Tribal Council reappoints host of CNB members
TAHLEQUAH – During the Nov. 16 Tribal Council meeting, several reappointments were made to the Cherokee Nation Businesses board of directors.
They include Michael Watkins, Buck George, Bob Berry, Brent Taylor, Gary Cooper, Jerry Holderby, Deacon Turner and Dan Carter.
“Those are people who are worthy of respect,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said prior to the reappointment vote. “I think they do a service to the Cherokee people. I think from time to time we forget these are men and women who give a great deal of service, and they’re Cherokee in their heart.”
Councilors also appointed Richard Hull to the tribe’s Gaming Commission, CN citizen Tim Landes to the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board and supported Janees Taylor as Council secretary.
In addition, the Council passed a resolution objecting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decree that Oklahoma government now has regulatory control over environmental issues on nearly all tribal lands in the state. On July 22, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt requested authority from the EPA soon after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the historic McGirt v. Oklahoma case that much of the land in eastern Oklahoma remained the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation.
In other business, CNB CEO Chuck Garrett said the Tru by Hilton hotel at Cherokee Springs Plaza was scheduled to open on Nov. 19. Construction of the four-story hotel began in April 2019.
“It will create approximately 45 jobs for the community,” Garrett said. “Additionally, the Starbucks that’s being constructed there is on target for its scheduled mid-January opening.”
Gary Cooper, Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation executive director, announced during the Nov. 16 Community Services Committee meeting that he is leaving his position of more than eight years.
“A lot of opportunities have come my way and I’ve passed on every single one of them until now,” he said. “There’s been an opportunity that’s presented itself that is just really hard to say no to.”
Cooper, whose last day was set for Dec. 5, said he has accepted a director-level position with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Native American Programs.
Jerri Killer, the current CN housing management director, will take over as interim HACN executive director, tribal officials said.
“I know that I have big shoes to fill and I know that I’m up for the challenge,” Killer said.