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  • Lani Hansen

Election Q&A: Delaware District

TAHLEQUAH - The Election Board for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians has finalized its list of 16 candidates for November’s Tribal Council Election. Upon receiving the finalized list, the Giduwa Cherokee News attempted to reach out to each candidate to participate in a Q&A session.


Name: Adalene Smith Age: 71 Community: Bull Hollow Years on Council (if any): 10 years

Name: Jerry Hansen Age: 54 Community: Delaware district Years on council (if any): None

Giduwa Cherokee News: Why did you decide to run for Tribal Council in 2018?

Adalene Smith: I’m running so that I can continue to serve my people. I love serving and doing the job. I do it well and I’m very community minded. That’s how my mom and dad was, but I also want respect because I want to treat my people with love. I try to live with high integrity. I strive for that for my people, to serve them. I want my people to love one another and take care of one another and that’s what I try to promote.

Jerry Hansen: One of the reasons why I wanted to run for Tribal Council this is because I am very interested in what happens in the tribal government and I feel that I can make a difference.

GCN: What do you believe are some of the most pressing issues our tribe faces and what will you do to address those issues?

AS: I’m concerned about our children being taken away from their homes. Sometimes it warrants that the mother or the parents don’t want the child, so the child is wanted by the aunt or grandma or somebody and I want them to help that aunt or that grandma or that uncle who loves that child and will raise it. We need to provide a way for that to happen because the outside government that’s not Keetoowah, their hands are in it too much, like Cherokee Nation or the state. And not to ignore the middle people, but elders, we have to take care of them. I work with elders in senior housing. I see where elders are ignored. I want my elders to have a place where they can have a community, including elder housing so they can continue their culture.

JH: In my district there’s a lot of people that are basically doing without when they can have help from UKB. I want to help get things done with housing. Even get better medical care. I would approach our neighbor tribal government, for sure and see what they can do to help the UKB.

GCN: What do you believe are the most pressing issues facing your potential district?

AS: The needs are the same in my district as with the tribe. I believe it’s that way in every district because Keetoowah people, we are different from all other Cherokees, even the Eastern Band. We really need to get our young people involved.

JH: Finances to hold political rallies. It is a lot more complex than people know.

GCN: Have you set specific goals and a timeline to accomplish them if you were to win the council seat? What would be your first order of business?

AS: Housing and enrollment, I think those are basic. I dream about housing for our Keetoowah people and the revenue to come in to support our people and our programs. My other goal is to be able to fix our enrollment department. I don’t think we’re going to be able to finish the goals that I want in the next two years. We have obstacles that have slowed us down in progressing and I pray those will be removed so we can move forward.

JH: I have a goal of better informing people of issues and answers that transpire in these council meetings. This would be one of my first orders of business. I just want our tribe to have better communication on meetings and informing our tribe about serious issues.

GCN: How do you plan to stay connected with the constituents in your district (meetings, social media, home visits, etc.)?

AS: It’s easy for me because I’ve done it most of my life, most of my council life. I have district meetings and when I see them at Walmart or Homeland or church, I tell them what’s going on. I update them. I want them to know what the tribe is doing. I’ve also rented a house in town with an office in there. I have internet. I pay that out of my stipend. I use that internet to do their applications by email. I have applications on me all the time and if they can’t physically fill it out, I fill it out for them. Another thing that my stipend pays for is my cell phone. If they need to talk, I let them use my phone to do that.

JH: My goal is to have meetings, interact more on social media, and pay home visits. I am going to do my best on getting more involved on social media. I have no problem visiting constituents at their home if they want me to come and socialize.

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