- Lani Hansen
Election Q&A: Sequoyah 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.
SEQUOYAH DISTRICT CANDIDATES
Name: Barry Dotson Age: N/A Community: Sequoyah district Years on council (if any): 13 years
Name: Mary Duvall Age: 68 Community: Sequoyah district Years on council (if any): 2 years
GCN: Why did you decide to run for Tribal Council in 2018?
BD: The tribes needs to be straighten out. There’s too much bullsh*t going on up there.
MD: I wanted to be a spokesperson for all the members and try to talk to them fluently in Cherokee and try to see what their needs were. Also just to get down to their level and try to help them out the most I could.
GCN: What do you believe are some of the most pressing issues our tribe faces and what will you do to address those issues?
BD: Well I will tell you what the biggest problem we got up there is more than I can see is that everything is split right down the middle, with 50 percent of them for and 50 percent are against. As long as the tribe is like that, it will never get anywhere. The reason why I didn’t run the last time was because my wife had Alzheimer's but she has passed away. The reason why I didn’t run on the council last time was because of my sick wife and I couldn’t serve.
MD: Our tribe needs to focus on the elders. Elders are the ones who need our attention. Also there are homes that need to be taken care of because of the winter and the summer. Especially in my district they live in really run down houses, I believe they need to upgrade or do something about that. Also education for people. Train them to be self sufficient.
GCN: What do you believe are the most pressing issues facing your potential district?
BD: If I don’t get elected, it ain’t no big deal. I am not going to worry about it, but the tribe has to try something to get the tribe straightened out. Cherokee Nation is sitting over there just hoping UKB goes down the drain. It really isn’t politics that made me want to run, it’s just a matter of getting people to work together and not against each other. I don’t think politics have anything to do with it. All I want to see is everybody work towards the same goal but right now we are just like two horses pulling against each other.
MD: It would follow back to the housing issues that are in my district. We as a tribe, need to have more respect for each other than the past. Work together for the people and not ourselves.
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?
BD: We need to get together or do something. We are split down the middle and it has been that way for the last 14-15 years. I don’t know what some of the those people’s goals are unless they are in a bid with Cherokee Nation. I have no idea. Something is going on. It just seems it is all negative everything you come to. But you know, maybe that is just my position. Maybe I am the one who is negative. I am for anything that is going to help for the tribe. That is the main thing right there.
MD: My goal is always to work for the people and to make them feel important no matter what. I have heard so many people say before they could make someone listen to them, they just turn them away. They need to sit down and hear their stories before they determine what they are going to do for people.
GCN: How do you plan to stay connected with the constituents in your district (meetings, social media, home visits, etc.)?
BD: The tribe has a house down here in Sallisaw and that is where I have my meetings. But from my understanding, a lot of council members are not having monthly meetings. The Chief is just letting them get away from it or what? I have no idea. Maybe they are thinking if no one shows up to meeting, they don’t have to be there. It does not. They need to be there whether they show up or not. They need to do their job. They might be visiting with their people everyday, but that is what they need to be doing. Maybe not everyday, but at least showing up for the community.
MD: I have done a whole lot of home visits because that is how I am connected with them. A lot of them don’t have social media. For me, it was a lot of home visits and one-on-one conversations.