Cherokee Nation citizen and volunteer Billy Shufeldt spent three days helping distribute water in northern Nowata County, including Oklahoma Union Public Schools.
SOUTH COFFEYVILLE, OKLAHOMA — The Cherokee Nation delivered 4,000 bottles of water Monday to Oklahoma Union Public Schools in Nowata County to provide students and residents safe drinking water after an area waterline break.
This gesture was in response to a waterline breaking late last week that left some 2,000 residents without running or clean water. Oklahoma Union Public Schools was affected and sent its 670 students and 90 faculty members home.
The Cherokee Nation’s emergency management department worked closely with Nowata County Emergency Management and the South Coffeyville-based Native American Fellowship Indian organization to aid many South Coffeyville residents with safe drinking water on Oct. 11 and 13 after tribal officials learned of the problem.
“I appreciate what Cherokee Nation has done the last few days, coming up here with the water. It’s very important that everyone has access to clean drinking water. The chief called this past weekend to tell us that if we needed it he would send a group up with water, and he delivered on that,” said Bill Davis, president of the 580-member Native American community organization in South Coffeyville.
On Saturday, Oct. 11, Cherokee Nation Emergency Management delivered pallets of water to the South Coffeyville Fire Department, which served as a distribution site for local residents to pick up water.
On Monday, Oct. 13, water was delivered to both the station and the school. In total, 16,000 bottles of water, 336 one-gallon jugs and a 535-gallon tank of water were donated by the Cherokee Nation.
“We will always support our citizens in need,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “The Cherokee Nation is an integral part of the community in good times and bad. When unexpected emergencies like this strike, the Cherokee Nation immediately steps in and plays an important role.”
The city was unsure if the town’s water supply was safe for drinking for several days. Tuesday morning, school officials received word that the water is now safe.
“If we don’t have clean water, it’s hard to have school. We’re really grateful for the water that was donated by the Cherokee Nation,” said Kevin Stacy, superintendent of Oklahoma Union Public Schools. “There are always going to be people in the community with concerns, and those people now have water they can carry around and drink. That’s something I wouldn’t have been able to provide on short notice without the Cherokee Nation’s help.”
Cherokee Nation Emergency Management prepares for and responds to disasters and emergencies that occur within the Cherokee Nation with resources, supplies and more. For more information on its services, visitwww.cherokee.org and click “Emergency Management” under the “Our Government” section.