Cherokee Tribal Council election attracts deep bench of challengers

All 12 seats on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Tribal Council are up for grabs this year.


All 12 incumbents have announced their intention to run, along with another 22 challengers. Cherokee is divided into six voting districts — Birdtown, Big Cove, Yellowhill, Wolfetown/Big Y, Painttown and Snowbird/Cherokee County — with two council members representing each community. 

The primary is scheduled for June 6. Voters in each community will narrow the list down to four finalists for each district who will then advance to the general election in September. Tribal council members each serve two-year terms.

Here’s the list of who registered to run for office. The two incumbents are listed first:

• Birdtown: Gene “Tunney” Crowe Jr., Jim Owle, Albert Rose, Solomon “Slick” Saunooke and Terri Taylor.

• Big Cove: Perry Shell, Bo Taylor, Teresa McCoy, C. Rich Panther, Lori Taylor and Mary Welch Thompson.

• Yellowhill: Alan “B” Ensley, David Wolfe, Arizona Jane Blankenship, Jimmy Bradley and Rick Medford.

• Wolfetown/Big Y residents: Mike Parker, Dennis Edward “Bill” Taylor, Bo Crowe, Chris McCoy, Marty Taylor, Berdie Toineeta and Jeremy Wilson.

• Painttown: Terri Henry, Tommye Saunooke, Cameron Cooper, Lucretia Hicks Dawkins and Lula “Lou” Jackson.

• Snowbird/Cherokee County: Diamond Brown Jr., Adam Wachacha, Tommy Chekelelee, Brandon Jones, Janell Rattler and Bobby Teesateskie.

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