TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation issued its 15,000th photo identification citizenship card on Thursday to a tribal member who drove two hours from Arkansas to get one, a media release states.
“I just wanted to have one because I’m proud to be Cherokee,” said Brian Fleming, 50, a retired construction worker from Havana, Ark. “I’m going to use it everywhere I go.”
The tribe started issuing the photo IDs Oct. 1, 2012, and has traveled with mobile units to Arizona, Arkansas, California, Kansas, New Mexico, Missouri, Texas and Washington, D.C., to issue them to at-large citizens.
“The Cherokee Nation photo ID citizenship cards have been wildly successful,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker, who was issued the first one last year. “In our first seven months issuing the cards, we’ve crossed the 15,000 threshold and really are just getting started. Our people are using the photo IDs to access tribal services, get through major airports or cash checks at their neighborhood banks. We created a tool that is not just a source of pride, but an exercise of our tribal sovereignty.”
The tribe’s upgraded photo ID citizenship cards are similar in appearance to a driver’s license.
To upgrade, visit the Cherokee Nation registration office 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. or 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the W.W. Keeler Complex, 17067 S. Muskogee Ave. Children can also get a new photo ID card but must have a parent or guardian present. Upgrading is free.
Information: Cherokee Nation Registration Department, (918) 458-6980, (800) 256-0671 or email@example.com.