TAHLEQUAH, OKLA. — To commemorate the opening of 1839 Cherokee Meat Co., representatives from Cherokee Nation Businesses held a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 24 in addition to hosting tours of the facility.

Named after the year Cherokee Nation became united by constitution, 1839 Cherokee Meat Co. is a USDA and state-certified meat processing facility located in Tahlequah, Okla. The 12,000 square-foot plant repurposes tribal property to support food security for Cherokee citizens.

“As the Cherokee people navigated through the pandemic, we learned valuable lessons about food security and food sovereignty,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “By addressing the shortage of meat processing capacity with our own facility, we support local agriculture and locally sourced food all for the benefit of Cherokee citizens and the region’s economy.”

Hoskin along with Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and the Council of the Cherokee Nation instigated the construction of the facility, which is expected to expand in phases. Eventually, 1839 Cherokee Meat Co. will use surplus bison from Cherokee Nation’s herd to meet their goal of a sustainable local farm-to-table operation.

The facility was funded through Cherokee Nation’s COVID-19 Respond, Recover and Rebuild relief plan. A total of $27 million in funds went to the facility, five new distribution centers and additional refrigerated trucks.

“I am so proud that during a difficult public health crisis Cherokee Nation business and government leaders could come together to not only address immediate challenges, but also make long term investments like the new 1839 Cherokee Meat Co.,” Warner said.