TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Members of the Council of the Cherokee Nation were presented with the first Cherokee-made personal protective equipment from a test run at the Stilwell PPE manufacturing facility during the Council’s monthly meeting Monday, April 12.

“These masks are the first masks made in the Cherokee Nation, by the Cherokee Nation, in our PPE facility,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “I want to particularly thank Chief of Staff Todd Enlow for staying on top of the development of those facilities. And of course, nothing is possible without the support and guidance of this Council. For that, I am always grateful.”

The Cherokee Nation used a portion of its Respond, Recover and Rebuild federal COVID-19 funds to create PPE manufacturing facilities in both Stilwell and Hulbert. Employees at the facilities will make protective masks, including 3-ply surgical masks, N-95s and others, on machines that can produce approximately 100,000 masks per shift, per day. The masks are being produced for use by employees and visitors to the tribe’s governmental facilities, Cherokee Nation Health Services sites, tribal business entities, and for other needs throughout the tribal reservation.

Both PPE facilities are still in the process of FDA approval.

Chief Hoskin also updated the Council on Cherokee Nation’s efforts to bolster its criminal justice system in response to the McGirt and Hogner rulings.

“I think we have an opportunity at the Cherokee Nation -- and we’ve already made great strides with the support of this Council and with the support of the Sovereignty Commission -- to create not just a criminal justice system to take on the demands of McGirt, but to create, like we strive for in everything we do, the best criminal justice system,” Chief Hoskin said, “one that not only focus on punishing offenders, but protecting victims. We also want to make sure that our citizens can rehabilitate and rejoin society if the case warrants it. As we look ahead on McGirt, we’re going to go above and beyond and create the best criminal justice system in the country.”

In other matters, the Council also unanimously approved the reappointments of Ron Amos and Anthony Yates to the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation Board of Commissioners.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Council of the Cherokee Nation is Monday, May 10, at 5 p.m.