Cherokee Nation mourning loss of beloved employee who died due to COVID-19 complications


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – The Cherokee Nation is mourning the loss of one of its employees who died from complications due to COVID-19.

According to Cherokee Nation, citizen and director of the tribe’s Self Governance Department Karen Ketcher, of Stilwell, passed away, the tribe announced on Facebook on Monday.

The tribe says Ketcher “was a dear friend, mother, grandmother, beloved coworker and champion of protecting the Cherokee people and the tribe’s right to self governance.”

“Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the passing of our dear friend Karen. This is a shock, both to the many loved ones Karen leaves behind, and to the Cherokee Nation as a whole. As Cherokees, we all feel the weight of her loss, which is tragic and too soon,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “This devastating virus is sweeping across our country, our state, and the very communities we call home. Now, more than ever, as COVID-19 is even more life threatening and reaches its peak in Oklahoma over the next two weeks, we must each promise to do our part in stopping the spread of this virus. First Lady January and I, and the entire Cherokee Nation family extend our deepest sympathies to the Ketcher family, her children Shawna and Jeff and granddaughter Taryn as well as all her loved ones. We pray the family finds comfort and peace amid their grief and send prayers for each of them.”

Ketcher started at the Cherokee Nation in the Community and Cultural Outreach Department in 2012. She was later named as Self Governance Director.

Before coming to the Cherokee Nation, Ketcher had an extensive leadership career at the Eastern Oklahoma Region Bureau of Indian Affairs in Muskogee.

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