TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – The Cherokee Nation is working alongside the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper to provide free hard copy newspapers to elders 65 and older.

The Cherokee Nation’s “Free Phoenix for All” program offers free, one-year subscriptions to Cherokee Nation citizens who decided to opt into the program through the tribe’s online portal.

According to the Cherokee Nation, around 41,000 citizens opted into the program to receive an online version of the newspaper, but Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said an estimated 33,000 Cherokee elders did not opt-in though the online portal.

“We understand that many Cherokee citizens in the 65-plus age range prefer the hard copy newspaper and are also relatively less likely to access the Gadugi Portal or the online version of the Phoenix,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Our elders are also most likely to feel the absence of vital public service information uniquely provided by the Phoenix, such as Cherokee Nation public health and human services information. That’s why we worked with the Cherokee Phoenix to ensure we automatically opt-in our Cherokee elders age 65 and older this year. The ‘Free Phoenix for All Program’ has been a successful program for helping keep Cherokee citizens informed, and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and I are happy to see this program continue for another year.”

Officials say the Free Phoenix for All program has provided a free one-year subscription to more then 200,000 Cherokee households in all 50 states across the country as well as U.S. and Canada territories.

“I’m so pleased the Council and the Administration worked together to serve our elders with the Free Phoenix for All program no matter where they live and with no action required on their part,” said at-large Councilor Julia Coates. “For many of my constituents, the Cherokee Phoenix is a vital connection to their tribe.”

Funding for the program is available through Cherokee Nation’s COVID-19 Respond, Recover and Rebuild plan, according to the Cherokee Nation.

“Since its establishment with the first printed issue on February 21, 1828, the Cherokee Phoenix has strived to empower the lives of our Cherokee people,” Cherokee Phoenix Executive Editor Tyler Thomas said. “This continued partnership allows us to uphold that mission. I thank Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and the Council of the Cherokee Nation for their willingness to partner with our newspaper and help us provide our citizens with important information that directly impacts their lives. Together with the help of the Cherokee Nation, the Cherokee Phoenix can now ensure we provide all of our Cherokee elders age 65 and older with a hard copy of the Cherokee Phoenix for another year.”