Cherokee Man Working In Kyiv Returns To US After Evacuating Ukraine
News 6 - March 27, 2022 2:10 pm
TULSA, Oklahoma –
A Cherokee man working at the US Embassy in Kyiv is back in the US after having to evacuate from Ukraine.
Cherokee citizen Charles Jakosa spent seven months working and living in Ukraine.
He says he loved the people there and how much warmth and positivity they showed, which made it even more shocking when he first heard about the invasion.
“I felt terrible seeing the photographs that they were sending me, the stories they were telling me about hearing artillery shells, hearing military jets flying overhead,” Jakosa said. “I could not believe what was happening in the city that I call home.”
Jakosa, his wife and his son were devastated when they had to evacuate days later.
But he also says the way Ukrainians rallied together reminds him of the Oklahoma way, which is helping your neighbor in times of need.
“I think people in Ukraine have demonstrated right now the degree to which they feel a part of a greater community,” Jakosa said.
As a child, Jakosa spent a lot of time in Bartlesville with his family.
When he got back to the US, he says he was touched by the support he got from other Cherokees.
One of which was Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
“To hear a Cherokee was involved in that great effort filled me with a great deal of pride, also, of course, concern about him and his family,” Hoskin said. “I mean Chuck Jakosa is a brave person.”
Hoskin says he’s glad it was Jakosa, who was able to represent not just America, but the tribe, too.
“That fills me with pride knowing that for many people, their first exposure to an American was a great Cherokee citizen, Chuck Jakosa.”
Jakosa has been back in Washington DC for the past few weeks.
He says he doesn’t know when he will go back to Ukraine, if at all.
But no matter what, he says he will always call Kyiv home.