TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council voted Monday to broaden its concurrent enrollment program to include even more students seeking higher education credits in high school. Previously, the concurrent enrollment scholarships were open only to Cherokee citizens in their senior year in high school. Monday night’s amendment to the Concurrent Enrollment Scholarship Act of 2011 now paves the way for high school juniors and homeschooled students to also receive funds.
“Being the director of Indian Education for Muskogee Public Schools, I see struggling Native American students that are self-driven and trying to break family trends to get a college education,” said District 1 Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick of Tahlequah. “I see too many Cherokee college freshmen and sophomores drop out because they don’t think college is for them. When that happens, we lose out on our investment to help them. This gets our students in the door earlier, gets them comfortable with college and able to finish high school and most of their freshman year of college at the same time. All of these things give our students a better chance of graduating.”
This school year, about $85,000 in scholarship funds helped 214 Cherokee Nation students earn up to six college credits per semester.
Cherokee Nation juniors and seniors who live within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction are eligible, as well as students living in contiguous counties. That includes all of:
Chautauqua County, Kan.
Montgomery County, Kan.
Labette County, Kan.
Cherokee County, Kan.
McDonald County, Mo,
Benton County, Ark.
Washington County, Ark.
Crawford County, Ark.
Sebastian County, Ark.
Applications will be accepted for the fall semester. For eligibility information, call the Cherokee Nation College Resource Center at (800) 256-0671 ext. 5465 or ext. 5322.
In other business, the Tribal Council passed a resolution seeking to add 192 miles of roads within Cherokee Nation boundaries to the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) Program. This helps provide funds for the planning, design, construction and maintenance for roads primarily in Adair County.
The council also increased its capital improvement budget adding $1.3 million in motor vehicle tax revenues for road construction improvements throughout the Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction. Tribal Council member Chuck Hoskin Jr. of Vinita said the total budget is now $3.4 million.
The council also approved a proclamation declaring every July 18 National Day of Celebration of the life of Charles L. Head. The day will be observed as a day of service across the Cherokee Nation.
Several appointments were also approved by the council. They include:
Stacy L. Leeds, Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission, seat 5. The appointment is for a three year term until February 2016. Leeds is a professor and the Dean of the University of Arkansas Law School and is a former Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice.
Janice Carlile Randall, Cherokee Nation Foundation, seat 1 until February 2017. Randall has been with the Boys and Girls Club of America since 1997 as chief professional officer for Tahlequah and a Native American national advisory committee member.
Gloria Sly, Cherokee Nation Foundation, seat 3 until February 2017. Sly has been the Cherokee Nation education liaison since December 2012.
Fannie E. Robinson, Cherokee Nation Waste Management, LLC, until February 2016. Robinson most recently held the position of Deputy Area Director, Office of Environmental Health and Engineering for Indian Health Services from 2006 to 2011.
Lou Ann Collins, Cherokee Nation Waste Management, LLC, until February 2016. Collins’ work experience includes time as a teacher’s aide in Adair County Schools and NSU’s bilingual program, as well as an Employment Training Counselor for Cherokee Nation.
Chris Carter, Cherokee Nation Tax Commission, seat 2. The appointment is until February 2016. Carter has owned Shout and Sack Convenience Center in Vinita since 1978 and has served on the National Convenience Store Advisory Board for Single Store Owners since 2011.