The Future Of Tribes with Cherokee Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr | Crooked Media
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August 16, 2023
What A Day
The Future Of Tribes with Cherokee Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr

In This Episode

  • Donald Trump was indicted for a fourth time Monday night. Trump now faces a total of 91 criminal counts across four separate cases.
  • A Texas lawsuit against Planned Parenthood seeks more than $1.8 billion in reimbursement, penalties and fees after the state moved to cut the organization as a Medicaid provider. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, the same judge who halted federal approval of mifepristone back in April, heard arguments on Tuesday.
  • On Monday, Chuck Hoskin Jr. was sworn into his second term as Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the most populous tribe in the country. Chief Hoskin joins us to talk about his priorities and plans going into his next term.
  • And in headlines: President Biden plans to visit Maui to survey the damage caused by the deadly wildfires, student loans for over 800,000 people will be canceled starting this week, and Keke Palmer and Usher have a new song seemingly aimed at her ex.


Show Notes:


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Juanita Tolliver: It’s Wednesday, August 16th. I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And I am Priyanka Aribindi. And this is What A Day where we are flying to Belgium for a college course on the literary merits of Taylor Swift. 


Juanita Tolliver: We’re going to Ghent University and the tuition is only 1200 USD. Like that’s feasible. 


Priyanka Aribindi: If we learned anything from the Eras tour, it doesn’t matter if you get into the class, the flights and the hotels can [?], so do that first. 


Juanita Tolliver: This sounds like some personal experience Priyanka. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Just a good thing to know. [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: On today’s show, we talk with Chief Chuck Hoskin of the Cherokee Nation about what he hopes for his new term. 


[clip of Chief Chuck Hoskin] The Cherokee Nation not only is alive and well, but we are, I think, one of the greatest forces for good in the part of the world that we occupy. 


Juanita Tolliver: Plus, Keke Palmer and Usher released a new song seemingly aimed at her ex. Sorry to this man, but actually not really. He did it to himself. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Hate to say it. Hope I don’t sound ridiculous. But I don’t know who that man is. But first, let’s recap the big news of the week. Donald Trump, another man who I wish I didn’t know was indicted for a fourth time. The criminal charges were issued on Monday in Fulton County, Georgia, where Atlanta is. He is accused of racketeering and other felonies, all with the intent to overturn the state’s 2020 election results where he lost. A couple details to add on to what we told you yesterday. Trump now faces a total of 91 criminal counts across four separate cases. That is a lot if you were keeping track at home. [laughing] 


Juanita Tolliver: A lot to count. Like I’m like, come on and isn’t it also in four different states because he’s got a lot of road to cover. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: He’s got a lot going on. This case in Georgia might have the most serious punishment, actually, because it’s in a state court, not federal court. That is because if he becomes president again, he cannot pardon himself if he is convicted. Presidents can only pardon federal crimes. A Republican governor in Georgia can’t pardon Trump either. A five person board does it in that state, and they can only do that five years after the convicted has served their sentence. So really, no worming your way out of this one. The maximum sentence for racketeering 20 years, which Juanita, you pointed out, we shouldn’t be rooting for people to go to prison. 


Juanita Tolliver: I don’t often do it, but in this case, I’m like, do it. Do not pass, go. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it’s a rare exception. However, one of Trump’s 18 co-defendants, Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, filed to try and get the case moved to federal court. That and the trial date are still being worked out. So as we wait to bring you updates, you can get more takes and analysis from Pod Save America on a bonus episode that dropped Monday night. Get it wherever you get your podcasts. 


Juanita Tolliver: Now, let’s take a little trip on over to Texas, where even after the state banned abortion and cut off health care funding, state leaders continue their anti-abortion crusade against Planned Parenthood. There was a hearing yesterday on the state’s federal lawsuit against the organization seeking more than $1.8 billion dollars in reimbursement penalties and fees. It’s pretty sickening. But in spite of all of this, the clinic’s doors are still open. Considering that Planned Parenthood provides birth control, mammograms, cancer screenings and other forms of preventative care. I’m just grateful that they’re still there. And if Texas does have its way, how are folks going to get this access to care? It’s almost like doing the most harm possible has always been the goal. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, absolutely. So what exactly is the basis of the state’s claim here? 


