Holding families sacred is a core value of the Cherokee people. One way that we uphold that value at the Cherokee Nation is by making it a high priority to protect our most vulnerable family members. Sadly, domestic violence is still far too frequent on our reservation in northeast Oklahoma, just as it is all over the country.

The McGirt decision gave us more tools as a tribal nation to combat domestic violence. We are using those tools to their full potential, building up Cherokee Nation’s violence prevention, victim support and law enforcement services. To increase our knowledge and collaboration with state, local and federal partners on these efforts, Cherokee Nation is hosting the first Families are Sacred Summit on April 18-20 at the Hard Rock Tulsa.

This free, three-day event will bring together local law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, court staff, emergency medical service workers, health care providers and advocates to share best practices on delivering the most effective services for survivors of domestic violence, as well as their families.

The summit’s goal is to foster ideas that reduce crime across all tribal lands and increase successful prosecutions when crime does occur. Trainings at the summit will better equip the people on the front lines to recognize signs of domestic violence and respond swiftly and appropriately.

Eight professional development tracks at the summit include Courts and Prosecutors, Law Enforcement, SANE Nurses and Health Professionals, Behavioral Health, Domestic Advocates and Volunteers, Social Workers, and Native American Culture. These sessions by certified trainers will be worth continuing education credits where available, including CEUs, CLEs, CLEET and CMEs.

This gathering will create a stronger network of advocates not just on the Cherokee Nation Reservation, but in tribal jurisdictions and communities throughout Oklahoma and Indian Country, as we all work together to stop domestic violence. In the post-McGirt landscape, more than ever it is essential that we all work together for increased safety on Native lands.

We know domestic violence can devastate families, especially children who are often caught in the middle. Cherokee Nation’s ONE FIRE Victim Services program offers a variety of services to help victims, including crisis intervention, counseling and legal advocacy. As one of the region’s largest employers with more than 11,000 employees, we are also using education to make sure all of our staff know how to recognize and respond to signs of domestic violence and to seek help if it is happening to them.

Cherokee Nation is also working to hold perpetrators of domestic violence accountable. We have enhanced our tribal court system, which has jurisdiction over many domestic violence cases. In Cherokee Nation courts, survivors will find a safe and supportive environment to seek justice.

Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and I created the Cherokee Nation Task Force to Protect Women and Families in 2021, knowing that our strength as a Nation depends on the strength and security within our families. We remain committed to driving down rates of domestic violence and providing care and comfort to survivors. We are also inspired by Cherokee Nation First Lady January Hoskin, who has long been an advocate for this lifesaving work.

Together, we can create a safer Indian Country for all of us. To learn more about the Families are Sacred Summit and see the full agenda, please visit www.familiesaresacred.com. If you have questions, you may contact the event staff by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 918-207-3964.


Chuck Hoskin Jr.
Principal Chief