Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
April 3, 2008
Cherokee Principal Chief Chad Smith addresses the Senate
on Cherokee Nation Day at the Capitol.
Senate Recognizes Cherokee Nation Principal
Chief Chad Smith at State Capitol
The Oklahoma State Senate recognized Cherokee Nation Principal
Chief Chad Smith and his wife Bobbi on Thursday with a standing
ovation. Smith, along with several other members of the Cherokee
Nation were there as part of the 8th annual Cherokee Nation Legislative
Day at the State Capitol.
Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah, introduced Smith and credited him
and the Cherokee Nation for partnering with the state on a variety
of projects including education, healthcare and transportation.
“The Cherokee Nation is the largest employer in the northeastern
part of the state with over 6,000 employees,” Wilson said.
“They have partnered with the state and other counties on
projects that are helping to improve the lives of all Oklahomans.
Chief Smith and the rest of the Cherokee Nation leadership should
be congratulated for their accomplishments and continued hard work.”
The Cherokee Nation is the second largest tribe in the United
States and the largest tribe in Oklahoma with over 160,000 tribal
members living in the state. The tribe has annual expenditures in
excess of $450 million.
Wilson said the Cherokee Nation has continued to make contributions
through its partnerships with the state. A portion of the Cherokee
Nation’s gaming revenue goes to the state to help fund educational
and compulsive gambling programs. In 2007, Oklahoma received $11.5
million in gaming proceeds from the tribe. Wilson added that in
2006, the Cherokee Nation partnered with the Oklahoma Department
of Transportation to repair eight bridges in six counties throughout
Smith told the Senate that education plays a key role in the success
of the Cherokee Nation. He said Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah
is home to 12 Gates Scholars and offers college prep courses as
well as concurrent enrollment with Northeastern Oklahoma State University.
In 2006, Sequoyah students earned more than $500,000 in scholarships.
Since 2002, the tribe has funded over 10,000 scholarships.
In 2007, the Cherokee Nation donated $1.5 million to the University
Of Oklahoma College Of Medicine to help address cancer and diabetes.
It currently has four health care facilities under construction
located in Muskogee, Sequoyah, Nowata and Cherokee Counties, representing
a $35.5 million commitment to the people and local economies.
“We believe in coming together and working together for the
benefit of our communities,” Smith said. “That’s
why we have developed partnerships with our counties and cities
in the state. We now serve 126,000 Indians with healthcare. We have
helped build with county commissioners 500 miles of roads in rural
areas and we have helped with education, healthcare and social services.”
Wilson added that in addition to the Cherokee Nation’s financial
commitment to the state of Oklahoma, “The tribe has made innumerable
contributions to the state’s culture, heritage and pride.
Oklahoma is identified nationwide as Native America. That wouldn’t
be possible without the contributions of the Cherokee Nation.”
For more information contact:
Senator Wilson's Office: (405) 521-5574