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Cherokee Nation, Indian Health Service invest nearly $12 million in water, sewer infrastructure

Four people sit at a table that features the Cherokee Nation Seal. Cherokee National Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Rear Adm. Travis Watts are at the center of the table and each have papers on the table in front of them. Behind them, 16 people stand in a semi-circle curving towards the camera.
Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is partnering with Indian Health Service to bring more than $11.8 million in safe water infrastructure and sewage upgrades to 1,400 homes across the Cherokee Nation Reservation. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Rear Adm. Travis Watts, Area Director for the Oklahoma City IHS office, met Thursday to sign and celebrate the agreement.

The Cherokee Nation and Indian Health Service say they’re funding projects to bring clean drinking water and safe wastewater treatment to Cherokee Nation citizens.

The $11.8 million will support seven projects across the Cherokee Nation Reservation in eastern Oklahoma. The Tribe plans to build and upgrade water lines to homes, rehabilitate wastewater treatment plants, and install individual septic systems across multiple counties.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. met with Rear Admiral Travis Watts from the Indian Health Service to dedicate and celebrate the funds. The money comes from the bi-partisan Infrastructure, Investments and Jobs Act of 2021.

Hoskin Jr. said these projects will help ensure that Cherokee citizens have the clean drinking water they deserve, according to a press release from the Cherokee Nation.

“These funds through IHS will help so many of our tribal citizens live healthier lives and prevent health problems down the road from unsafe conditions,” said Hoskin, Jr.

IHS estimates that every dollar they invest in water and sewer infrastructure saves $1.18 in health care costs.

Graycen Wheeler is a reporter covering water issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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