TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —The Council of the Cherokee Nation approved Monday paying off a $170 million note that helped build the Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center a year ahead of its due date.
The tribe also approved Monday dedicating six acres off Highway 62 in Tahlequah to establish the Principal Chief Wilma P. Mankiller Capitol Park.
The full Council approved the budget modification and park during the July council meeting with Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signing the legislative acts for each late Monday.
The Principal Chief Wilma P. Mankiller Capitol Park Act is to be located at 18050 S. Muskogee Avenue in Tahlequah.
“Given our commitment to improving health and wellness and providing more outdoor space, it’s only fitting to establish a new park and appropriate to name it after our late former Chief Wilma P. Mankiller in honor of her service to our Cherokee people,” Chief Hoskin said. “The community can have a place to celebrate her and take in all the elements of Cherokee language, culture and traditions in the park’s design, landscaping, public art, playground and facilities.”
During the council meeting, tribal officials also praised modifying the capital investment budget to pay off construction debt early, as a sign of the tribe’s strong financial stewardship.
“The Cherokee Nation believes in self-funding the bulk of our health care expansion projects and minimizing any debt as well as paying those debts and interest off early. This places us in a strong position to carry forward as we further invest in new health care infrastructure and services that benefit our Cherokee people,” Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner said. “As we invest $400 million into building a new Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah and in which the tribe will secure a note for less than half of the cost, we will be in a position to obtain a favorable rating on the new obligation. We will also be debt free with our immaculate Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center which has already changed countless lives with the additional services and space to serve the health needs of our citizens.”
Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation Janees Taylor said the Cherokee Nation has continued to maintain a conservative approach to spending.
“When seeking financing for major construction, this approach pays off in the form of more favorable terms,” Treasurer Taylor said. “Many of the banks who participated in the CNOHC financing package are helping to bring the next phase of first in class health care to the Cherokee Nation.”
The Cherokee Nation opened the four-story 469,000 square foot Outpatient Health Center in late 2019 and oversees the largest tribal health care system in the country.
Other budget modifications passed by the Council of the Cherokee Nation Monday include:
Increased concurrent enrollment scholarships $160,574 to meet more student demand.
Increased Higher Education scholarships $1.5 million so that all eligible Cherokee citizen applications are funded.
Adds $700K in funding for Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation to upgrade playgrounds and community space at low income rental housing units.
Increased the Cherokee National Holiday budget by $60K to add more programming and events for this year’s in-person celebration Labor Day weekend.
“The Cherokee Nation continues to prioritize funds that help our citizens succeed and are of the utmost value for our tribe as a whole,” District 6 Council of the Cherokee Nation member Daryl Legg said. “I’m proud of our investments and sound fiscal management, as well as dedicating the Principal Chief Wilma P. Mankiller Capitol Park.”