New Cherokee Nation Association to Lead Local Conservation Efforts

The Cherokee Nation launched its own conservation association to protect wildlife, and it’s absolutely free to join.

The Cherokee Nation has become the first tribe to create a wildlife conservation organization with its launch of the Cherokee Nation Fish and Wildlife Association.

“We are proving we can be a state and national leader in environmental conservation, as well as a trailblazer in Indian Country, setting the standard for other tribal governments,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said in a statement. “No other tribe has started an association that resembles this effort. Cherokee Nation is again leading the way.”

The new organization will work to preserve the natural wildlife of the northeast Oklahoma area through promoting discussion on the topic and eco-friendly ways of participating in outdoor activities.

“[Conservation] isn’t just something the government should do,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill said. “It’s something that all Cherokee citizens and really all the people that live and work and play in Northeast Oklahoma, it’s something we should all have an opportunity to participate in ourselves.”

And by having both Cherokee Nation citizens and “friends” of the Nation become members, the association will be able to involve the entire community in its efforts. In addition, membership for both groups will be free.

While the Cherokee Nation government funds the association, there will most likely be a fee to participate in tournaments or events the association hosts in order to cover costs. Hill also said there could be fundraising opportunities in the future to bring in extra revenue.

To encourage conservation efforts, the organization will host fishing tournaments, photo contests, and clinics to initiate conversation and action around preservation. In addition, it will publish resources and guest blogs covering topics like sustainable, traditional Cherokee hunting and fishing methods and no-trace hiking.

“The Cherokee Nation Fish and Wildlife Association offers Cherokee Nation citizens a unique opportunity to be a part of something that has never happened on a tribal level,” Hill said in the release. “Citizens will have access to exclusive information and events, while also helping preserve our lands and wildlife for future hunting and fishing enthusiasts. Cherokees have long been stewards of the land and wildlife, and this continues that proud tradition.”

Development of the association began last year when the state of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation signed a hunting and fishing compact that provided tribal citizens with free hunting and fishing licenses.

“It’s not just an issue where we’re concerned about hunting and fishing,” Hill said. “It’s something that, of course, culturally is very important to Cherokees, but also conserving the wild spaces where those fish and wildlife live is something that’s really important to the nation as well.”

Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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