TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —  Cherokee Nation is committed to strengthening the tribe’s criminal justice programs, including launching a new initiative addressing domestic violence.

The Cherokee Nation Violence Against Women Act will be presented in September to the Cherokee Council, said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. during Saturday’s State of the Nation address in a prerecorded video.

Visitors from across the country attend the three-day holiday celebration which honors the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution in 1839.

“We must do more to put a blanket of protection around victims and survivors of domestic violence -women, children and men,” Hoskin said. “This law will help protect families and the most vulnerable citizens across our reservation.”

Under Hoskin’s leadership, the Cherokee Nation Marshal Services budget has increased by 267 percent and staffing capacity increased over 240 percent, he said.

“Expanding Cherokee Nation’s criminal justice system weighs on the shoulders of every leader of this Nation – and will continue to for generations to come,” Hoskin said. “We must get this right.”

Hoskin also praised the Council on the Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act.  Approximately $30 million is earmarked for repairing homes for elders and improving the community centers that serve them, he said.

Also, plans for the future include a 25-home housing addition in Tahlequah and hosting an Elders Summit will provide opportunities for creating new laws and programs to help protect Cherokee elders from fraud and abuse, a new drug treatment center and a $3 million Cherokee Artist Recovery Act.

“Our culture, of course, is rooted in our history and reflected in our art,” Hoskin said. “After some difficult years for our great artists, the Cherokee Artist Recovery Act will provide more opportunities for our artists to sell their art, teach their craft and therefore perpetuate our beautiful culture and lifeways across the reservation and across the country.”

Hoskin also called on the United States Congress to keep the country’s promise to the Cherokee people and to seat Kim Teehee as the Cherokee Nation’s delegate to the House of Representatives.