Juanita Tolliver: Well, recently impeached Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit last year claiming that Planned Parenthood lost the right to receive Medicaid reimbursement in February 2017. That’s when the state filed to remove Planned Parenthood as a medicaid provider, even though a federal district court blocked the state’s notice of termination. As the state and Planned Parenthood fought this out in court for three years. Planned Parenthood continued to see patients and bill Medicaid for reimbursements and the billings total to about $10 million dollars. But in 2021, Texas ultimately won its push to get Planned Parenthood kicked out of the Medicaid program. Since Paxton has promised to effectively end Planned Parenthood’s operations in Texas since 2015, this is his attempt to follow through on a campaign promise. Of course, to the detriment of the patients who receive care through the Texas Planned Parenthood. Honestly, it’s all very nasty work. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, what a hateful man and hateful party. So what is the outlook for this lawsuit? 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s pretty bleak, especially since known anti-abortion advocate Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is overseeing this case. Yep. That’s the same dude who halted federal approval of mifepristone back in April. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, his name is familiar for all of the wrong reasons. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. And it’s giving big yikes. And while the hearing happened yesterday, no witnesses were called and the proceedings were not broadcast. There’s no telling how or when Judge Kacsmaryk will rule, but I’ve got a hunch. Throughout this legal process, Planned Parenthood has maintained that this lawsuit is meritless. And in a statement, they noted that they are preparing for a variety of scenarios, but it’s not looking good. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Tough news. Thank you for that update, Juanita. Moving on now, this week, the Cherokee Nation swore in its leader, Chief Chuck Hoskin. Monday was the first day of his second term leading the most populous tribe in the country. He was first elected to the role back in 2019. And just this June, he was reelected for another four year term. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, that’s really exciting. And he clearly must be doing some great things to be reelected for another four year term. So what did he accomplish in those first four years? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So during his tenure, the tribal budget more than tripled with the help of federal funding. And the Cherokee Nation also reached its own $75 million dollar settlement with opioid distributors. Also, during his time in office, the Supreme Court ruled that a large part of Oklahoma remained under tribal jurisdiction, not the states, when it came to pursuing certain crimes. The Cherokee Nation also saw progress in the effort to seat a tribal delegate in Congress, a promise that was made nearly two centuries ago. We will get more into that later. A lot of exciting things to look forward to. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, so progress with funding, progress with retaining land in Oklahoma and progress with representation. That is huge. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m also thinking about how just this year we saw the High Court uphold key parts of the Indian Child Welfare Act or ICWA. A major win for the rights of Native Americans. But do you know what Chief Hoskin has in store for his next term? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I was actually able to chat with him earlier about his priorities and plans for the Cherokee Nation going into his second term. There are some really exciting things in the works. I started by asking him about that nearly 200 year old promise that I mentioned earlier to seat a tribal delegate in Congress, specifically where it stands and who he nominated to the position back in 2019. 


Chief Chuck Hoskin: Well, our nominee to that seat is Kim Teehee, somebody who’s really perfect for the position just in terms of giving the legal context, going back to that period of our forced removal in the 1830s when Andrew Jackson is trying to solve this Cherokee problem by pushing us across the map as brutally as he could. That was Indian removal. What many Americans know today as the Trail of Tears, that was based upon a treaty which itself is infamous, which is the Treaty of New Echota, that treaty contains a very powerful sentence. And it says that the Cherokee Nation shall be entitled to a delegate in the United States House of Representatives when Congress shall make provision for the same. And we recognize it certainly as a law that is still in effect. We hadn’t actually asserted that right until 2019 when I appointed Kim Teehee and we’ve gone to Congress ever since then asking them to make good on the promise. Where we are as the Congress for the first time in the House of Representatives in November of 2022, held a hearing. Now, there’s a lot of hearings that happen in Congress every day. Here’s why this is significant. We made the Congress reexamine our removal treaty for the first time, really since Congress and through the Senate ratified the treaty. In other words, the United States was fine to use this treaty to move us across the map and to dispossess our people of their possessions and of their rights just about any cost. More difficult has been getting the Congress to reexamine the legal obligations that still remain. And so that in and of itself, I think was a victory. But we’ve got to build on that getting the House of Representatives to take the action of seating Kim Teehee, that’s something we’ve not achieved yet, but we’re still working on it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. So moving forward, what are your main priorities for this next term in office? 


