TAHLEQUAH, OK – The Cherokee Nation’s Registration Department recently enrolled its 450,000th tribal citizen. The Cherokee Nation stands as the largest federally recognized tribe in the U.S. and has processed a record number of citizen applications since COVID-19.
“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,” said Cherokee Nation Tribal Registrar Derrick Vann. “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.”
Cherokee Nation’s registration department received a record number of citizenship applications starting in 2021 after Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner announced that the tribe would provide COVID-19 assistance payments to all enrolled Cherokee citizens to help defray COVID expenses and aid in recovery.
To meet the higher demand in citizenship applications, the registration department added significant staff and expanded work shifts to 7:00pm during the weekdays and worked on Saturdays.
“I really commend our registration department for meeting the needs of our citizens,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “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. 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.”
For Cherokee Nation citizenship, an individual must prove direct lineage to an ancestor on the Dawes or Freedmen Roll.
“I’m proud of the hard work our registration team has put forth to ensure that citizens are being reached,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “We continue to say that our registration department is the most visited office in our tribal government and registering 50,000 new citizens in the past year and a half, is sheer proof. I’m truly proud of this achievement and the office as a whole.”
Among 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.