TAHLEQUAH, OK – Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner and eight Councilors pledged to preserve, protect and defend the Cherokee Nation Constitution as part of their official oaths of office. They also promised to promote the culture, heritage and traditions of the Cherokee Nation.
More than 1,500 people filled the Chota Conference Center and overflow seating in Tahlequah to watch the swearing-in of elected leaders during the Cherokee Nation inauguration ceremony.
“My fellow Cherokees, I believe this to my core – we have it within us to bend the 21st century into a great Cherokee century,” said Chief Hoskin. “Thanks to our policies, our investments and the unyielding spirit of the Cherokee people, we are in the midst of a renaissance of Cherokee art and culture and a resurgence of our language. We are telling the world the Cherokee story, the whole story, as only we can tell it. In this Cherokee century we must surely leverage our Cherokee greatness to build a great Cherokee society. But, if this century is to be all that it can be, we will need something more powerful than Cherokee greatness. We will need Cherokee goodness. Let us feel the urgency of the tasks before us. Let us move boldly and let us move wisely. Let us build a great Cherokee society by leveraging those qualities that make Cherokees so great and by leaning on those qualities which make Cherokees so good. Let us pledge today to do our part to build towards this great Cherokee society and help make this a great Cherokee century.”
Chief Hoskin took his first oath of office as the tribe’s 18th constitutionally elected Chief in 2019. Deputy Chief Warner was also first elected to his office in 2019.
“Our Cherokee community values – taking care of one another, being responsible for one another, respecting the gifts of one another – are the template for our success in the past and in the future,” said Deputy Chief Warner. “Together, we can weave a blanket of shared values and traditions that will guide us through any challenge. As your Deputy Principal Chief, I will strive every day to live up to the Cherokee ideals of selflessness and harmony – and when I fall short, as we all will sometimes fall short, I will trust in the community to guide me to the right path. Every Cherokee can contribute to the well-being of our families, our tribe, our state, and our country. Our shared journey is enriched by the diverse experiences and backgrounds we bring to the table. As we move forward, let us continue to embrace understanding, support, and love for one another. By nurturing our Cherokee people, we will become a more resilient, thriving, and powerful Cherokee Nation. Our lifeways, culture, language and history bind us as one people. Together, we will honor our past, strengthen our present and ensure prosperity for generations to come.”
District 6 Tribal Councilor Daryl Legg, District 12 Tribal Councilor Dora Patzkowski and District 13 Tribal Councilor Joe Deere were sworn into their second terms in office. At-Large Tribal Councilor Julia Coates was sworn into her second consecutive term, and previously served on the Council of the Cherokee Nation from 2007-2015.
District 1 Tribal Councilor Sasha Blackfox Qualls, District 3 Tribal Councilor Lisa Robison Hall, District 8 Tribal Councilor Codey Poindexter and District 14 Tribal Councilor Kevin Easley Jr. were all sworn into their first terms as members of the legislative body.
“It was an honor to bear witness to the renewal of our democracy,” said Council Speaker Mike Shambaugh. “Today there was a spirit of unity that we can build on in the coming term.”
The inauguration ceremony also featured a performance by the Cherokee National Youth Choir, Cherokee National Treasure Tommy Wildcat, and featured special guests, friends and family of Cherokee Nation elected leaders. A traditional meal was served to tribal citizens and the community following the ceremony.