Who is Chuck Hoskin Jr.?

Meet the Unique Okla­homan run­ning for Chief of the Chero­kee Nation

Chuck Hoskin Jr. is a name that has been shared across nation­al air­ways con­cern­ing Chero­kee and Native Amer­i­can affairs and local­ly, in the state of Okla­homa, a name that has been asso­ci­at­ed with an excit­ing peri­od of growth with­in the Chero­kee Nation. More recent­ly, we are hear­ing a great deal of Hoskin Jr. as he is build­ing on a sto­ried career as Sec­re­tary of State for the Chero­kee Nation in run­ning an engag­ing cam­paign to become Prin­ci­pal Chief in the upcom­ing June 1 elec­tion. In look­ing back on the sto­ry of the man, it seems to be a jour­ney that was des­tined from the begin­ning.

Born at Clare­more Indi­an Hos­pi­tal, Hoskin Jr. was raised in Vini­ta by lov­ing par­ents with his sis­ter. Ini­tial­ly, his father was an iron work­er and his moth­er was a home­mak­er. How­ev­er, through the course of his child­hood, Hoskin Jr. was able to wit­ness progress by hard work through both of his par­ents. His father became a let­ter car­ri­er in order to work his way through col­lege to become a teacher. Like­wise, his moth­er worked hard through school while man­ag­ing a fam­i­ly to become a Reg­is­tered Nurse. These exam­ples undoubt­ed­ly nour­ished the work eth­ic that has become syn­ony­mous with Hoskin Jr. through­out his career. A career that start­ed at Braum’s when he was younger where he would meet his future wife, Jan­u­ary.

Upon grad­u­at­ing high school, Hoskin Jr. went to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa where he would obtain his Bachelor’s Degree and go on to com­plete his stud­ies at the OU Col­lege of Law. While he had always had an inter­est in pol­i­tics, it was at this time that Hoskin Jr.‘s father, who seems to be ever grow­ing in his own life, served on the Chero­kee Coun­cil from 1995–2007, which proved to be influ­en­tial.

Through his own desire to serve, and the inspi­ra­tion and influ­ence of his father, Hoskin Jr. became involved in attend­ing meet­ings regard­ing mod­ern­iz­ing the Chero­kee Con­sti­tu­tion. In 1999, while still in law school, Hoskin Jr. was invit­ed to be a part of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion that led to the mod­ern Chero­kee Con­sti­tu­tion. “It was an hon­or”, he said, regard­ing being involved in such a his­toric moment. A moment that was also when the young Hoskin Jr. began to be rec­og­nized on his own for the ben­e­fits of his nat­ur­al tal­ents, plus the mer­its of his humil­i­ty and work eth­ic.

After prac­tic­ing law for some time after grad­u­a­tion, Hoskin Jr. served on the Coun­cil of Chero­kee Nation from 2007–2013. Through this time of ser­vice his expe­ri­ence in Fed­er­al and Trib­al Law, and accom­plish­ments in a mul­ti­tude of ini­tia­tives and roles with­in the Trib­al Coun­cil led to his nom­i­na­tion as Sec­re­tary of State by Prin­ci­pal Chief Bill John Bak­er in August 2013.

In the years that have passed, Hoskin Jr. has accom­plished quite a bit in his role as Sec­re­tary of State. In 2013 he worked on a cen­sus con­clud­ing, at the time, that there were 320,000 Chero­kees nation­wide, with cur­rent num­bers now approach­ing 370,000. When asked what has con­tributed to the mas­sive growth, he said the num­bers are, “dri­ven by the avail­abil­i­ty of resources. We’ve made room for direct­ing funds to com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions.” When it comes to keep­ing Chero­kees con­nect­ed nation­wide Hoskin Jr. said, “it’s a chal­lenge.” And it is a chal­lenge he has tak­en head-on.

Social media, cul­tur­al events and the cre­ation of twen­ty satel­lite orga­ni­za­tions nation­wide, pro­vid­ing urban resources and con­nec­tion, have served effec­tive­ly towards bring­ing Chero­kees togeth­er. More­over, in his time as Sec­re­tary of State, Chero­kees have begun to receive pho­to ID’s prov­ing mem­ber­ship and the local admin­is­tra­tion spends ten months out of the year trav­el­ing nation­wide to engage and con­nect with tribe mem­bers.

In terms of infra­struc­ture, Hoskin Jr. has seen the cre­ation of a 480,000 square foot out­pa­tient med­ical clin­ic in Tahle­quah, to be com­plet­ed this Sep­tem­ber. Hoskin Jr. and the Chero­kee Nation lob­bied the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in the largest Indi­an Health Ser­vice joint ven­ture in his­to­ry for 100 mil­lion to aid in the build-out, with the Chero­kees cov­er­ing 200 mil­lion. The facil­i­ty is expect­ed to cre­ate 850 jobs, fur­ther cre­at­ing a path for young Chero­kees to become doc­tors, nurs­es and med­ical pro­fes­sion­als. To this end, the Chero­kee Nation has cre­at­ed anoth­er joint ven­ture with Okla­homa State Uni­ver­si­ty, who is build­ing a med­ical school in Tahle­quah.

