Election season begins for Cherokee council race

The race for Cherokee Tribal Council will feature 45 candidates competing for 12 seats around the horseshoe table when the new session begins in October.

Three of those seats are open for the taking, with Vice Chairman Brandon Jones, of Snowbird; Councilmember Teresa McCoy, of Big Cove; and Councilmember Alan “B” Ensley, of Yellowhill, all opting not to run for re-election. 

Conversely, three former councilmembers and one former vice chief will be seeking a seat on council.  Former Vice Chief Larry Blythe, who served under former Principal Chief Michell Hicks, is running to represent the Snowbird/Cherokee County township. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Secretary of State Terri Henry, whose time on Tribal Council included serving as chairwoman 2013-2015, will look to regain her seat representing Painttown. Likewise, Perry Shell will seek to rejoin the horseshoe as a Big Cove councilmember. David Wolfe is running for a seat representing Yellowhill. 

All four of these candidates lost their seats in tribal government in 2015, with Wolfe losing a bid to serve as chief and the remaining three ousted by challengers for their positions. 

The primary elections will be held Thursday, June 1, with voter registration open through Friday, May 26. After the primary, the top four vote-getters from each township will advance to the general election, which will be held Thursday, Sept. 7. The top two vote-getters from each township following the general election will win a seat on the Tribal Council. Councilmembers serve two-year terms, with all seats up for election every odd-numbered year. 

Tribal members can register to vote in person at the EBCI Board of Elections office, which is inside the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex at 810 Acquoni Road. The phone number is 828.359.6361.


The candidates


Janet Ruth Arch, Terri Henry, Mark Hicks, Marie Junaluska*, Cherie Rose, Tommye Saunooke*, Lisa Taylor, Yona Wade


Gilbert Crowe, Jr., Robert Bob Driver, Gary Ledford, Boyd Owle , Albert Rose*, Ashley Sessions, Travis Smith*, Curtis Wildcatt, Michael Youngdeer 


Lloyd Arneach, Jr., Mary Crowe, Anita Lossiah*, Charles Penick, Thomas Wahnetah, David Wolfe 

Big Cove 

James Henry Bradley, Richard French*, Lavita Hill, Jim Panther, Fred Penick, Perry Shell, Damian Solis, Sheila Standingdeer, Joshua Cody Swayney, Lori Taylor

Wolfetown/Big Y 

Bo Crowe*, Jarrett Crowe, James Jumper, Samuel F. Reed, Dennis Edward Bill Taylor*, Jeremy Wilson 

Snowbird/Cherokee County 

Larry Blythe, Bucky Brown, Isaiah Chekelelee, Phillip Ellington, Janell Rattler, Adam Wachacha*

*Denotes incumbent

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