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Cherokee Nation opens applications for $2,000 payments to enrolled citizens today
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Cherokee Nation opens applications for $2,000 payments to enrolled citizens today

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An employee of Owasso Public Schools holds the Cherokee Nation flag at Redbud Festival Park in February. 

The Cherokee Nation announced applications for $2,000 payments to enrolled citizens would open at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Tribal Council members approved legislation last week laying out a framework for how the tribe will spend $1.8 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds, including providing $2,000 to every enrolled Cherokee citizen, regardless of age, income level or place of residence.

Citizens may sign in at gadugiportal.cherokee.org to apply for a single $2,000 payment.

The Cherokee Nation, with more than 392,000 enrolled citizens, is the second largest federally recognized tribe in the country. Direct assistance checks alone — totaling about $785 million — will account for about 43% of the tribe’s ARPA funds.

The tribe's other remaining ARPA funds include $80 million for a new anti-poverty initiative, $65 million for broadband infrastructure, $5 million for vaccine education and outreach, $4 million for personal protective equipment and $15 million for food security.

“COVID has impacted our families in a huge way,” Tribal Council member Mike Shambaugh said last week. “There are still families who have unpaid bills, whether it is health care or everyday routine things that they’re behind on. This is greatly needed.”

Late Friday, the Quapaw Tribe Business Committee voted to appropriate $13.25 million of the tribe’s $27.7 million ARPA allocation to lump sum direct assistance payments, as well. Amounts range from $1,000 for children to $4,000 for elders. Applications will be made available in early June to individuals who have been enrolled tribal citizens for at least a year.

Funds allocated to other area tribes under ARPA to date include $421.3 million to the Muscogee Nation, $108 million to the Osage Nation, $944 million to the Choctaw Nation, $55 million to the Delaware Tribe and $18.5 million to the Pawnee Nation.

Mayor GT Bynum said March 24 that area tribes have been instrumental in getting the region vaccinated.

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I am a third-generation graduate of Oklahoma State University and a board member for both Oklahoma SPJ and the Native American Journalists Association. When not chasing stories, I'm usually chasing my children or our pets.

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