TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation has distributed more than $628 million in the form of $2,000 individual COVID assistance payments since last summer to help Cherokee citizens recover from the pandemic.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner announced in May 2021 that the tribe was dedicating 43 percent of the $1.8 Billion funds received from the American Rescue Act toward individual COVID assistance payments for Cherokees.
So far more than 313,900 Cherokee citizens have applied and received the payments.
“We know these assistance payments have tremendously helped our tribal citizens and their loved ones recover from the economic hardships faced from what has been the worst public health crisis in generations,” Chief Hoskin said. “The June 1, 2022 deadline for the assistance payments is approaching so we hope our Cherokee citizens who have not yet registered on our Gadugi Portal for the assistance payment will do so before the deadline as Deputy Chief and I are allowing for Cherokee citizens with pending citizenship applications to receive the funds after June 1 as long as their application is in.”
Those who have their Cherokee Nation citizenship application submitted to Registration by June 1, 2022 or currently have pending applications with Registration will also be eligible to still receive the $2,000 COVID assistance payment through June 1, 2024.
The Cherokee Nation has received the largest volume of citizenship applications ever over the past year. To meet the higher demand in applications, Registration has added more than 50 department staff and expanded shifts to Saturdays and until 7 p.m. during the weekdays.
“I commend our Registration department who has worked tirelessly to process the record number of citizenship applications received during COVID, as well as our IT department to ensure our Gadugi Portal was up and that citizens were successfully registered,” Deputy Chief Warner said. “This program was a major undertaking and a historic one for the Cherokee Nation but has helped so, so many of our families in their time of need.”