Cherokee Nation Tribal Council increases Head Start teacher pay

July 16, 2013

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council approved legislation Monday to increase the tribe’s Head Start teacher pay to more closely follow the state scale.

The 2013 Cherokee Nation Head Start Funding Act will provide 12.5 percent of Head Start’s budget with tribal dollars beginning in Fiscal Year 2014. In Fiscal Year 2013, the Tribal Council for the first time appropriated tribal funds to add to Head Start’s federal funding.

“We’ve always had the support of Tribal Council and administration,” said Verna Thompson, Cherokee Nation’s Early Childhood Unit director. “A challenge for Head Start has always been paying competitive salaries. As a result of their appropriation of 12.5 percent, our teachers can earn salaries proportionate to the Oklahoma state salary scale. This will provide a great deal of help in the retention of faculty.”

More than 100 Head Start teachers with certification in 38 Head Start classrooms and 26 Early Head Start classrooms within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction will benefit from the Tribal Council’s appropriation.

In other business, the Tribal Council approved expanding trust land in Coffeyville where a community building sits and is being used by Native American Fellowship, Inc., a Cherokee non-profit organization.

“This is important because it is another step toward expanding our land base and control over our land,” said Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Deputy Speaker Chuck Hoskin Jr. “NAFI does a lot on the land to promote our culture, teach our history and language and to serve needy Cherokee families.”

Cherokee Nation recognized some exceptional citizens during the council meeting as well. Six Cherokee Nation EMS personnel were recognized for their efforts to save the lives of six people involved in a car accident on June 14. The EMS responders are Kelly Swim, Lanie Collins, Mike Rogers, Darrel Mcelhaney, Jeremy Ellis and Brandon Doughty. Beth Harp and Kathryn Hughes were also recognized for being part of the first graduating class of Family Practice Residents, a partnership between Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah City Hospital and OSU Medical School.

 Tribal Council also passed:

  • Legislative actions to annex lands in Tahlequah and Ochelata in preparation for the construction of a new hospital and health clinic as part of the ongoing $100 million health care expansion.
  • A resolution declaring support of human trafficking opposition and awareness, a movement spearheaded by Miss Cherokee Christy Kingfisher.
  • A resolution declaring support of President Obama’s appointment of Cherokee Nation citizen Keith M. Harper as an ambassador for the U.S. to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Amanda Clinton's portrait
Amanda Clinton

Amanda oversees Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses public relations and media relations efforts. 
Follow Amanda on Twitter at @Amanda_Clinton