Cherokee Nation inauguration ceremonies

Thursday, August 14th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Cherokee Nation inaugurated Chad Smith as chief Thursday, for a second term. Chief Smith took the oath on the courthouse square in Tahlequah.

News on Six reporter Emory Bryan has the story.

A Cherokee Nation Inauguration is a family affair, more like a reunion than a ceremony. Chief Chad Smith was inaugurated Thursday for a second term - at a podium blessed with a feather. “I Chadwick Cortassel Smith do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the duties of Cherokee Nation Principal Chief.” Chief Smith takes office with a new deputy principal chief, and a new slate of tribal councilors.

Former Chief Wilma Mankiller says that may be the most significant change. “There are several new young well educated council members and I think that bodes well for the future of the Cherokee Nation.”

The new deputy chief Joe Grayson set the tone for his term with these words. “First off I promise to keep regular office hours and be a full time working deputy chief.” He got some laughs - but there was a serious undertone about the expectations from the government.

Chief Smith said that while Cherokees should expect much from their government leaders, they should not expect so much in government services. He said the strength of the Cherokee people lies not with what the government can do for the people, but what the people can do for each other. “Quality of life does not depend on subsidized housing education health services as social services. These are merely tools. Quality of life means taking those tools and using them to make wise choice.”

Chief Smith said those choices could make or break the nation - as they try to maintain their heritage in a modern world.