Ifirst heard word encouraging me to run for Chief a year ago in January 2018. It is a great honor to be considered. I have always enjoyed meeting with people, making new friends, and being considered family by many while Patrick campaigned. We became very close to a lot of families and I will always be grateful to have had that opportunity.
Since that day, I have had several people ask me “if I was running”, followed by “will I run”, or “you should run”. I have been asked to run for Chief, Vice Chief and Tribal Council.
I know a decision as important as this takes serious thought, serious prayer, and a clear understanding of what lies ahead. It takes courage, patience, understanding, compassion and dedication to do the best job you can because you are making decisions for all of us that can have wide ranging impact.
Our Tribe went through a very trying time a couple years ago, but I do believe, in my heart, that someday we will come back together and support each other and lift each other up. It’s possible because our people are resilient, and we survive. We always find a way. I pray our future will consist of leaders that will help with that concept and I hope they treat us all fairly and equally and that no matter who you are, what family you come from or what your status in life is, you will always matter. This reminds me of the message delivered from a Pastor last Sunday where he said, and I paraphrase, that we cannot live our lives being angry and must turn it all over to God; we must learn to walk and act as Christians because it is one of the greatest honors for others to notice, because there are many among us who profess to be a Christian but are always working to undermine or tear someone down and are not living a life for Christ. Those people are in Church and in politics. So, if we can get back to loving and caring about one another the more contagious this could be and will work to uplift our whole Tribe.
I have had a lot of time to think about the very important decision of running for office. I understand our community from the political side to the business side and from our families to our Tribal employees. I respect our culture and our traditions and will always honor those who continue preserving our way of life. I know we can pull back together and work for the Common Good with the right leaders. I know I have the heart to help the people in need and the head to make good business decisions that could benefit us all. I know we must spend wisely and save for our future. It’s necessary to know how to save for the future, be smart about the Tribe’s assets and surround yourself with educated people. There is a lot of interest out there for me to consider a race and I appreciate that. I have prayed about it; I have discussed it with my family and very close friends; and I have weighed all the options with the pro’s & con’s.
In considering this decision I listened and asked for guidance from my family and friends and spent a lot of time in prayerful contemplation. It caused me to evaluate my priorities and my own values. I know my Faith, my Family, my Friends and our own personal sanity is very important to me right now and pursuit of a position that will challenge and even threaten each of those priorities and values is a tough ask.
Therefore, as I considered these matters, it became clear to me that there are far more reasons why I believe it isn’t the right time for me. I don’t want to say never, just not right now.
I have a lot of plans on the horizon such as getting more involved in community work, volunteering where I can, maybe doing some traveling and preparing for a new grandbaby. But perhaps most important, and something that Patrick and I are very excited about, we are working on something that is going to be impactful in helping our people. The news about this endeavor will be coming to you soon.
I will continue working and caring about our Tribe and I am planning to look for and find ways to continue being a positive influence and support for our Cherokee Families, Elders and our Youth. I will also certainly continue to evaluate a run for elected office in the future.
And remember, we are not going anywhere and will be right here to exercise our 1st Amendment Rights and express our views on debates of local concerns. And I will also join with you in looking for someone to lead our Tribe in a positive direction. I look forward to speaking and standing with you in this election where Patrick and I plan to participate actively in selecting our next future leaders. Take into consideration who the candidates are and imagine them in that office for four years – do they deserve such an honor? Will they bring fresh, forward thinking ideas while respecting and honoring our past, our culture and our traditions? Will they work hard for you? Will they make thoughtful decisions? I hope as you are reading this you will think long and hard about the upcoming election and how important it is for all of us to get involved in the election process; don’t ever give up on that.
In closing, I feel honored in being considered and I want to thank every single person that encouraged me to run… maybe someday soon… just not yet.
Let’s use this election to get a fresh start and use it as a means to settle and truly move beyond the wrongs from the recent past. As I stated at the beginning, I do believe in my heart, that someday we will come back together and support each other and lift each other up. It is possible. We just need to work together to make it happen.
I wish all of the candidates luck and I hope you all take into consideration what I’ve said and maybe our Tribe will get back on track and head in the right direction. May God Bless our Tribe and our Cherokee Families!
With much love, hope, and gratitude; Former First Lady, President/Owner of Cherokee Hotel Properties LLC, Wife, Mom, “Gan-Gan”