STILWELL, Okla. (KFOR) – The Cherokee Nation opened a new domestic violence shelter in Stilwell, Oklahoma to assist families and children who experience violence.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner joined members of the Cherokee Nation Administration, Council of the Cherokee Nation, ONE FIRE Victim Services staff, and local and state leaders to celebrate the opening of a new domestic violence shelter in Stilwell.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner joined members of the Cherokee Nation Administration, Council of the Cherokee Nation, ONE FIRE Victim Services staff, and local and state leaders to celebrate the opening of a new domestic violence shelter in Stilwell. Image courtesy the Cherokee Nation.

The 11,000-square foot shelter and three additional transitional houses opened on Tuesday, December 20, and will house up to 10 families.

Image courtesy Cherokee Nation.

“Ensuring our families and children are protected from the hands of violence is a priority and something Deputy Chief Warner and I have spent the last year advocating for and making significant changes to address,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “We are extremely proud to open not only this shelter today, but to also be implementing several new initiatives in the year ahead that will make sweeping and lasting changes across the reservation to keep our families and children safe.”

According to the Cherokee Nation, the shelter holds an indoor children’s playroom and on-site faculty available to help families as well as provide them with skills to live independently and away from violence, and to also start the process of healing from trauma. Those staying at the facility may be housed there for between one and 24 months.

“When Cherokees are forced to flee an abusive situation at home, it’s essential they have a safe and secure place to go,” Cherokee Nation First Lady January Hoskin said. “The addition of a domestic shelter in Adair County has been in development for some time and it means that more Cherokee women and families in northeast Oklahoma will be taken care of when an emergency need arises. This site, combined with the efforts outlined by the Cherokee Nation’s Domestic Violence Task Force, which has been diligently led by Christine Neuhoff, better ensures safety across the reservation. The physical and mental well-being of Cherokee families is very important to me, both as the First Lady of the Cherokee Nation, and also as a mother and grandmother of Cherokee children.”

The Families are Sacred Summit will also be held in April of 2023 as part of the initiatives from Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner to address domestic violence within the Cherokee Nation.

According to Cherokee Nation, registration for the summit will be free and open to all participants, and representatives from all 39 tribes in the state are invited.

Families are Sacred. Image courtesy the Cherokee Nation.

Chief Hoskin’s Domestic Violence Task Force will also offer recommendations for the Cherokee Nation regarding domestic violence, such as hosting community listening session, working with school districts to educate youth on dating violence early, and utilizing financial empowerment programs and other initiatives.

“The Cherokee Nation is taking major steps to bring awareness and education on what domestic violence looks like and adding the resources needed for our people who suffer,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. “Having this shelter for families and children, and more to come, is another important step we can take to do our part.”

For more information, visit the Cherokee Nation ONE FIRE Victim Services’ website.

The task force’s full report can be found here.