TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signed an executive order Friday to reestablish the tribe’s task force on domestic violence, following up on similar action he took last year.
In August of 2021, Hoskin created the Task Force to Protect Women and Families and implemented new policies across Cherokee Nation government to address domestic violence and support survivors. Those policies include requirements that tribal government employees self-disclose arrests and active protective orders as well as required training for employees to recognize, prevent and report domestic violence.
Following the creation of last year’s task force, Hoskin worked with the Council of the Cherokee Nation, the office of the Attorney General and the Marshal Service on legislative changes to better address domestic violence.
In December, Hoskin signed the “Cherokee Nation Domestic Violence Lethality Reporting Act of 2021,” sponsored by Council members Candessa Tehee of District 2 and Deputy Speaker of the Council Victoria Vazquez of District 11. The Act, among other things, requires reports of domestic violence to include a “lethality assessment” to better inform the response of law enforcement, prosecutors and victim support service providers.
Earlier this month Hoskin signed legislation sponsored by Tehee, Vazquez and District 12 Tribal Councilor Dora Patzkowski strengthening the tribe’s law against domestic violence involving strangulation.
Last year’s task force, led by Cherokee citizen Christy Neuhoff, issued a report to Hoskin calling for measures to further improve the tribe’s response to domestic violence.
The task force report includes nine recommendations, ranging from better training across Cherokee Nation departments, to an increase in staffing and other resources to serve domestic violence survivors, to better data collection policies. The report includes a number of other recommendations, including grass roots and cultural engagement with Cherokee community leaders to raise awareness about domestic violence.
“The Task Force to Protect Women and Families has so far been a success,” Hoskin said. “My administration, Deputy Chief Warner and the Council share a commitment to making further progress on this important issue. This new task force will continue the work, with a focus on monitoring our progress on the recommendations of the first task force.”
Members of The Second Task Force to Protect Women and Families are: January Hoskin, First Lady of the Cherokee Nation; Shawna Baker, Cherokee Nation Supreme Court justice; Chrissi Nimmo, Cherokee Nation deputy attorney general; Candessa Tehee, Cherokee Nation Council member; Shawna Duch, One Fire executive director; Shawnna Roach, Cherokee Nation Marshal Service investigator; Dawni Squirrel, Cherokee Nation special adviser on Community and Cultural Outreach; Debra Proctor, Cherokee Nation Health Services; Kim Teehee, Cherokee Nation’s delegate to Congress; and Christy Shero Neuhoff, J.D., M.B.A. Nuehoff will serve as task force leader.
Friday’s executive order calls for a second task force to reconvene in February, meet at least monthly and issue a report to Hoskin in October.
Cherokee Nation's One Fire program provides resources to victims of domestic violence at its office in Tahlequah and by calling 866-458-5399.
Hoskin's executive order and the first report issued by the task force are available online at https://www.cherokee.org/media/xx1ddyxu/2022-01-cth.pdf.