In the early 1900's the American government wanted to break the power of the chiefs who controlled the tribal lands so they divided the land up among the tribal members and reduced the power of the chiefs to just administrators.
|Chadwick "Corntassel" Smith|
I belong to the western Cherokees now known at the Cherokee Nation and it has its capitol at Tahlequeh, Ok.
When it was reorganized after World War II it's chief was appointed by President Harry Truman, but since then they've elected their chief as they did in the old days. The first chief I remember was Wilma Mankiller, the first woman chief of the Cherokees, she was a great chief and easily won reelection in a landslide each time she ran. She brought a lot of federal money to the tribe, helped develop their health system, brought redevelopment money in, brought running water to many small communities and revitalized the tribe. Under her the tribal membership went from about 55,000 to about 154,000.
|Bill John Baker|
I don't follow tribal politics, but my sister Susie who lives in Oklahoma says that Corntassel has not been a good chief and that she wants me to vote for the other candidate. I guess I'll follow her recommendation because she's the one who'll be affected by the outcome.