Oklahoma State University’s Center for Sovereign Nation hosted Chuck Hoskin Jr., Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation to speak as part of its ongoing talk series.
Hoskin’s talk was the 32nd Sovereignty Speaks address on Leadership.
Created in August 2015, the Center for Sovereign Nation is a part of President Hargis’ vision to promote the education about tribal sovereignty.
The Cherokee Nation is the largest tribe in the United States, with 380,000 members.
Hoskin spoke of the trials and tribulations the Indian nations faced during the Trail of Tears.
“It’s a familiar story you can relate to just about any Indian nation at this time, it’s a story of dispossession, and some travesties of justice, but also a story of grit, determination and strength,” Hoskin said. “All of that leads to where we are today.”
During this time of tragedy, the Cherokee Nation persevered.
“Our economy was destroyed, we lost much of the new generation coming up, you would predict it would take decades and generations to come back from that,” Hoskin said. “But what happened next is one of the most remarkable stories in the history of this country: we rebuilt ourselves in about a decade.”
Hoskin said the Cherokee Nation took its hardships and invested in creating a future.
“We took all of the resources we had and invested in a system of democracy, providing higher education and building strong communities,” Hoskin said. “I think the Cherokee Nation did something that, had it not been interrupted by subsequent events, would have led us to heights that are unimaginable.”
Hoskin said his grandfather would have never dreamed his grandson would one day be chief of the Cherokee Nation.
“Most of my grandfather’s life, he never would have imagined there could even be a chief of the Cherokee Nation,” Hoskin said. “It’s remarkable what we have accomplished.”
The Cherokee Nation is in an era of prosperity, Hoskin said.
“The series of changes and challenges the Cherokee Nation faced helped shape who we are today,” Hoskin said. “We have been on a trajectory of progress and prosperity since the 1970s, since this new era where we are allowed to make our own affairs and chart our own destiny.”
Hoskin said he hopes the United States will continue to uphold their promises to the Indian nations.
“We are trying to hold the United States accountable, and make sure that this is a country that lives up to its word,” Hoskin said. “Because I am a proud Cherokee, but I am also a proud American. I think this country is at its best when it keeps its word to the Indian nations.”