Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Bureau of Indian Affairs Eastern Oklahoma Regional Director Robert Impson formalize a historic five-year funding agreement between the tribe and the U.S. Department of Interior.
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — The Cherokee Nation formalized a historic five-year funding agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior on Wednesday.
The tribe receives $23 million per year through the Department of the Interior compact for tribal programs such as social services, law enforcement, Indian Child Welfare and real estate services. Prior to the agreement, the Cherokee Nation had a three-year contract and more frequent funding negotiations.
“This historic agreement is important to the Cherokee Nation and represents a significant milestone toward our continued self-determination and economic prosperity,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said.
“Self-governance is a vital and necessary component of the Cherokee Nation’s planning and management of financial resources. This will enhance our tribal government’s ability to chart the course for success in tribal program management,” continued Chief Baker.
At one time the tribe was required to gain approval from the Secretary of Interior to make funding decisions or consolidate tribal programs. In 1990, the Cherokee Nation was one of the first tribes to enter into a self-governance agreement, assuming tribal responsibility to decide how best to use Bureau of Indian Affairs funds.
“Only certain tribes are able to get long-term agreements,” said Robert Impson, Eastern Oklahoma regional director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, who attended the compact formalization ceremony. “The Cherokee Nation has been involved in the self-governance program for several years. This agreement is our way of assisting the tribe in serving the community and its citizens.”
The historic five-year agreement is currently in Washington, D.C., for final processing.