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Cherokee Nation Among First to Join Obama's ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Initiative

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is among 15 tribes and more than 100 communities nationwide to accept the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

In September, the My Brother’s Keeper initiative was launched by President Barack Obama so communities could brainstorm to find solutions to help more low-income, young men of color, including Native Americans, graduate from high school and college, become productive citizens and future leaders.

On Monday, the Cherokee Nation held its first My Brother’s Keeper summit to set goals.

“As Native people, we have historically shared responsibility addressing issues facing our children and families,” said Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. “I believe the My Brother’s Keeper program will help strengthen opportunities for Native youth, especially boys and young men. It will give them the chance to overcome obstacles they face every day, so they can find success in their life.”

Part of the initiative is to ensure all children are prepared to enter school and read at grade level by the third grade. It also aims to help more young people graduate from high school and complete post-secondary education or college. It asks tribes and communities to ensure the young adults find employment and are safe from violent crime.

“The My Brother’s Keeper initiative is not a new federal program, but rather a call to action for community leaders and tribal and local governments across the United States,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The program is about leaders working together to build and execute strategies that will give boys and young men the essential tools they need to succeed.”

Cherokee Nation department leaders will form a workgroup to review tribal policies to ensure those addressing youth and education issues are as effective as possible and help the tribe meet challenge goals.

The workgroup will also develop a tracking system to measure the effectiveness of new policies so a plan of action can be launched by March 26, 2015. The workgroup will meet regularly to guarantee requirements are met within 180 days of accepting the White House’s challenge.

The next meeting for the My Brother’s Keeper workgroup is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 19.

For more information on the My Brother’s Keeper program, visit