The Cherokee Nation headquartered in Oklahoma has become the first tribe in Indian Country to reach an agreement with the federal government allowing it to plan and oversee its own road and highway construction.
Leaders of the tribe signed the historic self-governance agreement on Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Transportation. It means the Cherokee Nation won’t have to seek federal permission for its own highway projects and also have total oversight on them.
The Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Program compact and funding agreement was signed by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. on behalf of the tribe and U.S. Department Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who did not attend the signing ceremony because he tested positive for COVID-19 reported Native News Online.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg said the agreement was developed in the Obama administration.
“This is an incredible model and it took us a while to get there. And I think we learned a lot in the process,” Trottenberg told Native News Online, adding, “We certainly want more such agreements. We hope this is what the future looks like for Indian Country. The Biden Harris administration is committed to this mission.
Cherokee Chief Hoskin said the agreement means faster funding for the tribe’s transportation projects and also help the rural areas of the Cherokee Nation.
“The agreement will ensure those rural communities will have more channels of transportation, which is exciting,” Hoskin said.
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