Hoskin offers language investment at State of Nation
TAHLEQUAH – Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. on Aug. 31 proposed the largest investment in language programs in the tribe’s history and detailed more initiatives during his first State of the Nation Address.
Hoskin said he is asking the Tribal Council to approve a plan that will dedicate about $5 million in business profits to create a language program facility. The plan will also quadruple the size of the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program, an adult immersion program that pairs novice language learners with master-level fluent Cherokee speakers 40 hours per week for two years.
“We must act boldly and quickly on language preservation,” Hoskin said. “If we fail to act now, Cherokees generations from now will be unimpressed by our health facilities. They will be unmoved by the size of our casinos. They will be bewildered as to why, in 2019, the great Cherokee Nation failed to do what was necessary to save our language. We cannot fail, we must not fail, and we will not fail.”
A second proposal, Hoskin said the CN would double the amount of business revenue it uses to pay for Cherokees to complete career training programs. The CN currently spends $1 million in General Fund dollars on career tech training, tribal officials said.
“As the grandson of an ironworker and as a man whose father also started his career in the building trades, I recognize that not every bright and industrious Cherokee wants to go to college,” Hoskin said. “I recognize that jobs across our region call for hard work and education. But, they do not all call for a college degree. If we are going to build a bright future for our people, we need to make sure that we don’t leave any of them behind. I believe firmly the Cherokee people want to work. They just need a government that has their back and will lend them a hand. From building trades to health care to information technology, we will help our fellow Cherokees get the skills they need to earn a good living.”
Over the past eight years, the CN has seen the largest expansion of services to CN citizens in its history, Hoskin said. In the coming year, the tribe is poised to continue its growth with the Tribal Council’s recent approval of the largest budget in the tribe’s history.
“Whether it is opening the largest outpatient health facility in all of Indian Country at the W.W. Hastings campus, building new or expanded child development centers in Tahlequah, Stilwell, Pryor, and Sallisaw, or honoring our veterans with a new veterans cemetery, one thing is clear, we are already on a path this year to do more for our people than ever before,” he said.
As part of his “First 100 Days” initiatives, Hoskin has announced a $30 million plan to repair hundreds of Cherokee homes, signed an executive order raising the tribe’s minimum wage to $11 per hour, created the tribe’s first Cabinet-level secretary of Veterans Affairs position and appointed CN Director of Government Relations Kim Teehee as the first CN delegate-designate to the U.S. Congress.
“The state of our Nation is strong because our foundation is strong,” Hoskin said. “Our foundation is strong because for generations when we have been allowed the God-given right to self-govern, we have looked towards the horizon and prepared as one people to meet the challenges ahead. And so, my fellow Cherokees, let us continue in that tradition. Let us aim high. Let us be bold. Let us be prepared. Let us be worthy of all who came before us. And let us get to work.”
Hoskin’s address was part of the 67th annual Cherokee National Holiday. The address was held at the Cherokee National Peace Pavilion following the holiday’s parade.
For the full video of Hoskin’s address, visit https://bit.ly/34eIONu.