August 14, 2018
TAHLEQUAH, OKLA. – The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council approved a resolution Monday supporting the expansion of the Section 184 Home Loan Guarantee Program to include a total of nine counties in Arkansas and Texas.
The Section 184 Loan Guarantee Program is a federal home mortgage program designed to increase lending to Native American communities that are traditionally underserved by financial institutions. The program facilitates homeownership and an increase in access to capital in Native communities.
“An expansion of the Section 184 home loan program into areas of Arkansas and Texas would be life-changing for many Cherokee families,” said At-Large Tribal Councilor Wanda Hatfield, of Midwest City. “I’m proud the Tribal Council is voicing its support for expansion of this program.”
The resolution supports the expansion of the federal loan program in Benton, Washington, Crawford and Sebastian counties in Arkansas where nearly 8,000 Cherokee Nation citizens reside, along with Grayson, Fannin, Lamar, Dallas and Collin counties in Texas where nearly 3,000 Cherokee citizens live.
Since 2014, Cherokee Nation has helped more than 460 families in receiving Section 184 loans through the tribe’s Mortgage Assistance Program.
The Tribal Council also approved a resolution authorizing the release of funds held in escrow by the U.S. government. Royalty income from tracts of land along the Arkansas Riverbed near the Arkansas state border belonging to the Cherokee Nation, Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation have accrued for several years.
“I commend the efforts of the Arkansas Riverbed Authority and Inter-Tribal Council in working to help secure these funds for the Cherokee Nation, Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation,” said Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan, of Hulbert. “This is money the tribe can invest and grow for future projects that benefit the Cherokee people.”
Of the estimated $1.6 million funds in escrow, the Cherokee Nation will receive about 50 percent. The funds will be invested into the tribe’s sovereign wealth fund to grow and be used for future projects agreed on by the executive and legislative branches.
In other business, the legislative body also authorized the donation of surplus office equipment to the Cherry Tree Water District in Adair County. During the monthly meeting, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker recognized the Special Olympics softball team Fighting Peacocks. The team, based out of Delaware County, represented Oklahoma at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and won the gold medal in the unified softball division. Chief Baker signed a proclamation before the meeting declaring Aug. 13, 2018, as “National Fighting Peacocks Day” in the Cherokee Nation.
The next Tribal Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 10, at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah.