Hatfield ends term as At-Large Councilor
OKLAHOMA CITY – At-Large Tribal Councilor Wanda Hatfield on Aug. 14 was set to end her four-year term, and she said she’s proud of being a voice for at-large Cherokee Nation citizens.
“Probably the most thing I’m proud of is bringing to the Council table the at-large voice. I don’t think that’s been done so much in the past,” Hatfield said.
She said she was aware that most programs for CN citizens were within the tribe’s jurisdiction but always questioned if some of those programs could be extended to at-large citizens.
Scholarship, housing and health care were the three biggest challenges she faced in helping her constituents, she said. “It seems like scholarships was one area that our at-large citizens could benefit from. Recently Section 184 housing, that’s going to help whatever at-large citizens. As far as like health issues, I’ve answered many, many questions for our at-large citizens to get connected to a local clinic. For the most part, they have to come to 14-county area if they’re going to use our facilities.”
She said her constituents want more of a connection to the tribe, services and culture, and though they are able to connect through social media and the CN website for information or events of the tribe, they still need a “human touch.”
“I think sometimes the human touch means a lot more than you can get on a computer screen. Really that’s one of things, is I was very accessible. As the majority of people don’t know it’s a 24/7 job. I have my phone seven days a week. I answer my phone, I receive emails and I try to answer all of them,” Hatfield said.
As one of two At-Large representativs, she said at times she felt like she needed help, but gave it her best effort to help everyone who called or emailed her with inquiries.
“I took care of all my office work phone calls, emails, or whatever I had to do and even meetings I had. I represented Cherokee Nation Businesses a lot in events here (Oklahoma City) and even in the 14-county area. It’s just more than I think anybody could think it be, the amount of time working,” she said.
Hatfield said there is a possibility that she could run for Tribal Council again, but for now she is focusing on family, the opportunity to help open a women’s shelter for CN citizens and as a liaison to the mayor’s office in Oklahoma City working with entities on tribal issues.
“I feel very, very fortunate. I’m from a very, very large family, and I know how Cherokee families work. It’s about love, respect and kindness, and I hope people will remember that,” she said.