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Wolfetown Tribal Council candidates share their vision

Wolfetown Tribal Council candidates share their vision

Oocumma won a special election Dec. 15 to fill Taylor’s seat, and Parker won a March 2 special election for Crowe’s seat.

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Bo Crowe

news wolftown Andrew Oocumma

Andrew Oocumma

news wolftown Qiana Powell

Qiana Powell

Powell, 36, currently works as a nutritionist in the EBCI WIC Program.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in human ecology from the University of Tennessee with minors in food science and technology as well as hotel, restaurant and tourism management, and she is currently pursuing a master’s from the University of Oklahoma in legal studies and Indigenous peoples law. She has worked for the tribe, casino and hospital in positions ranging from receptionist to manager.

If elected, her top three priorities would be sustainability, accountability and transparency. Powell said sustainability means working toward agriculture and energy-saving initiatives that will lead the tribe into the future, while accountability means ensuring work is done and submitted by deadlines as well as answering questions from constituents and finding the answer when she doesn’t know it initially. She believes transparency means openly talking about initiatives the tribe is pursuing and why it’s pursuing them, and letting people know what is going on in terms they can understand — “I feel like a lot of things are not explained, and we need to make sure everyone understands and knows what is being discussed,” she said.

news wolftown Chelsea Taylor

Chelsea Taylor

Taylor, 40, currently works as a behavioral health data analyst for Analenisgi within the Cherokee Indian Hospital.

She graduated from Cherokee High School and holds a bachelor’s in business management from Lenoir-Rhyne College. After serving on the Cherokee Central School Board 2013-2017, she won a seat on Tribal Council and served 2019-2021. Taylor is also a basketball coach for enrolled members.

If elected, her top priority would be developing a unification and retention plan for stakeholders of Cherokee language, traditions and culture. She also aims to pass legislation supporting more indoor and outdoor youth programs — examples include playgrounds, bike pump tracks, creative competitions, clubs, mentorships and inclusion awareness — and to develop a tribal information report to inform the public on how to navigate the Charter and Governing Document, prepare legislation or obtain information about a variety of governmental functions and processes.  

news wolftown Mike Parker

Mike Parker 

Parker, 58, has represented Wolfetown on Tribal Council since winning a special election in March. Previously, he was the EBCI’s destination marketing director. 

Parker holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and recently completed a master’s degree in project management. Prior to this year’s election, he had served on Tribal Council for a total of 10 years, including appointments as chair and vice chair. 

If re-elected, working with leadership to develop a strategy for reporting and developing a spending plan for external economic development initiatives such as the tribe’s various LLCs would be a top priority. He would also introduce legislation to develop community design standards for housing and local economic development. Rounding out his top three priorities is working with leadership to develop dividend policies and revenue distribution to the tribal government and tribal members while ensuring adequate equity to sustain growth.  

Peanut Crowe

Crowe, 51, has been a tribal employee for more than 20 years.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Carolina University with minors in Cherokee Studies and Hospital Management.

If elected, he would prioritize investing in the community, supporting economic diversity that includes bringing family-friendly attractions — such as a water park, community pool, street fairs and festivals — to Cherokee. He also plans to collaborate with fluent speakers of Cherokee and those involved in language preservation to come to a consensus on the best way of proceeding to protect the Cherokee language.

On the ballot

This year, Cherokee voters will choose a principal chief, vice chief, 12 Tribal Council seats and three School Board seats, but not all these races attracted enough candidates to warrant a primary race. The following candidates will run in the Primary Election June 1 for principal chief, Painttown School Board and Tribal Council representing Painttown, Wolfetown, Birdtown and Yellowhill.

Principal Chief

• Michell Hicks

• Gene Crowe Jr.

• Robert Saunooke

• Richard Sneed

• Lori Taylor

• Gary Ledford


• Cyndi Lambert

• Albert Rose

• Joi Owle

• Boyd Owle

• Jim Owle


• Sean “Michael”

• Andre Brown

• Dike Sneed

• Jeff Thompson

• Richard Delano Huskey

• Carolyn West


• T.W. Saunooke

• David Wolfe

• Stephanie Saunooke

• Tom Wahnetah

• Ernest Tiger 

Wolfetown/Big Y

• Bo Crowe

• Andrew Oocumma

• Qiana Powell

• Chelsea Taylor

• Mike Parker

• Peanut Crowe

School Board Painttown

• Regina Rosario

• Micah Swimmer

• Keyonna Hornbuckle

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