TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation Veterans Color Guard has reorganized as a non-profit organization to continue honoring veterans and presenting the national colors during tribal events and ceremonies. The Cherokee Nation Veterans Color Guard has operated on a separate, non-governmental not-for-profit basis at the tribe since 1996. It relies on volunteer military veterans to present colors at official Cherokee Nation events and serve at veteran funerals across the Cherokee Nation Reservation.

In early 2021, the Cherokee Nation’s Veterans Affairs department and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner began working with the Color Guard members to seek 501 (c)(19) status for the group, giving a special tax-exempt status as a veteran’s organization and to operate more efficiently and effectively raise funds to sustain itself. The organization is in the final stages of achieving 501(c)(19) status.

Chief Hoskin said it’s important for Cherokee citizens to understand that the Color Guard is an independent, non-profit entity that relies on donations and volunteer work.

“Cherokee Nation reveres all those who served our country and continue serving in the Armed Forces to defend our freedom,” Chief Hoskin said. “Veterans deserve our respect and one way to show this is to support our Color Guard. I’m proud of the Cherokee Nation Veterans Color Guard’s leadership and of our efforts to help them gain solid footing.”

Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Warner’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget, approved by the Council of the Cherokee Nation, included $10,000 for the Color Guard.

Deputy Chief Warner encouraged citizens to do their part by assisting veterans and showing support for the Color Guard.

“There are ways, big and small, to show respect for our veterans each day. One way, certainly, is to support the Color Guard. Whether it is thanking these military volunteers for making an event special for a veteran’s ceremony or making financial contribution, we can all find ways to help support them,” Deputy Chief Warner said.

The non-profit Cherokee Nation Veterans Color Guard Inc., can be reached on its Facebook page or the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center at 918-772-4166.