Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced the tribe’s new efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and advance environmental policies during its Earth Day celebration in Tahlequah on April 17.


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced the tribe is limiting single use plastics from tribal operations, launching a new Youth Climate and Environmental Protection Task Force, and receiving new environmental sustainability federal funds as part of his executive order celebrating Earth Day.

Chief Hoskin announced the tribe’s continued efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and advance environmental policies at its Earth Day celebration in Tahlequah.

“The challenges of climate change and environmental degradation are shouldered by all of us,” said Chief Hoskin. “But the burden falls particularly hard on young people and future generations, who will inherit whatever environmental conditions we leave them.”

Part of Chief Hoskin’s “Executive Order on Further Environmental and Climate Change Goals” is appointing a five-member Cherokee Nation Youth Climate Change and Environmental Protection Task Force.

Over the next three months the task force will:

  • Conduct a survey of Cherokee youth on the subject of climate change and environmental protection, using the Gadugi Portal and other forms of outreach.
  • Make recommendations for addressing climate change and environmental problems by Cherokee Nation and Cherokee youth and families in their local communities.
  • Make recommendations to the Secretary of Natural Resources to establish permanent presence of Cherokee Youth in the tribe’s policy making.

Secretary of Natural Resources Christina Justice will oversee the new youth task force, which will be composed of:

  • First Daughter Jasmine Hoskin, Home School Junior
  • Abigail Uganasd Paden, Sequoyah High School Senior
  • Shace Duncan, Stanford University Sophomore
  • Emily Pack, Sallisaw High School Senior and Cherokee Nation Youth Council Member
  • Jaycee Gideon, Sequoyah High School Senior and Cherokee Nation Youth Council Member
Students from the tribe's nearby Cherokee Immersion School joined the Cherokee Nation Earth Day celebration April 17.

New Funding, Clean Energy Task Force

Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Warner also announced new funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for tribal climate resiliency. The $245,000 grant will inventory emissions and enable the tribe to develop a Climate Action Resilience Plan to inform future projects and make impactful climate response actions benefitting Cherokee citizens across the Cherokee Nation Reservation.

The Hoskin/Warner Administration also announced the tribe will receive a $150,000 United States Department of Energy EECBG (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant) to conduct strategy planning on clean energy.

The task force, led by the tribe’s Secretary of Natural Resources, will advise on the clean energy matters.

The Clean Energy Task Force will achieve the following goals:

  • Conduct planning to develop a tribe-wide Clean Energy Strategic plan.
  • Identify projects that will have a positive impact on the tribe’s carbon footprint.
  • Identify and develop applications for funding opportunities to address projects.
  • Evaluate existing laws and policies and procedures that impact the tribes carbon footprint and make recommended changes.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced a new Youth Climate and Environmental Protection Task Force during the tribe's Earth Day celebration April 17. From left: Task Force member Emily Pack, Task Force Member Jaycee Gideon, Chief Hoskin, Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Task Force member Abigail Uganasd Paden, and First Daughter and Task Force member Jasmine Hoskin. Not pictured: Task Force member Shace Duncan.

Limiting Single Use Plastics

“We know that single use plastics poison our natural environment, degrade our landscapes and that current recycling measures, worldwide, are not working,” said Chief Hoskin. “But, as Cherokees, we can do more, and we will.”

Chief Hoskin’s executive order limits single use plastics in tribal operations, incrementally:

  • Immediate elimination of the tribe’s “Osiyo” branded plastic water bottles to more sustainable aluminum bottles.
  • Ban on purchase of single use plastics using tribal funds for internal office and event-use beginning no later than October 1, 2024.
  • Cherokee Nation entities, including its businesses, to adopt comparable plans by Earth Day 2025, including more sustainable aluminum or cardboard water bottle options in all commercial operations such as tribal gas stations and casinos.

The order focuses on Cherokee Nation governmental and business operations but does not infringe on individual choices by Cherokee Nation employees or citizens.

Today’s action on single use plastics comes four years after Chief Hoskin implemented a similar ban on styrofoam containers.

Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Warner have been instrumental in making changes to promote natural resources and reduce the tribe’s carbon emissions by 25 percent in 2027.

The Cherokee Nation built its first solar charging canopy, at its government office and has two electric transit buses and numerous electric vehicles in its fleet.

EV Charging stations now exist throughout the tribe’s reservation including Hard Rock Casino Tulsa, Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, and the tribe’s Vinita Welcome Center.

The Cherokee Nation, under Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Warner, has also invested more than $700,000 for solar infrastructure at Cherokee community buildings throughout the reservation to reduce energy consumption and economic burden on valuable community organizations. That investment is part of the landmark Cherokee Nation Housing, Jobs, and Sustainable Communities Act.

As part of overall Earth Day festivities, the tribe distributed 1,500 trees to citizens to support green initiatives and will host a cleanup event at Tahlequah Creek starting at Felt’s Park on April 20.