December 18, 2019
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Council of the Cherokee Nation on Monday approved legislation proposed by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. to protect and preserve historical tribal sites.
Under the act, the tribe’s Natural Resource office will create and maintain a database of historical sites. The act also makes it a crime to deface tribal historic sites listed on the registry, and incorporates a permit system for excavation and manipulation of cultural resources on historic sites.
“Several months ago, I called Chief Hoskin with an idea. My idea was to create a Cherokee registry of historic places. I wanted to ensure the important historic places of those who came before us were never forgotten,” said District 14 Tribal Councilor Keith Austin, of Claremore. “This act does that and so much more. I am honored to have been part of the team that made this happen. Thanks go to Chief Hoskin and Secretary of Natural Resources Chad Harsha and the unanimous support of the Council for their quick action, giving us the tools to save our history.”
The act was first announced in November by Chief Hoskin at the historic Saline Courthouse in Delaware County, which is one of around 80 locations that have been identified within the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county tribal jurisdiction for potential inclusion on the tribe’s registry.
“With the approval of the Historic Registry Act by the Council of the Cherokee Nation, we can continue our efforts to preserve and protect our historic sites,” said Chief Hoskin. “These locations are rich in Cherokee history and must not be forgotten, and this legislation ensures we keep these sacred grounds safe while passing them along to future generations of Cherokees. I applaud the Council’s passage of this act.”
During Monday’s meeting, the Council of the Cherokee Nation also approved:
• A resolution for Cherokee Nation Health Services to donate a metal building to Maryetta Public Schools in Adair County.
• The reappointment of Wayne Coldwell as a board member of the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Care Agency.
The next Council meeting will be held Jan. 13 at the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah.