Cherokee Nation Fact Sheet
(918) 453-7476 Fax (918) 458-6181
August 21, 2007
The Watson bill (H.R. 2824) would severely impact
The poorest of the poor of Cherokee citizens.
If Congress eliminates the Cherokees' federal funding, the impact will be severe. Overall,
the Nation would lose more than $270 million in federal funding it has estimated for its 2008
budget, and about 6,500 jobs in Oklahoma. More than 170,000 Cherokee citizens live in
• The Nation would lose more than $108 million in federal funding for health care it has
estimated for its 2008 budget. The Nation currently provides health care to 126,000 patients,
including 241 Freedmen descendants, and it is the only source of health care for more than
44,000 American Indians from dozens of tribes. In 2006, Cherokee Nation clinics had more than
318,000 ambulatory care visits.
• Without federal funding, many of these patients have no option for treatment at
all. In some communities, the Cherokee Nation clinic is the only medical
facility. Others may have to drive an hour or more over poor roads to receive
treatment at already overburdened rural health-care facilities.
• Without federal funding, many will have no way to pay the bills after seeing a
• Eliminating federal funding will create a health care crisis leaving many rural
health-care providers with an impossible choice: treat thousands of patients
who cannot pay or turn away patients requiring medical attention.
• Nearly $26 million in federal education and child care funding estimated for the 2008 budget
would be cut. These programs include federal child care and programs and education services.
• 842 children in Head Start and Early Head Start programs would be affected.
• Sequoyah High School, a boarding school with an enrollment of nearly 400
Indian students from all over the country would be forced to close.
• More than 20,000 Indian students who receive assistance in their public
schools through the JOM Program, which helps pay for school supplies,
tutoring services, and graduation caps and gowns, would lose that support.
• More than $29 million would disappear from human services, including those that feed the
elderly, the handicapped and lower-income Indians from dozens of tribes.
• The Cherokee Nation feeds more than 35,000 households (or 90,000
individuals) every year through their federally funded food distribution program,
and delivers more than 40,000 meals a year to elderly citizens. Without this
funding, the state system will be flooded, and many would lose access to this
vital source of food.
• More than $30 million would be lost from federal housing and community assistance for the
• This means 7,398 Cherokee families would lose their federal housing
assistance, including elderly citizens in apartment complexes, thousands who
receive rental assistance, over a thousand persons in low-income apartments,
and hundreds more who are in the process of receiving mortgage assistance.
• In rural areas, there are few housing options for low-income Indians, and the
loss of this funding would force thousands into substandard housing or, even
worse, make them homeless.