TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. delivered the State of the Nation address on Saturday during the 71st annual Cherokee National Holiday.

“In the coming year, the opponents of tribal sovereignty will continue to press their tired old case to move this country backward, to retreat from justice and to push the United States to escape its obligations to the Cherokee people,” Hoskin said.

Cherokee Nation will match their isolation with solidarity, he said.

“My fellow Cherokees our Nation is strong.” “It is strong because it rests upon a foundation of our people and our sovereignty.”

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

“We will meet their lies with the truth,” Hoskin said. “We will take the defense of tribal sovereignty wherever it leads us, be it the courts, the halls of Congress, the state legislature, or out in the communities.”

The enemies of sovereignty will work hard but we will work harder, and we shall not rest, he said.

In that same spirit, anyone who extends a hand of friendship to the Cherokee Nation will be met with that same hand of friendship, Hoskin said.

“On that basis we can make our tribal lands, and the entire region, a place of growing prosperity and opportunity for everyone,” Hoskin said.

Hoskin said he plans to restore Cherokee cultural material and archives.

For centuries, the Cherokee culture and national identity have been injured by the pilfering, theft or other dispossession of cultural material, archives, and even the remains of Cherokee ancestors,  he said.

“This year we will launch a historic effort to bring home what belongs to us,” Hoskin said.

The Cherokee Nation Repatriation Project will begin a new dialogue with institutions and governments across the country that hold Cherokee cultural patrimony or the remains of Cherokee Nation ancestors.

Hoskin praised the tribe’s healthcare and workforce, citing a new outpatient center in Salina and a new hospital in Tahlequah.

“Last year we extracted $100 million from the opioid industry to make those corporations pay for the damage they have done to our citizens and our nation,” Hoskin said.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin

The Public Health and Wellness Fund Act turned those dollars into a once-in-a-generation opportunity to heal.

Hoskin said future plans are for drug treatment facilities over the next five years, to invest $2 million into the tribe’s new Gadugi Corps program for volunteer and national service and to expand the community building capital program under the Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act.

The Cherokee Nation is also working on plans to bring high-speed internet and cell phone service to additional Cherokee communities, he said.