Cherokee Nation rolls out online portal to help parents apply for children’s technology, clothing relief

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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – The Cherokee Nation is rolling out a $40 million education initiative, part of which will help Cherokee students with clothing and technology needs.

The online portal to apply is now available at www.cherokee.org under the Respond, Recover and Rebuild education initiative tab.

Funding for the education initiative is part of the Cherokee Nation’s COVID-19 Respond, Recover and Rebuild spending plan announced by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. in May.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit schools, families and students hard in many ways, so we wanted to provide grants for Cherokee children ages 5 to 18 to ease the impact this public health crisis has had on their pursuit of education,” said Chief Hoskin. “Distance learning has taken on even greater importance. Technology is also needed to keep students and teachers safe as the virus continues to spread in our communities. The disruption to our economy caused by the pandemic makes it challenging for students at school to meet the demands of this new education landscape. That’s why I’m pleased to announce the $40 million Respond, Recover and Rebuild Education Initiative to help students and schools stay on track as we continue to deal with COVID-19.”

As part of the initiative, the tribe is providing $300 each to qualifying low-income Cherokee students across the Cherokee Nation for clothes and a winter coat. This is twice the amount given by the tribe each year to help low-income Cherokee students buy clothes. The Cherokee Nation is also giving $150 to each Cherokee student across the Cherokee Nation who does not qualify as low-income, to help with clothing needs.

Cherokee Nation is also offering a $400 technology stipend to any Cherokee student ages 5 to 18, regardless of income and regardless of where they live.

“Most of our programs, of course, are limited to within our Nation’s 14-county borders. But our at-large Council members often remind us that in a health crisis that impacts the entire country, we should look for ways to help people both inside and outside the Cherokee Nation,” Chief Hoskin said. “So, there will be no residency restriction for this one-time, $400 education technology stipend. The funds can help with things like paying for Wi-Fi or specialized software or equipment that may be needed for distance learning.”

Eligibility requirements and more can be found on the website. Applications must be received before 11:59 p.m. Aug. 7.

The tribe is also providing an additional $750 grant direct to each of the more than 5,000 students who have already been approved for the Cherokee Nation’s fall 2020 scholarships. The additional funds can be used for technology and other expenses related to attending college during the COVID-19 pandemic. Scholarship recipients do not need to apply on the portal.

“Every year, the Cherokee Nation invests in young Cherokees both here in the tribe’s 14 counties, and across the country, to help them earn a college degree,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “We hope providing our fall 2020 scholarship recipients with an additional $750 will help them stay on track during this difficult time.”

For the 107 public school districts across the Cherokee Nation, the tribe is offering $10,000 grants for education technology, health and safety projects. The tribe is also setting aside more than $1 million to assist the school districts with the most needs in the Cherokee Nation, and will hire student advocates to identify learning obstacles related to truancy, such as technology barriers. The Cherokee Nation Education Services department will be contacting schools regarding the grants soon.

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