Chief Chuck Hoskin: Well, we’ve got to finish some of the efforts that we’ve undertaken. So in the Cherokee Nation, what I love about being chief of the Cherokee Nation is that we can undertake some public policy priorities that I think most Americans, frankly, favor. Let’s take health care, for example. No cost health care for our citizens is a priority. And so we put resources into that. We’re in the midst of building a $400 million dollar hospital. We’re in the midst of taking money we exacted from the drug industry, from the opioid industry, and putting that into new drug treatment centers. We’re building wellness centers. We’re doing all of this to create the infrastructure for wellness in the Cherokee Nation. We’ve got to continue some of those projects and finish those. We also are in the midst of revitalizing Cherokee language and culture. We’re down to about 2000 fluent speakers, but we’ve got a generation of young people coming up that are learning the language because we’re putting dollars into investing in programs to serve them and help them become teachers, translators, fluent speakers, make a living using our language and then fighting to protect sovereignty every single day. I mean, in the state of Oklahoma, we’re up against some leadership in this state through the governor’s office that attacks tribal sovereignty. But we’ve also got a great many friends. And so trying to navigate all of that in a way that preserves sovereignty is something that’s going to take a lot of time in this term. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely some very exciting things on the horizon, it seems. In your inauguration speech, you discussed building towards a, quote, “great Cherokee century.” So I’m curious, what does that look like to you? What is your vision for the future of the Cherokee Nation? 


Chief Chuck Hoskin: Well, a great Cherokee century is one in which we are achieving a lot of these goals that we share as as Cherokee people. Protecting sovereignty, making sure the United States lives up to not only the promise with respect to the delegate to Congress, but every promise that the United States has made in these treaties, making sure that we’re respected by the state of Oklahoma, making sure that we’re investing in our people in a way that lifts everybody up. So that means making sure we’re investing in the baseline of things so people can succeed. And that surely means health care, making sure people don’t have to worry about health care and that we build towards this model of wellness for the Cherokee people. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Earlier this month, President Biden designated a new national monument near the Grand Canyon, a move that conserves lands that are sacred to Indigenous peoples and was also part of a larger effort to combat climate change. I know this wasn’t on Cherokee land, but I’d love to know what you think about efforts like these from the federal government and what you’d like to see moving forward. 


Chief Chuck Hoskin: Well, I absolutely applaud it. I mean, it shows respect for Indian Country when you have an administration not only led by the president, but led by Deb Haaland, the secretary of the interior, that is sensitive to the tribe’s priorities. And certainly this particular designation was important to multiple tribes in terms of their ancestral lands. I think it’s wonderful. I think we need more of it. I think we saw during the previous administration actually the contraction of public lands. And I think we saw some sacrifices in terms of not protecting lands that were important to native peoples. And I’m thinking of the Bears Ears monument, for example, that was restored under the Biden administration, we’ve got to be moving towards the expansion of protecting tribal lands, not moving the opposite direction. So I think this is a positive and it doesn’t matter where in the country it happens. I think the Cherokee Nation ought to be behind it and we are behind it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That was my conversation with the chief of the Cherokee Nation, Chuck Hoskin. And that is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: President Biden said on Tuesday that he plans to visit Maui to survey the damage caused by the deadly wildfires that have claimed 99 lives as of our recording time at 9:30 p.m. Eastern. Take a listen. 


President Joe Biden: My wife, Jill and I are going to travel to Hawaii as soon as we can. That’s what I’ve been talking to the government about. I don’t want to get in the way. I’ve been to too many disaster areas, but I want to go, make sure we got everything they need. 


Priyanka Aribindi: This is the first time the president has publicly addressed the tragedy since declaring a federal emergency last week, and the response to his travel announcement was mixed, to say the least. Many Republicans have used Biden’s silence on the matter over the past few days to paint him as incompetent, accusing him of not doing enough to support those in need. Very rich coming from that group of people. But White House officials have pushed back, pointing to the FEMA workers on the ground providing aid to survivors right now as a testament to Biden’s commitment. Meanwhile, locals seem more concerned with their communities and their land as they rebuild. Many residents say that they’ve been contacted by people taking advantage of the disaster and posing as real estate agents, asking if they are interested in selling their damaged property for development, which is disgusting. Governor Josh Green told reporters on Monday that he and the state’s attorney general were looking into how they can institute a moratorium on any sales of damaged land in Maui during this time. It has barely been a week and the vultures have already swooped in. It is disgusting. Really disgusting. 


