Cherokee Nation Tribal Council bids 4 officials goodbye

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Aug. 9—Tuesday, Aug. 9 marked the final Cherokee Nation Tribal Council meeting for four councilors before newly elected members are sworn in next week.

"We're looking forward to inauguration day on Aug. 14," said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

The 2023 Cherokee General and Run-Off elections took place on June 3 and July 8, respectively, and on Monday, Aug. 14, Hoskin will be sworn in as principal chief; Bryan Warner as deputy chief; Sasha Blackfox-Qualls as District 1 councilor; Sasha Blackfox-Qualls; Lisa Robison Hall as District 3 councilor; Daryl Legg as District 6 councilor; Codey Poindexter as District 8 councilor; Dora Patzkowski as District 12 councilor; Kevin Easley Jr. as District 14 councilor; and Julia Coates as an at-large councilor.

"We appreciate those councilor-elects that are here [today] ... and appreciate those of you are having your last meeting," said Hoskin. "We appreciate the service to the Cherokee people that you all have rendered."

Exiting their elected offices are District 1 Councilor Rex Jordan, District 3 Councilor Wes Nofire, District 8 Councilor Shawn Crittenden, and District 14 Councilor Keith Austin. Nofire had run an unsuccessful campaign for principal chief.

At the end of the meeting, the departing and incoming councilors were honored and applauded.

"For the councilmen who are leaving, it's been an honor to be [on the council] with you. You learn things from everybody and I've learned a lot from you," said Speaker of the Council Mike Shambaugh. "Thank you for all you've done for your people and what you've done for the nation."

Shambaugh told the councilors-elect in the audience the had some big shoes to fill, but said he had no doubts they were going to do a good job.

During his State of the Nation address, Hoskin praised the Oklahoma State Legislature for overturning Gov. Kevin Stitt's vetos on tobacco and motor tags tribal compacts. Hoskin said these compacts create win-win situation, stability in the marketplace, and opportunities for revenue that might not otherwise exist.

"We know that the fight's not over," said Hoskin. "The governor has declared [the Legislature's] actions illegal and he's taking it to the courts. We, of course, will bring our best effort to defend the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation and the state Legislature has an opinion about that ... and feels strong in its position that what it did in terms of the override in the legislation was righteous."

Hoskin also discussed "another win" — the recent decision in Hooper v. Tulsa.

"The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals disposed of this argument by the City of Tulsa that somehow this late 19th century law which established ... under the laws of the State of Arkansas, somehow would operate in the 21st century to exclude Indian Nations from exercising our sovereignty," he said. "We've got work to do every day working with municipalities reaching agreements to make law enforcement work for everyone."

Hoskin said the tribe currently has 25 revenue-sharing agreements with different municipalities and also has cross-deputization agreements across the Cherokee Nation reservation.

"We can do that and I think the more time we spend on collaborative agreements and cooperation, and the less time we have to spend having to go to court to defend our sovereignty, the better off the whole state will be — certainly the better off we will be," he said.

Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Chuck Garrett delivered his monthly report.

"I'm glad to report that our business are running strong from a revenue, [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization], and cash flow basis. We're up year over year and we're up over budget," said Garrett.

Garrett said this is a very busy time of year for CNB.

What's next

The next Cherokee Nation Tribal Council meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11 at 6 p.m.