Tribal Council confirms new Secretary of Natural Resources

BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
10/13/2015 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez introduced a resolution confirming the nomination of Tommye Sue Bradshaw Wright as a board member for Cherokee Nation Businesses during the October Tribal Council meeting. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Sara Hill, left, was sworn in as the first Secretary of Natural Resources by Supreme Court Justice Angela Jones, right, during the October Tribal Council meeting. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Bill Horton, former Chairman of the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, was awarded the Medal of Patriotism for his service in the army by Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Principal Chief Bill John Baker during the October Tribal Council meeting. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Oran L. Roberts accepts his medal honoring him for his service to his country while in the Army. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on Oct. 12 confirmed Sara Hill as the first cabinet level Secretary of Natural Resources.

After full council confirmed her nomination, she was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Angela Jones during the meeting. Hill said she was grateful for the faith that both Principal Chief Bill John Baker and the Tribal Council have in her.

“This is such an important step for the Cherokee Nation that you’re taking. It’s very easy to continue to do what’s always been done. It’s difficult to do something new and I appreciate you taking this step to do something new,” Hill said.

The cabinet position will be responsible for ensuring that the tribe’s natural resources are properly preserved for the future of the Cherokee Nation and its citizens.

“I am so proud to say we are finally making our natural and environmental resources a priority. Our natural habitats and environment must be a factor in every decision we make. We have a responsibility to leave this land, this water and this air pure and clean for future generations,” Baker said in his weekly column regarding his nomination. “This position was originally established by the 1999 Constitutional Convention. Unfortunately, it was never filled, but this key advisory role cannot go vacant any longer.”

Baker added that with the Secretary of Natural Resources in place and with the leadership of the Tribal Council, laws can be created that will sustain tribal lands, water and air for generations to come.

“The Cherokee people deserve that. Clean air, safe water and a fertile land will always be our foundation for long-term health as a tribe and a people,” he said.

The resolution confirming her appointment was passed unanimously. Hill previously served as the Deputy Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation, with expertise on environmental issues, water rights and natural resource protection, according to Baker’s column.

Also passed by council was a resolution confirming the nomination of Tommye Sue Bradshaw Wright as a board member of Cherokee Nation Businesses. Her nomination was one of Baker’s and was passed during the Sept. 24 Rules Committee meeting with no discussion by a vote of 13-2 with one abstention. She was originally on the CNB beginning in 2011, but resigned for personal reasons in 2014.

During the full council meeting where she was confirmed, Wright said she appreciates the opportunity to serve.

“I will do a good job for the Cherokee people,” she added.

Wright’s nomination passed by a vote of 13-3 with Councilors Harley Buzzard, Buel Anglen and Jack Baker voting against. Councilor Don Garvin abstained.

Tribal Council also passed a resolution authorizing the tribe to become a member of the National Congress of American Indians as well as appoint the tribal delegates and alternates.

Tribal Council also amended the agenda to bring three items from the Community Services Committee meeting that happened earlier that day. The three resolutions were voted on together: a resolution authorizing the appropriation of $267,000 of housing rehabilitation funding for FY 2015 for grant matching, a resolution certifying compliance with 24 CFR Chapter IX, and a resolution adopting standards for Section 8 housing rehabilitation. All passed unanimously.

Brothers Oran L. Roberts and John Thomas Roberts Jr., who served in Vietnam as well as other service areas, were both recognized by Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Baker for their service in the army and navy, respectively. Bill Horton, former Chairman of the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, was also recognized for his service in the army where he served in Vietnam.

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