Cherokee Nation leaders offered another example of how all Oklahomans benefit from local partnerships forged with sovereign nations that remain independent and strong. 

A $54 million investment in Cherokee Nation Emergency Medical Services proposed by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner would, of course, update that agency's fleet and facilities across the reservation. If it wins support of Cherokee Nation Council, an assessment of all emergency medical services would identify the most pressing needs and potential solutions. 

"This legislation has the potential to impact all of Cherokee Nation and to provide life-saving services that not only help Cherokee citizens, but all who live in or visit the wonderful communities throughout northeast Oklahoma as we reach out and assess local needs,"Warner said. "Working together with local officials, Cherokee Nation can help to strengthen EMS services across the reservation."

This proposed investment comes at a good time: The toll continues to mount from a pandemic that places a greater demand for emergency medical services as variants of the coronavirus spread through communities. Low vaccination rates in some areas contribute to a greater need for medical care, a shortage of hospital beds, and more patient transports to out-of-state facilities. 

Cherokee Nation and the other tribal nations of Oklahoma have proven to be reliable partners for public schools, municipalities and county governments. Their contributions to education, public safety, transportation, economic opportunities and cultural diversity are countless. 

The proposal is one to which tribal councilors should give serious consideration. It exemplifies leadership — something we too often find lacking at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

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