Wednesday, April 03, 2019

After allegations of bribery in Cherokee tribal election, Walkingstick calls for Feds to step in


Beginning the end of April and running through June 1st, Cherokee Nation voters will be casting ballots in the general election for Principal Chief, Deputy Principal Chief, and eight tribal council seats.

Candidates for Principal Chief are former Tribal Councilor Chuck Hoskin, Jr. (resigned as Secretary of State to run), Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick, and Tribal Councilor Dick Lay.

As the campaign has begun to heat up, there are apparent attempts by members of the current tribal administration to use Cherokee Nation dollars and official correspondence to influence the election and buy votes.

David Walkingstick, one of the candidates for Principal Chief, posted the following statement earlier today along with the image at the top of this post:
I'm troubled to hear the reports of highly unethical, potentially illegal behavior by an incumbent tribal councilor running for re-election at-large. Cherokee citizens have stepped forward and brought this to the attention of the Cherokee Election Commission, Attorney General, Council and Administration. Now several Cherokee Community Organizations have come forward stating that they received an official Cherokee Nation envelope in the mail, with the contents attached being inside -- a check from the Cherokee Nation for $500 signed by Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden, along with campaign materials and a personal note from Councilor Hatfield pleading for their support. This is highly disturbing behavior from elected members of our tribal government, and must be investigated and pursued to the fullest extent of the law.

Equally troubling is the deafening silence from the Cherokee Nation officials on this important matter, which highlights a disturbing pattern of pay to play campaign contributions, ballot harvesting and decisions made for brazen political expediency. Hatfield is one very visible example of a widespread, systemic culture that has allowed those in power to ignore ethical standards and do ‘anything to win.’

This pattern of behavior by those officials appointed in the Baker administration, which includes Chuck Hoskin Sr. as his Chief of Staff, and Chuck Hoskin Jr. as his Secretary of State, (now candidate for Principal Chief) and Todd Hembree as his Attorney General, has brought shame on our tribe. Everything rises and falls on leadership, and in a crisis such as this, it is important that we demand full ethics and accountability from our nation's leadership.

Because of the malfeasance of this administration to do what is right by our people, I am requesting the Bureau of Indian Affairs to monitor this election and make a determination if the United States should recognize the result of the election for Hatfield’s and the Principal Chief and Deputy Principal Chief positions. I am requesting the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation to review the alleged abuses for violation of federal law and civil rights. I am requesting Todd Hembree as Cherokee Nation Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate theses alleged violations of law. I ask any Cherokee citizen who has experienced intimidation and threats to vote, or are concerned about their jobs if they state their choice, or have been asked to come in and ‘verify their registration,’ or have been pushed to register or given campaign materials on tribal property that they contact our legal team at (918) 486-9427.

Now is the time for Cherokee citizens to control our destiny with truth, and time to fulfill the destiny our ancestors envisioned.

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