(L to R) Cherokee Nation employees Edward French, James Gourd and Eric Sawney; Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., daughter Jasmine and wife, January; Native American Fellowship Inc. President Bill Davis; Neighborhood Association of Chewey board members Eva Manning and Bill Hilderbrand; and Cherokee Nation employees Josh Bluebird, Nick Fixin and Gary Sequichie
Published January 24, 2016
CHEWEY, OKLAHOMA— Separated by miles but linked by their heritage and social media, Cherokees from northern parts of the tribal jurisdiction have lent a helping hand to those in the southern areas following December’s devastating floods.
“It is so encouraging to see communities in our nation come together, far and wide, to help fellow Cherokees in their time of need,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker.
Following a tour of the flooded areas by Chief Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Tribal Councilor Shawn Crittenden, and Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and his wife, January, January Hoskin set up the Facebook page “Northern End Pitching In” and a GoFundMe page, hoping to help victims in the Adair County community of Chewey.
“When Chuck and I left Chewey that day, I thought about our children, our Cherokee community and what might happen if disaster struck close to home,” Hoskin, of Vinita, said. “I knew that other communities would step up for us, and we should step up for Chewey in its time of need. Social media helped link the communities together for this effort.”
Led by Cherokee Nation citizen Bill Davis, of South Coffeyville, the community group Native American Fellowship Inc. noticed Hoskin’s efforts through social media and rose to the occasion, collecting money, food and household items for the flood victims.
“My community suffered through flooding in 2007. I know what it means to get help from other Cherokees in that kind of crisis. It means the world,” Davis said. “NAFI did not hesitate to assist when we saw the need.”
Kenny Foreman, a TERO contractor from Bartlesville, also responded to the campaign by donating materials and labor to help restore some of the homes damaged by the flood.
“When I was growing up, this is what Cherokees did for each other. I simply wanted to help,” Foreman said.
Several Cherokee-owned businesses in Vinita responded with food and construction material donations, including C&B Flooring, Shout & Shack and Carter’s Food Center. Dozens of individuals in Craig and Nowata counties also donated items at drop off sites in Vinita and South Coffeyville.
Tribal Council Secretary Frankie Hargis, of Adair County, helped flood victims since day one and visited Vinita to assist with the “Northern End Pitching In” campaign as well as help citizens in the affected area.
“I want to thank January for everything she has done for the people of the Chewey community. Through her efforts and the efforts of many others, we are helping the citizens of the affected area regain stability in a traumatic time,” Hargis said. “It is truly inspiring to witness Cherokee Nation citizens rallying and helping their fellow Cherokee brothers and sisters in need.”