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Our members know their states, or in this case, nations! Learn more about our unique member, the Cherokee Nation, from our member, Stephanie!

Name: Stephanie Wickliffe

City, State: Tahlequah, OK

Organization: Cherokee Nation              

How long have you lived in Cherokee Nation? Why do you choose to live there?

All my life except a few years after college. I returned to Oklahoma after my children were born, because it was home and it is a wonderful place to raise a family. I enjoy rural living but am close enough to cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma or Fayetteville, Arkansas.

How is 3RNet impacting Cherokee Nation?

3RNet helps highlight opportunities with Cherokee Nation and the tools to help us highlight those opportunities as well.

What are the best cultural events that happen within the Cherokee Nation? 

In just a few weeks Cherokee Nation will host one of the largest Native American gatherings in the country with the Cherokee National Holiday on Labor Day weekend. https://holiday.cherokee.org/  Oklahoma is a land of diverse cultural richness with home to the largest number of tribes in America. 

Why should a health professional choose Cherokee Nation/Oklahoma over surrounding states? 

Professional choose Cherokee Nation because they can practice medicine like they dreamed it would be; without the constraints of managed care. Our patients do not have to have a payer source. The care teams have nurse educators, diabetes educators, and nutritionists to help assist the physician in a patient’s care plan. Providers have tools they need at each facility such as in house lab, x-ray, dental, physical therapy and optometry. 

What loan repayment programs does Cherokee Nation have? Anything that makes those programs unique?

In additional to the NHSC loan repayment our sites are NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment eligible, which is a higher award than the traditional NHSC loan repayment program. Our providers are also eligible for IHS loan repayment; a provider does not have to be Native American to apply. 

Are healthcare professionals valued within Cherokee Nation? Do you have any examples?

Yes, because the state and Cherokee Nation are investing in the future for healthcare professionals. The Oklahoma legislature has proposed House Bill 2511 that would provide an income tax credit of up to $25,000 annually for up to five years for doctors who set up practices in communities of less than 25,000 people.

The Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences have established the first tribally-affiliated college of medicine in Tahlequah, set to open in 2020 with a class of 50 students. You can learn more about this unique partnership here: https://health.okstate.edu/hastings/index.html

Why do people travel to Cherokee Nation/Oklahoma?

People travel to Oklahoma to experience the outdoors with more shoreline than any state with our lakes, to experience Western history, Native American culture, and southern charm. 

What sports teams does Cherokee Nation/Oklahoma have?

OKC Thunder Basketball, Oklahoma University Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys

What is your favorite local food? 

Home cooking or The Branch for great steaks and great atmosphere. http://www.thebranchtquah.com/

What is Cherokee Nation/Oklahoma best known for? 

Oklahoma has the largest American Indian population of any state. Originally, the state of Oklahoma was set aside for the forced relocation of numerous Native Americans tribes from the Southeast by the federal government to what was called Indian Territory. However, in 1889, the land was opened to settlers in what became known as the "Oklahoma Land Rush." ... Hence the state's nickname, the Sooner State.

What is the biggest misconception about Cherokee Nation/Oklahoma?

The biggest misconception is that all Oklahoma is a prairie and Native Americans live in teepees. We are more than what old movies depict Oklahoma as. Oklahoma has more shore line than any state with twenty-four percent of Oklahoma covered by forest. Cherokee Nation is in the northeast region of the state, with rolling hills, lakes, and rivers.

While some southern Oklahoma tribes lived in teepees, many do not, such as the Cherokee and we do not live on reservations (Oklahoma has no reservations). The 39 Native American tribes in Oklahoma are uniquely different in history, culture, and language from one another. 

What are the biggest industries in Cherokee Nation/Oklahoma?

Energy is the biggest industry in Oklahoma with 20% of jobs in Oklahoma in the oil and natural gas sectors. Native American tribes in Oklahoma are progressive in all aspects of the economy having had nearly $13B impact on the state of Oklahoma in 2017. 

How is the weather/climate in Cherokee Nation/Oklahoma?

Oklahoma enjoys a favorable, seasonally varied climate throughout the year. Summers are humid subtropical, falls are crisp, winders are bright and cold, and springs often wet. Skies are clear or partly sunny 65 percent of the time.


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