TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced the tribe is designating $3 million to protect Cherokee elders from fraud and abuse.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. visits with Viola Fourkiller during the Cherokee Nation Elder Summit in Tahlequah. Image courtesy Cherokee Nation.

The elder victim services fund was announced at the 2022 annual Elder Summit on Thursday. The tribe gathered vital input from Cherokee elders and the money will be used to create new programs and legislation for elder protection in the future.

“We have to remember where the strength of the Cherokee Nation comes from which is always from the people, and it starts with our elders. Deputy Chief and I try to do our level best to serve and honor our elders,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “If there are elders living in the shadows we’ve got to reach out and help them. Elders who are victims of crime are our most vulnerable in our reservation and we do not want them to feel lost in the system. This $3 million in funds will bring out more services to protect our elders who are victims of crime and help our elders from becoming victims.”

More than a thousand Cherokee elders gathered in Tahlequah Thursday for Cherokee Nation’s Elder Summit. Image courtesy the Cherokee Nation.

The $3 million will help elders in changing door locks, repairing and sealing windows, and in acquiring protective orders.

“These funds will also ensure any elders who are the victim of a crime have the food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and living necessities they need,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said.

Deputy Chief Bryan Warner visits with Cherokee elders during the Elder Summit held in Tahlequah Thursday. Image courtesy the Cherokee Nation.

Human Services elder protection staff will be placed throughout the Cherokee Nation Reservation in order to aid Cherokee citizens.

“I realized that I’m an elder now so I wanted to come see what Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Warner are doing for us and how I might be able to help,” said Geraldine Scott, who attended Thursday’s Elder Summit in Tahlequah. “I’ve worked in nursing homes and seen our elders get lost in the system or suffer from abuse, so I was very excited to hear that the Nation is launching their initiative to protect elders who have been victims of violence.” 

The Cherokee Nation is also adding different aspects to assist Cherokee elders like new positions in health, digital navigator positions to help residents access the internet, and broadband for those living in areas without service.

For more information regarding Cherokee elder protection, visit the Cherokee Nation website.