Vazquez begins 2nd stint on Tribal Council

BY CHANDLER KIDD
Intern
08/21/2017 10:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Victoria Vazquez
VINITA, Okla. – In the fall of 2013, Victoria Vazquez was elected to the Tribal Council after then Dist. 11 Tribal Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr. was appointed to serve as the Cherokee Nation’s secretary of state.

“I had a special election with two opponents that took about six weeks, and on Oct. 22, I was sworn in,” Vazquez said.

In 2017, before the CN’s general election in June, Vazquez faced no opponents to again represent Dist. 11, which includes all of Craig County, part of northern Mayes County and northern Nowata County. Her district includes more than 2,000 constituents.

Before becoming a Tribal Councilor, Vazquez was a self-employed potter. She became well-known for her pottery classes, which she taught for about 20 years. She is a consultant, educator, historian and potter who showcases pottery that southeastern United States tribes once. She also helps preserve that culture, she said.

In 1990, Vazquez took a year off from working to study as an apprentice in pottery with her mother, Anna Sixkiller Mitchell. A full-blood Cherokee, Mitchell revived Southeastern and woodlands-style pottery in Oklahoma more than 40 years ago, Vazquez said.

Vazquez’s pottery is on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Department of Interior, University of Arkansas, Bartlesville History Museum, Cherokee Heritage Center, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, First National Banks and in the Ruth Bader Ginsburg collection.

Vazquez did not have political experience before being elected to the Tribal Council. Instead, she worked with the CN by teaching classes at the CHC, schools and various places for 10 years, she said.

“I had established a relationship with a lot of people with the CN, and I had become well-known in the area. As a Tribal Councilor, you’re a representative and you develop a relationship with your constituents,” she said.

During the 2017-21 term, Vazquez said she would like to see certain areas of the tribe improve.

“The main issues I am working on are health care, housing, scholarships and just about anything CN offers to our citizens. I ensure our citizens have access to that,” Vazquez said.

During this term, she said she plans on building a nutrition center in Vinita that is modeled after those in Jay and Nowata for low-income citizens.

“Currently those in need have to drive to Jay or Nowata. This center could serve them lunch several days a week. We have a few of these in other (CN) districts, and it is my main goal for my district,” she said.

In 2015, Vazquez was elected to serve as deputy speaker of the Tribal Council and is serving as the chairwoman of Culture Committee. She said she does most of her representative outreach through email. To contact her, email victoria-vazquez@cherokee.org.

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