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Cherokee Nation is the largest tribe in the United States with over 390,000 tribal citizens who live around the world and over 141,000 members who reside within the tribe's reservation boundaries in northeastern Oklahoma. “As part of a pilot project to continue the tribe's effort to better connect Cherokees to affordable, high speed internet, Cherokee Nation has begun installing Starlink to rural areas starting with our Cherokee speaking elders in the Belfonte Community,” Cherokee Nation representatives announced in a Facebook post earlier this month. “Some of the first to receive the internet system was Cherokee speakers Jack and Brenda Bush. The Bushes missed out on many telehealth appointments this year due to a poor internet connection. Now, with Starlink, they have access to high speed internet that is allowing them to connect like never before,” they shared. “Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner visited with the Bushes by Zoom [video] call on Tuesday to test out the connection, which was their first ever video chat. This pilot project is the first of what the Cherokee Nation hopes to expand to serve other unserved or underserved areas across the reservation,” the representative stated.
Major #broadband push on the @CherokeeNation rez. We’re closing gaps, starting with our fluent speakers living in remote areas. My hands-on Chief of Staff Todd Enlow hooked up the Bush family in the Belfonte community via @SpaceX #Starlink. Zoomed with them last Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/cpXeGrZc6J— Chuck Hoskin, Jr. (@ChuckHoskin_Jr) July 3, 2021
Cherokee Nation Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. shared that SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service will help tribe members living in rural Oklahoma connect to a wide range of opportunities online. Local officials and tribe representatives are working to connect members in the community to the Starlink broadband network for the past couple of weeks. In a video by 5News, an Oklahoma public television outlet, Hoskin talked about how Starlink can benefit Cherokee Nation. Having reliable high-speed internet can help families attend virtual school, have teleconferenes with medical services, and job opportunities. “Every kid, every Cherokee kid that grows up, I don't care where they grow up, they shouldn't have a disadvantage when it comes to something that's as basic anymore as getting online and getting an education, getting a job,” Hoskin said in the video.
Connecting tribal communities to the internet also helps them preserve their culture and share it online with the world. –“I think there is going to be a time in the near future where you all, and other people in your community, are talking to Cherokee language students from your community. Maybe they can't be in your community, but they can reach into your community through the internet,” Hoskin said, watch the full video in the Tweet linked below. With approximately 1,740 internet-beaming Starlink satellites orbiting Earth, SpaceX is primarily focused in serving users living in rural and remote regions across the globe. As more satellites are deployed, SpaceX will provide service to more customers.The company aims for global broadband coverage before the end of the year. Overall, the broadband constellation will have 12,000 satellites. To learn more about the Starlink network visit Starlink.com.