Girls Club means better access to education, physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices for our Cherokee youth. Club participation develops character and leadership skills, something we deem important. Many of our local clubs even offer cultural classes based on Cherokee games, crafts and traditions.

There is nothing more critical to our future right now than investing in young Cherokee lives. We look forward to our continued partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs here in northeast Oklahoma.