Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and IHS Director Roselyn Tso visit with children at the Cherokee Nation Child Development Center in Tahlequah.


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — On Thursday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service Director Roselyn Tso visited the Cherokee Nation as part of ‘Care Week’ and met with Cherokee Nation Administration and Council.

The visit included a tour of the new soon-to-be-opened Kenwood Head Start, which is a part of the new Cherokee Nation Woody Hair Community Center project that will soon be complete. The new Head Start will increase the total number of children being served in the Kenwood community.

The visit also included a stop at the Cherokee Nation Child Development Center in Tahlequah, which is licensed for 135 children.

“The Cherokee Nation is committed to the great cause of early childhood education and to our shared future. We are always grateful to be working with our partners at HIS, who share the same goals,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “This visit gave us the opportunity to show the positive impact and importance of ongoing investments into our state-of-the-art early childhood education facilities in order to continue meeting the needs of the Cherokee people for generations to come.”

Cherokee Nation currently serves over 900 children through its Head Start programs, which were first started in 1978. Cherokee Nation’s Head Start students range from as young as six weeks to preschool age and are taught cognitive, language, motor and social skills.

“This is Care Week; we want to recognize those who take care of our children,” said IHS Director Roselyn Tso. “Wanting to acknowledge that, consistent with President Biden’s Administration’s Executive Order, we want to make sure that we are acknowledging our children all the time. I see Cherokee Nation really building and making sure that their youngest citizens get a great start which is really going to set the stage for the years to come.”

(L-R): OCA Chief Medical Officer RDML Greggory Woitte, OCA IHS Area Director RADM Travis Watts, Cherokee Nation Director of Education Mark Vance, Acting Regional Director Region VI DHHS Julia Lothrop, Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, IHS Director Roselyn Tso, Delegate Kimberly Teehee, Speaker Mike Shambaugh, Secretary of State Shella Bowlin, Treasurer Janees Taylor, Deputy Secretary of State Canaan Duncan and Secretary of Veteran Affairs S. Joe Crittenden.

Discussion during the visit centered around matters related to IHS and how specific funding metrics impact tribal citizens in areas of physical, mental and social health.

During Care Week, April 18-25, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HHS recognized the progress the Biden-Harris Administration has made to make care more affordable for American families, support family caregivers, boost compensation and job quality for care workers, and expand care options.

The Indian Health Service, an agency within HHS, is responsible for providing federal health services to 2.8 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 574 federally recognized tribes in 37 states.