Cherokee Nation Continues Disaster Relief Efforts
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. –The Cherokee Nation is extending helping hands to the Katrina disaster relief efforts. Over the Cherokee National Holiday, the tribe sent two semi-trailers to the Choctaw Mississippi area. The trailers were filled with water and food. They left on Saturday morning with a Cherokee Nation Marshal Service escort and are expected back this evening. Then Cherokee Nation turned its efforts closer to home, Camp Gruber.
“Our people are eager to help,” said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “Many of our employees and other citizens have been calling to see how they can help. It is at moments like these that you discover the heart of a people. Our people have good hearts.”
Just South of Tahlequah, the Cherokee Nation was waiting for the evacuees that arrived at Camp Gruber with medical help and medicines for hurricane victims sent to Camp Gruber. Cherokee Nation EMS is helping evacuees; two ambulances and staff volunteered over the weekend at Camp Gruber, on Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4. They transported some evacuees and helped triage and treat other patients. Cherokee Nation EMS has been asked to help provide daily EMS coverage for the camp for the duration of the evacuee stay at Camp Gruber.
Dr. Gloria Grim, Cherokee Nation Health Services Medical Director, and Dr. Leticia Pablo, also a medical doctor at Cherokee Nation, are lending their services at Cook son Methodist Home at the request of Cherokee County Health Department. Approximately 36 evacuees are at Cookson Hills Center United Methodist Mission . The patients will most likely be taken to a Cherokee Nation clinic. Dr. Grim sent two psychologists and equipment to Camp Gruber and will be sending additional personnel. The Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health is coordinating mental health services and Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health Services and employees are on standby to assist as needed.
“We spoke with Ed Sam, Councilman for the Mississippi Choctaws,” said Tamara Copeland, Risk Management Coordinator for the Cherokee Nation. “He says power is being restored. They are very appreciative of what Cherokee Nation sent, it was very timely, much needed and that it helped them a great deal. He said that other help is coming in and there is nothing else needed at this time. They are diverting help to their members to the south.”
The Cherokee Nation plans to continue its support of the evacuees at Camp Gruber. “At this time Camp Gruber has food and water and clothing,” Copeland said. “Currently, monetary contributions are the most helpful.”
Cherokee Nation has several collection sites for donations including Cherokee Nation main complex in Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation Industries in Stilwell and Cherokee Casinos in Catoosa, Tahlequah, Siloam Springs, Roland and Fort Gibson. Because there will be long-term needs for the evacuees and they will continue to change with time, the Cherokee Nation is working on a plan of best use for the money we raised during Cherokee National Holiday and future contributions.