Juanita Tolliver: Read the room first and foremost. But also, why are you trying to scam victims? Like these are people who lost everything and people who they loved. Like come on. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Stick to the robocalls. Stick to the Nigerian prince emails, like, why are you doing this? 


Juanita Tolliver: Starting this week, student loans for over 800,000 people will be canceled. These are people who have made the required 20 to 25 years of payments on income driven repayment plans. Education under-secretary James Kvaal called it unacceptable that there were people who qualified for loan forgiveness who had yet to receive it. The debt cancellation plan could only begin because on Monday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by two conservative groups trying to block it. The Cato Institute and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy argued earlier this month that the federal government acted outside of its powers when it announced the $39 billion dollar forgiveness plan. But District Judge Thomas Ludington ruled that the groups lacked standing and dismissed the case, allowing the loan forgiveness to begin, to be one of those 800,000 people to wake up to a zero balance, must be glorious. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. 


Juanita Tolliver: Shout out to the Biden administration for making that happen. 


Priyanka Aribindi: 100%. Hearings over Alabama’s new congressional map, kicked off in federal court on Monday, where Republican state officials defended their decision to not create a second majority Black voting district even after the Supreme Court explicitly ordered them to. To refresh your memory, Alabama voters took the state to federal court back in 2022, arguing that its congressional map diluted the power of Black voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act. The issue went all the way up to the Supreme Court, where justices sided with the voters in July. Alabama officials were ordered to redo their maps to ensure that Black voters were fairly represented, but they didn’t listen. Instead, they created two new districts, one of which was fewer than 40% Black. State Republicans have shown no willingness to comply and have even floated the possibility of appealing the case up to the Supreme Court again in hopes of flipping a justice in their favor. Just bizarre behavior. [laughter] This week’s hearings will tell us whether this legal battle will wrap up quickly or drag on for the years to come. And whatever happens to Alabama’s map could help determine which party wins the U.S. House next year. I mean, very real consequences. They are suppressing the votes of people in their state. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if they’re, like, expecting a different outcome in the Supreme Court, I really have to guess and assume that Alabama has a billionaire in their back pocket who can whisk away one of these justices to get them to change their mind. Like, that’s my hypothesis. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Dangling the private jet. 


Juanita Tolliver: [laugh] Activists campaigning against the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, otherwise known as Cop City, say they have the signatures needed to get the issue on the November ballot. Cop City is the controversial $90 million dollar training center for law enforcement and fire department service workers that the city plans to build in a lower income, predominantly Black neighborhood. Protesters of the project are concerned that the construction of Cop City will contribute to the existing system of harmful policing and oppression, in addition to the destruction of greenspace for local residents. Organizers have until next Monday to submit the signatures they’ve collected and hope to gather thousands more before then in case any are challenged. That’s a very smart move and it just feels really counterintuitive for them to welcome Cop City in a predominantly Black neighborhood where cops will be trained and ultimately probably harm that same community. So I’m with the protesters on this. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. Michael Oher, the real life subject of the book and movie The Blind Side, claimed that much of the film adaptation was based on a lie created by his supposed adoptive parents. For those who might not remember, the film follows Oher as he is adopted out of poverty by the Tuohy’s, a wealthy white family and takes his football career to the NFL. But earlier this week, Oher filed a 14 page petition that says that the Tuohy’s never actually adopted him and the couple tricked him into making them his conservators when he was 18 years old. Oher said that he didn’t make any money from the movie based on his life, which earned more than $300 million dollars. But he alleges that the Tuohy’s and their two children were paid $225,000, plus 2.5% of the film’s defined net proceeds. Oher’s petition asked the court to end the Tuohy’s conservatorship, force them to pay him his fair share of the profits and prevent them from using his name and likeness. All of that seems fair. It seems like he should– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –get even more than that. They’ve held him in a conservatorship for how long? In response to the petition, the Tuohy’s claim that they made less than $15,000 from the movie and that they were, quote, “insulted by the allegations,” which is so far beside the point that like I what? 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, I’m like somebody unearth these contracts from all these years ago. But also growing up in Memphis, I remember when this movie came out and I immediately gave it side eye like, uh, no, um wary of any white family picking up a Black teenager in the dead of night. Like, I don’t want to see it. I don’t support it. So I always had a feeling and this is kind of justifying that gut feeling. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Big white savior film. Not good at the time. Not good now. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads with a developing story about a couple fighting and the singer Usher has taken a side. 




