The Campaign Kicks Off
This year, the seat I currently occupy on the Tribal Council will come open. And last Tuesday, in Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, I filed my candidacy for re-election as your At Large Tribal Councilor!
It has been my very distinct honor and pleasure to serve the At Large citizens of the Cherokee Nation for the past 25 years as an independent scholar; a Cherokee Nation employee; a volunteer, teacher, and liaison to At Large communities; and an elected official. Advancing the standing and promoting the engagement of the At Large citizens has been my life’s work. I have been so blessed to spend my life in public service to a people, a cause, and a Nation – work that has given a foundation and purpose to my own life as well. For me, I am inextricably tied to each of you, whether I know you personally or not, and I want you to know how much you mean to me and, more importantly, to the well-being and the future of the Cherokee Nation. As an At Large citizen, you are an integral part of the Cherokee story in the 21st century!
We have come a long way in these past 25 years. I well recall the cause launched by a coalition of At Large delegates (including me) at the 1999 Constitutional Convention for a constitutional amendment establishing council representation for At Large Cherokee Nation.
We were facing a tenor of fear, some stereotyping, and a good deal of gatekeeping from some of the other delegates. Another At Large delegate, Martha Berry (now a Cherokee National Treasure), characterized it thus: “We are described as a people who know nothing, who only want benefits, who don’t care, and conversely who want to take over!” Nevertheless, the amendment was adopted with the support of still other in-district citizens who supported our cause.
February 11, 2023