More­over, in addi­tion to facil­i­ties at the four-sto­ry out­pa­tient hos­pi­tal fea­tur­ing a full range of med­ical care for Chero­kees, the build­out is pay­ing atten­tion to art and form as a place that rep­re­sents Chero­kee cul­ture as well. Once com­plet­ed, it will be the largest med­ical facil­i­ty of any tribe in the Unit­ed States. It is a mon­u­men­tal moment for the Chero­kee Nation and a sign of their pros­per­i­ty and the for­ward think­ing of their lead­er­ship.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Hoskin Jr. has been a nation­al spokesper­son for the Chero­kee Nation and for Native Amer­i­can affairs both nation­al­ly and inter­na­tion­al­ly. He gave tes­ti­mo­ny con­cern­ing the Chero­kee Nation to the Unit­ed Nations and recent­ly, when a sto­ry sur­round­ing Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth War­ren inspired a nation­al dis­cus­sion on what it means to be Chero­kee, Hoskin Jr. was the voice that was sought after to bring rea­son and under­stand­ing to the issue. “Any­time we can talk about what it means to be Chero­kee and its pos­i­tive influ­ence on the world I am glad to do it’, he said. Through these accom­plish­ments, and many more, cou­pled with his char­ac­ter, it is no won­der that Hoskin Jr. is the front run­ner to become the next Prin­ci­pal Chief of the Chero­kee Nation.

Sit­ting Chief, Bill John Bak­er, has stat­ed that, “Chuck Hoskin, Jr. is the most qual­i­fied, hard­est-work­ing per­son ever to run for Chief of the Chero­kee Nation.” And while his accom­plish­ments have cer­tain­ly been his­tor­i­cal, they are cou­pled with Hoskin Jr’s vision for the future in cre­at­ing a great deal of excite­ment sur­round­ing his cam­paign.

If elect­ed, some top pri­or­i­ties are health care, not­ing elder­ly care and reduced wait times, lan­guage and eco­nom­ic growth. He aims to con­tin­ue mak­ing improve­ments to health care and in mak­ing the recruit­ment and devel­op­ment of doc­tors, nurs­es and med­ical pro­fes­sion­als more robust. Along this vein, he has ini­tia­tives to inspire young Chero­kees to learn. Ever envi­sion­ing a path for­ward, Hoskin Jr. has a vision to help young peo­ple go to col­lege and to cre­ate jobs they can go into upon grad­u­a­tion. This vision is strong with­in the med­ical field, but Hoskin Jr. is set­ting his sights on bring­ing strong eco­nom­ic growth to small­er towns as well. The Chero­kee nation is main­ly found in small towns and “we don’t want to see them die on the vine. We find win­ning strate­gies that look at obsta­cles towns have and that’s how we win”, he said.

In devel­op­ing new gen­er­a­tions of young Chero­kees to go into the med­ical field, and to help turn the cor­ner on job growth, the preser­va­tion of the Chero­kee lan­guage is para­mount among edu­ca­tion­al ini­tia­tives. Cur­rent­ly, there is a full immer­sion pro­gram of a Chero­kee only school for K‑6th grade stu­dents in Sequoy­ah. Oth­er­wise, there is fur­ther devel­op­ment of adult immer­sion and lan­guage pro­grams at NSU to accom­plish this endeav­or.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Hoskin has said he wants to “tack­le envi­ron­men­tal issues con­cern­ing the water, the air, and the land. To be wise stew­ards of the land and be a part of the solu­tion.”

To make these accom­plish­ments an ever-grow­ing real­i­ty, Hoskin Jr. has cho­sen Bryan Warn­er as his run­ning mate to become Deputy Chief. Warn­er has a sto­ried back­ground as an edu­ca­tor, teach­ing chem­istry, biol­o­gy, micro­bi­ol­o­gy and botany, and is cur­rent­ly the Cam­pus Direc­tor, at Carl Albert State Col­lege. He was elect­ed to the Chero­kee Nation­al Trib­al Coun­cil in 2015 and has exten­sive recog­ni­tion and accom­plish­ments that speak to his heart for ser­vice, his lead­er­ship, and his ini­tia­tive. He and his wife raise their three chil­dren in Sal­li­saw where he has had a sig­nif­i­cant impact through civic involve­ment and vol­un­teer work. Hoskin Jr. has said of Warn­er that he is, “high­ly intel­li­gent and cre­ative. I know we will work well togeth­er because we already have worked well togeth­er.”

Anoth­er great part­ner­ship Hoskin Jr. was sure to speak to was his fam­i­ly. “Jan­u­ary and the kids keep me cen­tered”, he said. Speak­ing to her hard work and pas­sion on behalf of the Chero­kee peo­ple he said, “She [Jan­u­ary] has been intri­cate­ly involved with me and on her own. She takes time to make sure our chil­dren are get­ting involved in Chero­kee cul­ture.”

Vot­ing occurs on June 1. For infor­ma­tion regard­ing the elec­tion, you can vis­it the Chero­kee Nation Elec­tion Com­mis­sion at https://cherokee.org/Our-Government/Boards-Commissions/Election-Commission/Election-Information.

For more infor­ma­tion on Chuck Hoskin Jr. and his cam­paign you can vis­it hoskinwarner.com or fol­low the cam­paign on Face­book at https://www.facebook.com/HoskinWarner

Lee Bren­nan

Author, Busi­ness Devel­op­ment

Lee Bren­nan has worked across a broad spec­trum in his career rang­ing from jour­nal­ism, culi­nary arts, min­istry and liv­ing the life of an entre­pre­neur. Cur­rent­ly resid­ing in Tul­sa, OK where he is rais­ing his beloved daugh­ter, and enjoy­ing life with his friends and fam­i­ly, Lee is dri­ven by a love for peo­ple and a pas­sion for telling great sto­ries.

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