As a member of the Choctaw Nation, I’ve done moderately alright over the past sickly year, receiving $200 a month in much-needed grocery money from my tribe, in addition to, of course, all the other medical benefits that I feel I would have lost due to a lack of certain services due to unwieldy hospital strains, and, of course, Gov. Kevin Stitt throwing a tantrum.
But as America slowly recovers from this pandemic, this weekend it hit the wire that Cherokee members might be getting $2000 in Covid relief, thanks to President Biden’s America Rescue Plan Act. That’s gotta hurt a little bit, right Stitt?
The proposed spending plan from Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, called Respond, Recover and Rebuild, provides every Cherokee citizen $2,000 in direct relief assistance, allocating $1,000 each year for two years, according to a Cherokee Nation news release.
The spending plan also aims to bolster mental health and wellness initiatives by helping citizens recover from the pandemic’s impact, assisting Cherokee-owned small businesses, reinforcing tribal health care services, improving infrastructure and supporting education, housing, job training and more for Cherokee families.
Very few were hit worse by Covid in America as Indigenous people were and, of those in the medical field that thankfully survived, they made sure that this virus wouldn’t hurt others by being among the first to provide free immunizations, among other medical needs, to people of all races, colors and creeds. Once again, Indigenous people help to save a state while that state's leadership would rather see them silenced.
But why this money is so important, as stated above, is that besides helping to restore businesses and support education, the money will go back into the economy, helping to pay piled up bills, provide groceries and other expenditures that had to be cut back during this time of death and disease. So kudos to Biden for thinking of Natives!
And, to be honest, I sure do hope that relief money comes to the Choctaws—as well as many of Oklahoma’s tribes—too. An elderly Choctaw grandmother that lives down the street from me recently had to take much of her family in due to the Covid threat and I know could use the money.
We shouldn’t have to ask our elders to do that for us, we should be doing that for them. But desperate times call for desperate measures, as we've all sadly learned.