TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is accepting applications for the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program, which helps families buy nutritious foods during the summer months.

Summer EBT is offered through Cherokee Nation Public Health’s Women, Infant and Children program. Services are available for eligible students within the Cherokee Nation Reservation and parts of the Muscogee Nation Reservation.

“Every year this program helps countless families within the Cherokee Nation Reservation,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “This year, because the state of Oklahoma declined to participate, Cherokee Nation and our partners will also serve children on the Muscogee Nation Reservation. Food security is one of the tribe’s top priorities to ensure families have access to nutritious foods when school is not in session. In the spirit of gadugi, we are excited to extend these services to our neighboring families without regard to whether they are citizens of a tribal nation.”

Cherokee Nation and its partners expect to serve an estimated 150,000 children this summer, serving all eligible applicants whether they are Cherokee citizens or non-Cherokee citizens across its 7,000-mile reservation.

Qualifying families will receive $120 of food benefits per child issued on one benefit issuance on an EBT card, which works like a debit card.

Participation in this program will have no impact on other government assistance participants may receive.

Eligibility for the program is based on free or reduced school meals and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations data list. Households that are on a direct certification list from these sources will automatically be issued a card for Summer EBT. Students who attend a participating school do not need to apply. Households can choose to opt out by contacting the Summer EBT team.

A list of participating schools can be found at https://www.cherokeepublichealth.org/Tiles/SEBT.

For those that live on the Cherokee Nation Reservation, the Summer EBT application can be found at https://gadugiportal.cherokee.org/s/wics-program.

For those who live on the Muscogee Nation Reservation, the Summer EBT application will be posted soon on https://www.cherokeepublichealth.org/Tiles/SEBT.  

The deadline to apply is August 18.

Cherokee Nation has administered the summer EBT program for seven years. Last year the program brought $3.5 million in federal funds directly to Summer EBT participants, with Cherokee Nation funding the administration of the program at a cost of around $275,000. Cherokee Nation’s participation in the program this year includes no new major mandates or requirements from the federal government.

The State of Oklahoma declined to participate in the Summer EBT program this year. However, along with Cherokee Nation, the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Muscogee Nations will participate, serving all eligible Oklahomans within their reservations. Each tribe is responsible for administering the program within their respective reservation.

For questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Cherokee Nation Summer EBT at 539-234-3265 ext. 5275 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday-Friday.