Tribe Elder In OK Upset No Thanksgiving Vouchers Given

Thursday, November 21st 2013, 7:01 pm

By: News 9

Traditionally, $100 dollars is given to Elders of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes every Thanksgiving to help them pay for food.

But the Tribes aren't doing that this year. Jane Nightwalker says she and many other elders were depending on the $100 Thanksgiving vouchers. While tribal leadership says the Elders have been greatly compensated all year long and can't provide the vouchers this year.

Nightwalker says she'll have to cut corners this Thanksgiving since the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes won't be giving its Elders a $100 voucher for the meal.

"Everybody always looks out for it because a lot of our Elders take care of extended families, grandchildren and great grandchildren, so it helps," Nightwalker said.

The Tribes' Governor Janice Prairie Chief-Boswell said in a statement:

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes hold our Elders in the highest regard with honor and respect which is why this year's Elder Care budget was increased by $1 million when the Legislature passed the budget modification last month. Year to date, we have provided over $2.7M in direct services to our Elders. Our Elders received $600 over the last three months to assist with heating and cooling costs in addition to their regular $100 monthly food card.

But Nightwalker, who lives on a fixed income, says she wished she would've found out sooner, so she could've saved better and budgeted her money.

"Whatever means you have, you've already paid your bills, and you depend on that because you say okay, then I can afford to pay this because we're going to get this voucher," Nightwalker said.

"But now, we don't have the voucher, I should've saved money so we can buy this turkey."

The Tribes said last year, in order to give out the $100-vouchers for Thanksgiving, they had to borrow those funds from its tax commission, which they could not do this year because the First Bank and Trust of Clinton froze nearly $6.5 million of their money. Tribal leadership says because of a legal battle over tribal leadership, those funds remain frozen today.

So far this year, the Tribes hosted Thanksgiving meals in 11 communities and have a Christmas celebration planned for the Elders on December 18th in Clinton.


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