Juanita Tolliver: It’s Wednesday, WAD squad and for today’s temp check, fighting it out in the comments is tired. Fighting it out by dropping tracks though. Hmm. 


[clip of Usher] Somebody said that your boyfriend’s looking for me. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s a bop. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Already just from the 5 seconds. 


Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] That is a teaser from the new single called Boyfriend by actress, singer, mother Keke Palmer and Usher. We’re recording this at 9:30 Eastern Tuesday night, and it’s going to be fully released at 10 a.m. Eastern Wednesday morning. So we haven’t heard it in full yet. But Priyanka, just that teaser is already breaking my brain. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. So there is a backstory to this track. It is not just catchy. We need to catch all of you up on it. So Juanita, please do the honors here, fill everybody in on what exactly is going on. 


Juanita Tolliver: All right, here’s the tea. Keke had a baby earlier this year with her then boyfriend, Darius Jackson. But July 4th weekend, she went to Usher’s Vegas residency and Usher serenaded her. A video of it posted online. Darius was not there at the time and he was not happy to say the least. 


Priyanka Aribindi: No, he was not. But let’s spell it out. Why was that? 


Juanita Tolliver: You know, just a little bit of misogyny. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Juanita Tolliver: He didn’t like what she was wearing. She was wearing a dope sheer black dress with a bodysuit underneath. Darius tweeted that he, quote, “doesn’t want the wife and mother to his kids to showcase booty cheeks to please others.” Let’s be real. She was showcasing her own cakes for herself. But alas, Keke’s fans rushed to her defense and the two stopped following each other online and have seemingly broken up. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Which leads us to this new single by, you know, not only Keke but Usher, whose concert she was at. And that lyric. Let’s run that back for the people. 


[clip of Usher] Somebody said that your boyfriend is looking for me. 


Priyanka Aribindi: [laughter] So, Juanita, what do you have to say about that? 


Juanita Tolliver: Okay. First and foremost, I love mess. If you didn’t know me, I love mess. Not in my own–


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh yes.


Juanita Tolliver: –life, but I love other people’s messes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We should know by now. [laughter] Oh, yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: And also, I just want to know who Keke has working for her because they mobilized since– 


Priyanka Aribindi: So fast. 


Juanita Tolliver: –July 4th when all this went down, they mobilized, recorded with Usher, laid the tracks, have a full release coming out today. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 


Juanita Tolliver: Like I am sick about the business mind of this woman. She says, I don’t care. I don’t care if my ex tried to embarrass me. I’m taking the ultimate moment right now, and I love her for it. Priyanka, what do you think? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, she dropped her nameless, faceless ex, which is fine. You can date like– 


Juanita Tolliver: Period. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –a man who is not known. Whatever. He shouldn’t be, like, fucking embarrassing you on the internet. That’s absolutely not okay. 


Juanita Tolliver: That part. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And like, shaming you for what you’re wearing. No, absolutely no. But she dropped him. Not only dropped him, whatever has a whole break up, goes to the studio and does this with, of all people, Usher, the man whose concert she was at. [laughter] It is the clapback to end everything it says, everything–


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –you need to know. It’s amazing. I love it. I love it already. And I’ve only heard 5 seconds. [laughter] 


Juanita Tolliver: Hooked. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Just like that, we have checked our temps. They are as hot as this drama and we wish every fight from now on results in a new single by Usher. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Trump versus DeSantis. Single by Usher. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Me and you Juanita? 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We don’t have beef though. 


Juanita Tolliver: We don’t have beef, but you know who does? Elon Musk and uh Facebook Mark. You know– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: –like those two. I would love another Usher track. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Facebook Mark. [clap] Yeah, yeah. Which one gets to be on the Usher track though? 


Juanita Tolliver: Hmm. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I feel like it’s Mark. 


Juanita Tolliver: I feel like neither, but okay. [laughing] [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review. Let Usher all your exes and tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just a zero on your student loan balance like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Juanita Tolliver.


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


[spoken together] And get your degree in Taylor Swift.


Juanita Tolliver: Priyanka. I feel like you could teach this class. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I do have a, a beginner’s mind. I believe I have something to learn from not everybody, but most people. I would love to audit. I don’t know if I’m flying all the way, but I– 


Juanita Tolliver: I love that. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –looked at it, one of these classes. 


Juanita Tolliver: Hopefully there’s a remote learning option or it’s available online. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, please. [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers. Our intern is Ryan Cochran, and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.