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Plans cleared for Cherokee Nation Veterans cemetery

Artist's rendering of the proposed Cherokee Nation Veterans cemetery. [PHOTO PROVIDED]
Artist's rendering of the proposed Cherokee Nation Veterans cemetery. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

A new Cherokee Nation Veterans cemetery in Oklahoma is a step closer to happening.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has cleared the first phase of a Cherokee Nation Veterans Cemetery. Hoskin made the announcement during the tribe’s annual Veterans Day Celebration in Tahlequah. 

“It is my belief that not only do we need to honor and take care of our veterans while they are living, but we must also commit to caring for them when they are laid to rest. That is why I am honored to announce this new national veterans cemetery, which will be solemn ground where our veterans can be laid to rest,” Hoskin said in a news release. 

There is only one other national cemetery in the state of Oklahoma operated by a tribe. The Cherokee Nation Veterans Cemetery would have the look and feel of other national cemeteries, such as those in Fort Gibson and Arlington, Va.

Work on the cemetery is expected to begin in 2020 after the tribe has chosen a location and conducted an environmental assessment to ensure the site is suited to be used as a national cemetery.

“I can’t think of a better way to be interred,” Army veteran David Hall said. “This would be a central location for tribal members who are veterans. Without this cemetery, you would have Native veterans that are buried at other cemeteries, whereas the Cherokee Nation Veterans Cemetery would be a central location, which would be best.”

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