Chad Smith

Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation


For the past decade it has been my great privilege to lead the Cherokee Nation. One of my goals has been to create a series of columns for our community newspapers to help readers learn a little bit about the Cherokee Nation, who we are, why we’re here and about issues important to both us and our Oklahoma neighbors. The Grove Sun has kindly agreed to provide us space to do that.

I hope to share with you some of our joys, a story or two and a few of our accomplishments.

The first question a reader might have is who are we? The short answer to that is the Cherokee Nation is a nation with citizens, borders, a tri-partite government, a Constitution and sovereignty, just as other nations throughout the world. We hold the same sovereign powers as the U.S. government and do the same things the federal government does, except raise an army and print money.

We have more than 300,000 citizens spread throughout our tribal jurisdiction and across the globe. Many Cherokee Nation citizens live right here in your community.

Cherokee people come from all walks of life. We are a family-oriented culture, and if you meet a Cherokee person for the first time, they will probably start off by asking you about your family. One of the great joys of being Cherokee is having a big extended family with lots of cousins. You never know when you’ll run into a relative!

Besides our Nation and our families, the other thing that is very important to us is community. We exist today because of our strong sense of community and commitment to working in partnership with our friends and neighbors. As one of the largest employers in Oklahoma, we also employ 8,200 people and have an annual economic impact of more than a billion dollars in the state and surrounding areas.

So, now you know that Cherokee Nation is a family of families and a community of communities. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading some basic facts about the Cherokee Nation, and look forward to being able to share more with you in future columns.

Do da da go hv i (Let’s see each other again.)