MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

November 3, 2012

Three competing to be UKB leader

Tribe’s election is Monday

— Transparency and tribal services are among top issues facing the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees, candidates for chief say.

Three people are running for Keetoowah chief in the annual election set for Monday. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

They are incumbent George Wickliffe, who has served two terms; Dallas Proctor, chief from 2000 to 2004; and Donna McIntosh Shockley, an advocate for children and victims of sexual violence.

Wickliffe declined to comment for this story.

Proctor said he’s running to finish work he said he left undone when he left office in 2004.

“A lot of things need to change — housing, and we need to try to get jobs for our people,” Proctor said. “We need to improve health care. I want to start clinics where our people don’t have to sit in waiting rooms.”

Proctor said he also would like to restart the children’s shoe program, in which needy children were given athletic shoes.

“And we used to give $250 for our students who graduated high school, and college kids got $1,000 for graduating,” he said. “When I was chief, there was plenty of money to do that.”

Shockley, who is working on a degree in criminal justice, said she’s running because “I saw the need of my people and those who are being neglected — our elders, the disabled, children.”

Also, “promises to fix roads have not been fixed,” she said. “Our economy needs to diversify, not depend on casinos for our wealth.”

Shockley said transparency and open government are top issues she wants to address.

“I believe we need to get back to the people,” she said. “I will surround myself with intelligent, honest UKB people.”

Proctor said employment is a major issue.

“Again, it goes back to health care,” he said.

Proctor said he looks to his past experience as chief as his main qualification. He also has been a carpenter and mechanic.

Shockley said her main qualification is that she’s “one of the people.”

Wickliffe’s biography on the United Keetoowah Band website says he has 45 years of tribal experience, including 20 years in tribal administration. He is a fluent Cherokee speaker. He was superintendent at White Oak Public Schools from 1977 to 1999 and teaches Cherokee language at Northeastern State University and Rogers State University.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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