- By Chuck Hoskin Jr
Guest Opinion. For the past four years, I have been honored to serve as Principal Chief of the great Cherokee Nation. We navigated unprecedented challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous attacks on our tribal sovereignty. We faced legal battles, affirming our sovereign rights through victories at the U.S. Supreme Court. We strengthened and expanded programs supporting the Cherokee language, health, economic opportunities and more.
Now, as I enter my second term alongside Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner, I am excited to build on our progress.
None of our accomplishments so far would have been possible without a talented and hard-working team around us. The most powerful choice any leader can make is to surround him or herself with good people. As we prepare to tackle the known and unknown challenges of the years ahead, I recently announced some new cabinet nominees and a Supreme Court justice appointment.
I am proud to introduce a second-term cabinet that is diverse, knowledgeable, experienced and committed to our mission. These are strong and independent leaders who embody the spirit of “gadugi” — working together for the betterment of our people. And with four women and four men nominated for key leadership positions, we are fostering an inclusive environment that values all perspectives and reflects the tribe’s workforce, which is predominately female.
One of the most pressing nominations is Tina Glory-Jordan, who is departing her role as Secretary of State to join the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court. Her track record of service, dedication, and unwavering commitment to justice makes her the ideal candidate to uphold the values of our tribe. Secretary Jordan has decades of legal experience, is a former Cherokee Nation judge and has served in many other important roles, including Speaker of the Council of the Cherokee Nation. She will ensure that our court remains a place of integrity and fairness, continuing the legacy of retiring Justice Lee Paden.
The nomination of Shella Bowlin to be the new Secretary of State marks a strategic move toward injecting new perspectives into the Cherokee Nation's government. With an impressive career anchored in Cherokee Nation Businesses, her nomination brings unique expertise and leadership.
The departure of Attorney General Sara Hill is bittersweet, as we bid farewell to a woman who has left an indelible mark on Cherokee Nation's legal landscape and history. We welcome Chad Harsha, a leader who has demonstrated his commitment to the Cherokee people in his work in various capacities. His legal knowledge and experience will ensure that our interests are always protected. Assuming his former role as Secretary of Natural Resources is Christiana Justice. This represents a seamless transition that will uphold the Cherokee Nation's commitment to responsible stewardship of our invaluable natural resources.
It is blessing, though, that General Hill will continue serving Cherokee Nation and all of Indian Country in a new way. As she enters private practice, we know we can count on a friend and a fierce advocate for the rights of tribal nations.
Honoring and supporting our veterans is a sacred responsibility, and the reappointment of S. Joe Crittenden as Secretary of Veterans Affairs demonstrates a continuing commitment to their health and well-being. Likewise, Treasurer Janees Taylor’s reappointment reflects our dedication to fiscal responsibility and transparent financial management.
Delegate to Congress Kim Teehee’s reappointment reaffirms our determination to have a strong voice in the U.S. House. Her advocacy for Indian Country and her extensive experience make her a powerful voice for our sovereign rights.
Chief of Staff Corey Bunch and Marshal Shannon Buhl round out the cabinet and will continue to provide essential guidance and leadership for the Deputy Chief and me. Both are public servants who serve with great integrity and have amassed decades of expertise in their respective fields.
We are also elevating a commitment we made to deepen our development of sound public policy and increase community engagement. Canaan Duncan and Taralee Montgomery's promotion to Deputy Secretaries of State meets those marks.
Deputy Secretary Montgomery will continue to be our point person with the Council of the Cherokee Nation and continue developing policies and legislative initiatives that improve the lives of Cherokee Nation employees, citizens and communities.
Deputy Secretary Duncan will focus on community engagement and the kind of grassroots organizing that empowers Cherokees to improve their own lives and communities
Todd Enlow, one of the most experienced public servants among us, will continue in his role as Senior Advisor to the Principal Chief and Executive Director of Housing Programs. Since taking on that position in January, he has injected new energy and real results in our housing programs and has been a valuable sounding board across all policy areas for Deputy Chief Warner and me.
Deputy Chief Warner and I anticipate the Council will confirm my nominees on August 31.
Our administration is dedicated to serving the Cherokee people, protecting our sovereignty, and ensuring that the progress we make today will benefit generations to come. These men and women embody the values and vision that guide us at Cherokee Nation. I am excited to work with them and the many other skilled and caring Cherokee Nation employees for another term.
Chuck Hoskin, Jr. is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.
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