TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation on Monday passed a $3.5 billion budget, the largest operating budget in the tribe’s history.
The Council of the Cherokee Nation approved the Fiscal Year 2023 General Operating Budget of more than $2.98 billion and a capital investment budget of more than $569 million during Monday night’s Council meeting.
“Looking ahead to the coming year, much of our focus will continue to be on providing a blanket of protection for all who live in, work in and visit the Cherokee Nation Reservation. We have already made historic investments in expanding our criminal justice system over the past three years, increasing the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service budget by 267 percent and increasing its staffing capacity by more than 240 percent. The FY 2023 budget will go even further in providing the necessary resources to build the best criminal justice system in the state of Oklahoma,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “This includes more resources to our law enforcement officers, judicial system, and Attorney General’s Office. Expanding our criminal justice system weighs on the shoulders of every Cherokee Nation leader, and the FY 2023 budget gives us the ability to continue building a more robust foundation over the coming year. The FY 2023 budget is the product of a continual, strong working relationship between the Council and my administration and for that, the Council has my deep appreciation.”
The FY 2023 budget provides an additional $6 million for the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, and funding to increase staffing for the judicial system and Office of the Attorney General to help the tribe meet its responsibilities under the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision.
The Cherokee Nation budget anticipates 5,600 tribal government employees, many of the new hires to help maintain public safety under McGirt, as well as hiring more positions in public health and transportation and infrastructure.
“Chief Hoskin and I understand the responsibility the Cherokee Nation has as a result of our expanded criminal jurisdiction here on the Cherokee Nation Reservation. That’s why we continue to work with the Council on appropriating additional funds and resources to meet those responsibilities,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. “In the coming year, we will also continue our important work in addressing drug addiction and mental health challenges through state-of-the-art treatment facilities that will bring healing to Cherokee families and communities. We will continue our historic efforts on housing development and rehabilitation, language perpetuation, elder care, career readiness, health care, economic investment, education and so much more.”
Treasurer Janees Taylor first presented the FY 2023 budget to the Council on Sept. 6 during the Executive & Finance Committee, where it passed unanimously.
“The Fiscal Year 2023 budget is another record-setting budget for the Cherokee people. Along with Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner’s proposals to continue expanding our criminal justice system, this budget also takes a holistic approach to provide important services to the Cherokee people. These investments will make an impact for years and years to come,” Taylor said.
Included in the FY 2023 capital investment budget is funding for a new $400 million hospital to replace the nearly 40-year-old W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, and construction for a new Salina health center.
“This is a perfect example of how when you work together with our administration, Treasurer, and Cherokee Nation Businesses, it results in the passage of the largest budget in the history of the Cherokee Nation,” said Council Speaker Mike Shambaugh. “This budget will allow our judicial branch, including our courts and law enforcement, to better deal with the opportunities arising from the McGirt decision.”