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Cherokee Nation celebrates milestone of 450,000 registered citizens

The Cherokee Nation sign is seen. (Courtesy: Cherokee Nation)
The Cherokee Nation sign is seen. (Courtesy: Cherokee Nation)
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The Cherokee Nation announced it enrolled its 450,000th tribal citizen on Tuesday.

Wagoner man Daniel Jones brought his newborn son Bryant to the Cherokee Nation to apply for citizenship on Monday, citing that the family wanted to ensure Bryant was enrolled.

“Our tribal citizens were longing to reconnect, access our services, especially during the pandemic and families are coming in to get their children registered for citizenship at an earlier age,” Cherokee Nation Tribal Registrar Derrick Vann said. “During the height of COVID-19 we were wading through as many as 3,000 to 5,000 applications per month and we’ve now processed those, and are back to working on current applications.”

The Cherokee Nation is the largest federally recognized tribe by citizen enrollment.

The tribe has received a record number of citizen applications since 2021 when Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner announced that all enrolled Cherokee citizens would receive COVID-19 assistance payments.

“I really commend our Registration Department for meeting the needs of our citizens. COVID-19 taught all of us that there is a great need out there in terms of broadband, food insecurities and vital services that our people need,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “We are the largest tribe in the United States and for our citizens to engage and connect with us is a sign that our Cherokee Nation government is strong and focused where it should be—serving our people. With this growth, we will continue to be an important force for economies, education, health care, and quality of life.”

To gain Cherokee citizenship, an individual must prove direct lineage to an ancestor on the Dawes or Freedmen Roll.

Of the Cherokee Nation's 450,000 tribal citizens, about 140,000 live in the Cherokee Nation Reservation and more than 270,000 reside in Oklahoma.

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