TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation’s Gadugi Portal, which empowers tribal citizens to stay engaged and connected in an easy-to-use online platform, recently won the 2024 Smart Cities awardee for the Civic Engagement category.

The Smart Cities awards recognize the progress North American municipalities and other governments have made and provide a forum for sharing best practices to help accelerate Smart City development in the region.

“It is an honor for Cherokee Nation’s Gadugi Portal and our information technology team to be recognized for the exceptional work they do so citizens from all over are connected to their tribe. Our IT department has done a remarkable job in managing the portal, initially amidst the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the years since as the portal continues to grow in scope and reach,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “This award also shows the continued dedication that Cherokee Nation has for developing smart initiatives for sustainable outcomes.”

The Gadugi Portal was originally implemented to digitally connect Cherokee citizens with critical services during the COVID-19 pandemic and has now grown into a full-service application that can connect citizens to assistance and resources, identify scholarship opportunities, and much more.

The Gadugi Portal has helped quickly deliver assistance to large numbers of geographically diverse Cherokee populations. To date, over $740 million in assistance has been delivered to Cherokee citizens with quick turnaround times from Gadugi Portal application submission to ACH or paper check payments to citizens.

Paula Starr, the Cherokee Nation’s Chief Information Officer, will be accepting the award on behalf of the Cherokee Nation in North Carolina in May.

“The Smart Cities Award for Civic Engagement recognizes technology-based efforts to engage with citizens. At Cherokee Nation, we have accelerated from having a limited digital presence just three years ago to serving over 370,000 citizens and fulfilling over a million requests through the Gadugi Portal,” said Starr. “I am very proud of the collaboration across Cherokee Nation Government that has made these efforts possible and enabled more pathways to support our citizens.”