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KOSU is committed to being more reflective of the audiences we serve. In Oklahoma, having stories reported by Indigenous reporters for Native communities is imperative.

Here are tribal nation elections to watch in Oklahoma this weekend

Element 5 Digital

This spring and summer, several tribal nations in Oklahoma, including some of the larger tribes in the state, will hold elections for key positions including tribal leaders and district council seats. This includes the Cherokee Nation, the Choctaw Nation and the Muscogee Nation among others.

Saturday will be a particularly busy day for elections, with voters from The Cherokee Nation, Sac & Fox Nation and Iowa Tribe heading to their respective polls.

Even if you're not a citizen of one of these tribal nations, these elections still affect you.

A 2022 economic impact report shows tribes have billions of dollars in economic impact on the state. Tribal nations employ citizens and non-citizens, provide health care through that employment, and employ people in the healthcare field.

Tribal nations are also key funders of social service organizations. For example in Shawnee, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation funds House of Hope, which is available to anyone living within CPN boundaries.

These factors and the landmark McGirt v. Oklahoma decision, which says that much of eastern Oklahoma remained a reservation for the purposes of criminal justice, intertwines people's lives on the reservation. Tribal leaders’ decisions ripple out far further than in their respective nation.

Here are some of the elections to watch around the state this weekend:

Cherokee Nation

Election Date: June 3, 2023

Polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Polling places can be found here.

Seats up for election include:

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief:

Cherokee Nation

Deputy Principal Chief

At Large Tribal Council:

District 1 Tribal Council:

District 3 Tribal Council:

District 6 Tribal Council:

  • Steven Russell
  • Daryl Legg
  • Dustin W. Bush

District 8 Tribal Council Candidates

  • Jillian Decker
  • Timothy Fishinghawk
  • Jerry Don Hardbarger
  • Troy Littledeer
  • Jon Minor

District 12 Tribal Council Candidates

  • Dora Patzkowski (incumbent)
  • Crystal St. John

District 13 Tribal Council Candidates

  • Joe Deere (incumbent)
  • Ed Phillips

District 14 Tribal Council Candidates

  • Kevin Easley Jr.
  • Warren Murray
  • Carrie Ann Vargas

Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma

Election Date: primary on June 3, 2023, general on August 26, 2023

Polls open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Polling Places:  Shawnee Multi-Purpose Center, Sac and Fox Cultural Center in Stroud and First Indian Baptist Church in Cushing

Seats up for election include:

Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma logo
Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma
Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma logo

Principal Chief: 

  • Chris Boyd
  • Angela D. Gasper
  • Lavonda K. Youngman
  • Randle Carter
  • Billy Ray Tiger Jr.

Second Chief:

  • Tyrone Grass
  • Clarissa June Littlehead
  • Audrey Rose Lee
  • Justin Roubideaux

Committee Member:

  • C. Juaquin Hamilton-Youngbird
  • Greg Morris
  • Henry O. Hunter
  • Robert E. Williamson

Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma

Election Date: June 3rd, 2023

Polling Place: Iowa Tribal Grounds, Perkins

Who is Running:


  • Alexandria Harjo
  • Jacob Keyes


  • Judy Barnes
  • Alexandria Gibbs

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Allison Herrera covered Indigenous Affairs for KOSU from April 2020 to November 2023.
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