It’s a historic moment for both Vinita Public Schools and Cherokee Nation.
Vinita Public Schools is the first school system in the state to transfer land to a tribe…In this case Cherokee Nation. The tribe has now officially received the land and this project has been in the works since House Bill 1334 was signed by Governor Mary Fallin last summer.
“I didn’t go here very long probably about 4 years a student of attucks but I can remember the good days,” says Robert Ramsey.
And today was a walk down memory lane for Robert Ramsey who attended attucks school from 1955 to 1958.
“Some of my favorite moments was running around the school playing on the merry go round,” says Ramsey.
Ramsey is one of many in the community in favor of the land transfer of Attucks school from Vinita Public Schools to Cherokee Nation for preservation. Attucks served the Vinita community from 1916 until 1958 and is recognized for being on the national register of historic places.
“One of the only schools that we had that was available for black people to go and learn and helped us and it was sort of like a family gathering. And it’s important that it stands as a landmark for our community,” says Ramsey.
The school was owned by Vinita Public Schools, but due to the upkeep they were not able to maintain the facility. Now that Cherokee Nation has obtained it they hope to preserve the building and have a big vision for the sites future.
“We have enough room for at least a couple of homes so our home construction program which builds homes by Cherokees for Cherokees and ejects funds into Vinita Public Schools,” says Chuck Hoskin Jr., Secretary of State, Cherokee Nation.
Hoskins says it is a great privilege to be recognized as the first tribe to achieve this accomplishment thanks to House Bill 1334 being signed into law.
“The state law allows any tribes in the state that operate a housing authority to do that so we hope that they look in their jurisdiction and see what opportunities there are for schools in their area. And look across the 14 counties of Cherokee Nation there’s going to be more opportunities for us, this is the first one its very special to us,” says Chuck Hoskin Jr.
Cherokee Nation is also hoping to develop and lease the site for a non profit, preferably a Boys and Girls Club. They are planning to apply for grant funding to help assist them in making improvements at the site.