TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council re-elected Speaker Joe Byrd, Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez and Secretary Frankie Hargis to their offices during a monthly Tribal Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 22, the first since five re-elected members of the board and four new ones were sworn in on Monday.
As speaker, Byrd will continue presiding over the Tribal Council as its president. Byrd and Vazquez will serve in their capacities for the length of their terms on the Tribal Council, while the secretary is elected yearly.
“I am humbled by the confidence my fellow councilors place in me by voting for me to serve a second term as speaker of the Tribal Council,” Byrd said. “I believe we are on a positive trajectory in accomplishing great things for our people and look forward to working diligently to continue on that path.”
Byrd and Vazquez were administered the oath of office by Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Chief Justice John Garrett.
“It is such an honor and a privilege to serve as deputy speaker of the Tribal Council,” Vazquez said. “I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the Cherokee Nation citizens, who should be at the heart and soul of everything we do as a Tribal Council. We are a strong nation, and I look forward to seeing what the coming years hold for us.”
Tribal Councilors also approved the donation of a drinking water fountain from the Cherokee Nation Roads Department to the Baron Baptist Church in Adair County. The water fountain is considered surplus tribal inventory.
In other action, the Tribal Council approved:
- The nominations of Thomas Merrell, of Owasso, and Dennis Darren DeLozier, of Adair, as board members of the Economic Development Trust Authority Board of Directors. Both have worked with commercial lending in the banking industry for more than two decades. Their terms will conclude in July and August of 2020, respectively.
- The nominations of Vyrl Keeter and Vivian Cottrell as advisory committee members of the Cherokee National Treasures Program. Keeter, of Muskogee, is a Cherokee National Treasure known for his flint knapping skills. Cottrell, of Tahlequah, is also a Cherokee National Treasure who has been honored for her basketry. They will both serve three-year terms.
- The appointments of former Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory Jordan and Janice Purcell as commissioners of the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission. Jordan, of Hulbert, is an attorney and currently serves as legal advisor to the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation. Purcell, of Tahlequah, is an attorney and former adjunct professor at Northeastern State University. Their terms will conclude in August 2020.
– Anadisgoi, Cherokee Nation News