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Eastern Band of Cherokee to hold special election for Tribal Council seat

Image of the log Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council house with the Tribal seal on the front of the building. A sign reading " Tribal Council House" sits in a flower bed with red and oranges flowers.
Lilly Knoepp
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council house sits on the Qualla Boundary.

Updated on March 3, 2023:
The votes were tallied for the Eastern Band of Cherokee special election to fill the vacant Wolftown tribal council seat on March 2nd. The tribal board of elections unofficial results showed that Mike Parker received the most votes with 204 votes. The second highest vote-getter was Peanut Crowe (Crow) with 35 fewer votes (total 169).

Parker was got the second highest number of votes in the December special election.

The results will be certified at the next Tribal Council session.

Originally published on March 1, 2023:
Six candidates are vying to fill a seat on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council vacated by Bo Crowe who resigned after an arrest on three criminal charges following an incident in early January.

Amy Sequoyah Anders, Frank Dunn, Kathy (Rock) Burgess, Theodore M. Bird “Teddy,” Peanut Crowe and Mike Parker are competing to represent the Wolftown/Big Y area.

The six candidates are not new to the process. They all ran in the special election in December to fill two other vacant seats: one held by Tribal Council Representative Bill Taylor who resigned after charges were filed against him following a domestic dispute. Candidate Andrew W. Oocumma won Taylor’s seat in the special election.

Members will cast their votes on Thursday, March 2nd between 6am and 6pm.

Holly Kays of The Smoky Mountain News reported on the circumstance of the open seat and the candidates.

“Initially after the incident occurred, Crowe in a public statement acknowledged he was facing charges but said he would not be resigning his position. He reminded listeners he's innocent until proving guilty and says that he must place faith in tribal processes,” Kays said.

”He said, ‘I stand accountable for my actions and I do so without regret.’ However, the following month he announced that he would indeed be residing the position,” she said.

There is a tribal law that states if somebody has been convicted of a felony, then they cannot hold public office, explained Kays. There is an additional option for someone who has been convicted of a felony to petition the tribal court to restore their right to hold public office after completing their sentence.

Crowe’s next court date is April 5th.

The election is not the last one this year on the Qualla Boundary. All 12 tribal council seats and the principal, chief, the vice Chief, and three school board seats will be up for a vote this summer. The primary election will take place in June and then a general election will be held in September.

For Thursday's election, The Smoky Mountain News published a voter guide with information on each candidate.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.