TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP/KNWA/KFTA) — The Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation says it has reached 400,000 tribal citizens and expects to become the most populous indigenous tribe in the United States again.
Cherokee Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said Wednesday that he expects pending citizenship applications to put the Cherokees on top once again.
“In the coming months, Cherokee Nation Registration will be adding thousands more tribal citizens whose applications are already pending and awaiting verification, making the Cherokee Nation the largest tribe in the United States. With this growth, we will continue to be an important force for economies, education, health care, quality of life issues, and environmental matters,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Our citizens are engaging and connecting which is a sign that our Cherokee Nation government is a strong Indigenous voice in Indian Country.”
The Arizona-based Navajo Nation in March announced it had reached a population of nearly 400,000 to surpass the Cherokees as the nation’s most populous indigenous tribe.
The Cherokee Nation Registration Department is temporarily closed to in-person services through October and will reopen to the public on Nov. 1 to allow staff to continue to focus on clearing the application backlog. A secure vault has been placed in the lobby of the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah for those who wish to drop off citizenship applications during the temporary in-person closure of Registration services.
“Our Cherokee Nation employees continue to show strength to reach amazing milestones in the midst of a pandemic and to help our citizens with citizenship, support and recovery and rebuilding their lives from COVID-19,” said Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “I’m truly proud of this achievement.”
To meet the higher demand in citizenship applications, Registration added 12 additional staff to the existing 45 employees.