TULSA, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner today announced the tribe is securing a multi-use site in Rogers County, which will house both a virtual production soundstage and warehouse for food and PPE storage and distribution.

The soundstage will significantly expand the Cherokee Nation’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts by bolstering the tribe’s health and safety communication efforts and Cherokee language and cultural preservation efforts, while the warehouse will serve as an anchor for the distribution of COVID-19 relief goods to the northern portion of the Cherokee Nation reservation. It will enable the tribe to better serve tribal citizens.

“We are proud to launch a multipurpose facility, that will enable Cherokee Nation to execute so many of our objectives from under one roof,” Chief Hoskin said. “We are committed to developing new language preservation programs while ensuring we use the best safety protocols possible to keep our citizens safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow us to create content that will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and improve the ways our tribal government is able to communicate and share cultural lessons, including language, with our citizens.”

Chief Hoskin said increased food security has been a priority for Cherokee Nation since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cherokee Nation held about 300 food distribution events that helped feed more than 96,000 tribal citizens. The new warehouse site will hold shelf-stable goods for food distribution, PPE and other items as necessary for the Nation to mitigate COVID-19.

“We’ve been aggressively acquiring and distributing essential items to our citizens since March,” Chief Hoskin said. “We have a tremendous number of Cherokees relying on our tribal government, and we will continue to serve their needs and ensure our most vulnerable citizens have access to healthy food and protective equipment.”

Both endeavors are part of Cherokee Nation’s COVID-19 Respond, Recover and Rebuild Program.

Access to cultural knowledge usually imparted by Cherokee elders and community members through large, in-person gatherings has been lost during most of 2020, and will not likely resume in 2021 because of COVID-19. 

“The soundstage we are building allows the Cherokee Nation to utilize some of the newest technology, enabling us create high-quality content that will dramatically improve tribe’s communications in this new virtually-driven setting,” said Jennifer Loren, Director of the Cherokee Nation Film Office and Original Content. “This is a game changer for our tribe and a huge step forward for Native content creation, as we continue to find innovative ways to create our own messaging and tell our own stories.”

The sound stage portion of the building will be managed by the Cherokee Nation Film Office through Cherokee Nation Businesses. It will also be made available for use by any of Cherokee Nation’s subsidiaries to meet the growing demand to develop telework materials for Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses. Cherokee Nation will manage the portion designated for warehouse and distribution efforts.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of urgency in preserving our culture and language because we losing elders to this disease at alarming rates,” said Deputy Chief Warner, who sits on the Tribal Advisory Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “There are so many levels of use for this new facility: health and safety messaging, education of Cherokee youth, and passing on cultural knowledge. We can effectively communicate and spread the important messages needed to keep our elders, our youth and our culture protected during this global crisis. We are moving quickly, but strategically, to ensure Cherokee citizens and our communities continue to recover and rebuild. This is an important step, and we will continue to monitor the development of this facility.”

More information about the Cherokee Nation Film Office is online at www.cherokee.film.