November 17, 2017
CLAREMORE, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation donated nearly $4,000 total to three Rogers County groups Thursday.
Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. joined Tribal Councilor Keith Austin in presenting the checks to organization representatives of the West Bend Winterland in Claremore, Chelsea High School FFA and Claremore Museum of History.
Councilor Austin, of Claremore, used Cherokee Nation special projects funding to provide the West Bend Winterland in Claremore with $2,500. The inaugurual West Bend Winterland is located near the Claremore Expo Center and will feature an ice rink, pictures with Santa, live reindeer, local artisans, a 50-foot live Christmas tree and other activities at various times starting Dec. 9.
“I’m honored to sponsor the West Bend Winterland in Claremore. With the Cherokee Nation’s donation, every Native American education organization in Rogers County will be allowed a free skate night during the holidays,” Austin said. “I hope this inaugural event is the beginning of many more years of family fun.”
Tanya Andrews, executive director of Claremore Expo and Tourism Development, greeted Hoskin, Austin and Cherokee National Treasure Tommy Wildcat Thursday just after the city’s live Christmas tree was put in place.
“As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, it’s good to see these partnerships in our communities,” Andrews said. “The Cherokee Nation sponsorship has allowed us to make sure that the Cherokee students in Rogers County have the opportunity at a free skate pass. I believe this will be a great holiday event that will create lasting memories for families.”
Austin also used Cherokee Nation community assistance funds to give Chelsea High School FFA $750, which will be used to purchase Christmas gifts for community children. The FFA students hold fundraisers each year to purchase the gifts.
“I couldn’t be more proud of FFA students in Chelsea,” Austin said. “Last year I learned that they sacrifice their own time to fundraise so that less-fortunate children in their community have Christmas gifts. I sincerely hope this Cherokee Nation donation lets these students know every dollar they raise will go even further.”
A third donation was given to the Claremore Museum of History for $500. Located in the former Will Rogers Library, the Claremore Museum of History showcases a variety of exhibits that help bring the town’s past to life through historic artifacts.
“It seems particularly timely that Councilor Austin would present these donations during Native American Heritage Month, a time set aside each year to remind others of just how proud we are of our culture and traditions,” Hoskin said. “These three groups in Rogers County are making a lasting impact on Cherokee families, but also on citizens of other tribes and on non-Natives. They do what they do because they know we are all in this together and we all have something unique to contribute to our communities.”
Projects funded through the special projects fund are selected by Tribal Council and Principal Chief Bill John Baker’s office and allow the tribe to partner with communities and organizations on projects that benefit both Cherokee Nation citizens and non-Cherokees alike. Community assistance funds are aimed at supporting community groups and organizations that are selected by Tribal Councilors.
For more information on Claremore’s West Bend Winterland, including the schedule of events, visit www.westbendwinterland.com.