The Oklahoma Cherokee Nation announced yesterday a plan for the very first reserved hunting and fishing areas.
These reserved areas would be specifically for Cherokee citizens and they would open sometime this year.
Plan for Fishing and Hunting Land
The proposed legislation would allow for Cherokee Nation citizens to use the land for the conservation of natural resources, as well as the preservation of the Cherokee cultural traditions.
The Cherokee Nation Park and Wildlands, Fishing and Hunting Reserve Act of 2021 was proposed on Monday and will be considered for approval on Jan. 28. The land is rich in deer, squirrel, turkey, dove, quail, waterfowl, and fish. It also has other harvestable food like berries and wild onions.
It was proposed by the Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
According to the Cherokee Nation’s official site, Hoskin was elected to serve the country’s largest tribal government (Cherokee Nation has over 380,000 citizens) in 2019. In his role so far he has increased the minimum wage for their businesses. Hoskin also has secured a language investment to expand Cherokee language education and preservation.
Additionally, he was the first delegate to the U.S. Congress. He established the Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act which helps restore homes and community buildings. Now, his newest Act could allow up to 4,000 acres of land in Sequoyah County. There will also be acreage in Craig County for hunting and fishing purposes.
“Providing the Cherokee people with hunting and fishing reserves is another way we can practice tradition as good stewards of our land by creating suitable, dedicated space for hunting food sources, utilizing the bountiful stock of fish in our waterways and providing more cultural use for our people,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.
Citizens would now have a place to regularly hunt and fish within Cherokee Nation. Additionally, workshops can be taught in these areas for beginner hunters and fishermen.
Cherokee Nation Response to COVID-19
Similar to other communities, the Cherokee Nation has taken a hit from COVID-19 as well.
According to NPR, the very first person to die from COVID-19 in Oklahoma was a member of the Cherokee Nation in March. The leaders of the tribe quickly issued a mask mandate, stocked up on PPE, and started contact tracing. The federal government would take much longer to respond in this effective, life-saving way.
Oklahoma has a large amount of COVID-19 infections. However, Cherokee Nation has substantially limited their spread, although other Native American populations suffer greatly.
“My advice for state and federal leaders is to take out the idea that this virus is partisan and to understand that these are real people suffering and that we have to come together as one people. We have to think about others. And that’s something that Cherokees do. And that’s how we live is collectively and understanding that what we do and how we live impacts others. Don’t ask, what are my rights? Ask, what are my responsibilities?” Senior Director of Public Health for Cherokee Nation Lisa Pivec said.
Despite being able to curb COVID-19 infection rates, this group could use this land to help with food insecurity during the pandemic. Also, it can be used as an area to quarantine those exposed to the virus.
H/T: Cherokee One Feather