Many At Large citizens live just outside the Cherokee Nation boundaries, in Wagoner, Muskogee, Broken Arrow, and Tulsa, for instance. Did you know that At Large citizens already have a sitting Tribal Councilor from Broken Arrow?
Councilor Mary Baker Shaw, who grew up in Tahlequah and has lived much of her adult life in the Tulsa-Broken Arrow area, was elected in 2017. She has a strong knowledge of health care having spent her career in that field. Health care is the one service that citizens from communities outside the boundary can access at Cherokee Nation clinics and hospitals within the jurisdiction. So Councilor Shaw’s expertise and advocacy is very valuable on behalf of At Large citizens as Chair of the Health Committee of the Tribal Council.
Even though many Cherokees reside just outside the Nation’s boundaries, the majority of At Large citizens are further away. The At Large population is a very diverse group of citizens. The experiences and concerns of those who are more distant are often different from those of Cherokees within the boundary or nearby.
I understand the wide variety of experiences. I spent a lot of my childhood and young adulthood in Pryor, CN, where I was born and where my grandparents continued to live, even though I moved with my immediate family to California when I was a child. More recently, I lived and worked in Tahlequah, CN, where I own a home. For many years now, I have divided my time equally between Oklahoma and California. I have worked with communities within or near the boundaries, and At Large communities all over the country. I understand the different interests and challenges that At Large citizens face in their own situations.
After two decades of hard work focused on At Large citizens, I am uniquely qualified to bring a more balanced representation to the At Large people
– all of you – no matter where you may be.
“I met Julia Coates over 20 years ago while she was researching Cherokee communities living outside Oklahoma, before we had any idea of having a representative on the Tribal Council. She has been a strong and ardent friend to At-Large communities since those early days and is unflagging in her commitment to the Cherokee Nation and to us, as At-Large citizens. I strongly endorse her as our next At-large representative.”- Deborah Scott, MPH, founding member of the original At-Large organizations in Houston, Cherokee Nation Constitutional Convention delegate (19999), member of community board of the Cherokee Nation, Executive Director of her own Indian Healthcare consulting firm, Houston, TX/Tulsa, OK
“Julia has man years of representing and fighting for At-Large citizens. She was the driving force behind the establishment of the Cherokee Nation Community Association to provide guidance to emerging At-Large groups & ensure uniformity of service. She provided Cherokee Nation funds for scholarships for At-large students. She developed an award winning history course that inspired pride in Cherokees all over the country. I’m confident that Julia’s experience & passion will benefit At-large citizens everywhere.”- Patsy Edgar, previous member of several historic, educational, and community boards of the Cherokee Nation. Dahlonega, GA