According to USNews.com, the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation said Wednesday that it has reached 400,000 tribal citizens and expects to become the most populous indigenous tribe in the United States again.
“In the coming months, Cherokee Nation Registration will be adding thousands more tribal citizens whose applications are already pending and awaiting verification, making the Cherokee Nation the largest tribe in the United States,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement.
In March, the Arizona-based Navajo Nation announced that it had become the nation’s most populous tribe when it reached a population of nearly 400,000 to surpass the Cherokee Nation, which then had about 392,000 citizens.
However, the Cherokee Nation’s registration department has received up to 2,000 citizenship applications weekly since Hoskin announced a $2,000 COVID-19 assistance payment to all citizens and those approved as citizens by June 2022, according to the tribe.
The applications for citizenship increased 10-fold from before the payment announcement, according to the tribe.
Navajos also saw an enrollment increase as the tribe offered hardship assistance payments from last year’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, boosting the tribe’s rolls from about 306,000 to nearly 400,000 citizens.