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Cherokee Nation Donates $6.3 Million To Oklahoma Public Schools

The Cherokee Nation presented more than $6.3 million to 107 school districts during the tribe’s virtual Public School Appreciation Day Wednesday.";

The Cherokee Nation donated a record $6.3 million to 107 Oklahoma Public School districts during the tribe's annual Public School Appreciation Day on Wednesday.

The tribal nation donates 38 percent of their annual car tag revenue directly to education. This year's amount is the largest since the program began in 2002.

This money is in addition to what Cherokee Nation already gives though the tribal-state gaming compacts.

School districts received the funds based on the number of Cherokee students that are enrolled, but the money is for all students — tribal citizens or not.

The tribal nation also announced they will begin offering virtual tutoring services for all K-12 students within the Cherokee Nation's reservation boundaries.

"The Cherokee Nation Administration and the Council of the Cherokee Nation continues to remain committed to the safety, welfare and learning of all students located within our reservation boundaries," Executive Director of Cherokee Nation Education Services Corey Bunch said in a statement. "Principal Chief Hoskin, Deputy Chief Warner and the members of our Tribal Council appreciate all of the work school teachers and leaders have done to continue to educate our youth during this trying year."

Fourteen counties received the money, including Tulsa, Wagoner, Cherokee and Muskogee.

Money can be spent at the discretion of the school district-their are no strings attached. Some have used the money to purchase a new car for drivers education program while others have used it to buy personal protective equipment.

Westville Public School Superintendent Terry Heustis said the money is needed when times get tough.

"The Cherokee Nation is always finding ways to help our Cherokee students, but they also help take care of all of our students," Huestis said. "It is a great relationship and we can't thank the Cherokee Nation enough for all of their help."


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Allison Herrera is a radio and print journalist who's worked for PRX's The World, Colorado Public Radio as the climate and environment editor and as a freelance reporter for High Country News’ Indigenous Affairs desk.
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