For many of us, making a phone call, sending a text message, or even doing a quick search on the Internet is a normal part of our everyday lives. We grab our smartphones, tap around the device, then boom. We’re connected. It’s quick, simple and easy for us to do.

For Cherokee Nation citizens in Kenwood, Oklahoma, it hasn’t been that simple. We recently celebrated the build of a new cell tower in Kenwood, giving residents access to local wireless connectivity for the very first time, connecting more people to greater possibility with AT&T. 

Previously, citizens in Kenwood had to drive 10 miles outside of the city just to get wireless service. This created many barriers for daily tasks, and it became even more crucial in an emergency.

As a Cherokee Nation citizen myself, I’ve seen firsthand the many challenges that members living in rural areas experience with no reliable connectivity. Something that so many of us take for granted. I am honored that my work at AT&T allows me to advocate for my community to bring them the connectivity they need and deserve.

This means residents no longer have to rely on landlines or find a ride to the next city to stay connected. A public-private partnership like this one is truly lifechanging. 

In 2020 when the pandemic hit, like the rest of the world, Cherokee citizens had to shift the way we approached most things. Students were sent home for distance learning, people had to rely on virtual doctor visits and elders needed to find new ways to connect with our native speakers. Everyone relied on virtual connections. To help citizens stay connected, we worked closely with Cherokee leaders on a plan to provide 11,000 mobile hotspots for community members so they can stay connected while staying safe at home.

When everything shut down, we fully understood the urgency of helping close the digital divide and the power connection held in improving lives and creating better futures for our tribe, especially for those who lived in rural areas like Kenwood. That’s why AT&T worked closely with the Cherokee leadership to listen to their needs and help create long-term solutions.

With this new tower, AT&T expands coverage to connect Cherokee citizens in Kenwood and residents can access high-quality and reliable wireless service with AT&T 5G. It’s also improving overall public safety by providing Cherokee Nation first responders coverage on FirstNet®.  Building out FirstNet in all 35 states where federally recognized tribes are located, including Oklahoma, is one way we’ve increased coverage by more than 40% on federally recognized tribal lands.1

This will enhance the lives of Cherokee citizens in ways that many people couldn’t even imagine. I am very passionate about helping to bring connectivity to all members of the Cherokee Nation, no matter where they live on our land. This new cell tower is a major step for our community but it’s also just the beginning. We’re creating a world where our community can uphold our history while keeping a forward-thinking mindset to adapt to new technology.

The word connect has a lot of meaning to me. As a Cherokee citizen, nothing is more important than staying connected with one another and preserving our culture and traditions that we hold so close. As an AT&T employee, I am proud that our purpose is to connect people to greater possibility. Together, we can connect my community and create a better future for our tribe.

Learn how AT&T is improving connections for tribal communities.

Learn how Cherokee Nation and AT&T expanded wireless connectivity to more Cherokee citizens.

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Josh Davis
Josh Davis Client Solutions Executive, Public Sector, AT&T and Cherokee Nation Citizen

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