OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Cherokee Nation’s Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. won reelection to another four-year term as leader of the nation’s most populous tribe, according to results certified Monday by the tribe’s Election Commission.
Hoskin, a 48-year-old attorney, won nearly 63% of the vote in the four-way race for chief, a position similar to the governor of a state. Hoskin’s running mate, Bryan Warner, won reelection to deputy chief with about 62% of the vote. Both needed to secure more than 50% to avoid a runoff.
“Today, we celebrate not only a victory but a renewal of our shared commitment to the principles that have guided our nation for centuries,” Hoskin and Warner said in a joint statement. “Together, we will confront the challenges that lie ahead, united in our determination to uplift and empower every member of our Cherokee family.”
Hoskin ran on a platform of protecting tribal sovereignty, investing in improved health and wellness for tribal citizens and funding efforts to protect its language.
During Hoskin’s first four years in office, the Cherokee Nation has seen its tribal budget more than triple with the help of an infusion of federal funding and its sprawling reservation in northeast Oklahoma was upheld in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on tribal sovereignty. The nation has also seen its effort to have a tribal delegate seated in Congress pick up steam.
The results show three of the eight tribal council races on the ballot in Saturday’s election will head to a runoff election in July. Those elected to a seat on the 17-member council without a runoff include Julia Coates, Joe Deere, Kevin Easley Jr., Daryl Legg and Dora Patzkowski.
Based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation has a population that has risen in recent years to more than 450,000 members. It is one of 39 federally recognized tribes with headquarters in a state once known as Indian Territory, where indigenous people were forced to relocate in the 1800s as European settlers expanded westward.