A Cherokee Nation citizen and former tribal councilor has reportedly asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to investigate and nullify results of the Cherokee Nation principal chief election that occurred in June.
According to the Tulsa World, former CN Tribal Councilor Cara Cowen Watts sent a three-page letter to the federal government Wednesday, asking for an investigation into the principal chief election involving newly sworn-in Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., former District 3 Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick, and former District 12 Tribal Councilor Dick Lay.
The report indicates Watts believes there is evidence of misconduct by the Cherokee Nation Election Commission and the Attorney General's Office, and that Walkingstick's disqualification - which was upheld in the tribe's Supreme Court in May - has violated the rights of Cherokee citizens.
The BIA does approve election laws during the year of a principal chief race, but it does not create the laws and has told the World it doesn't have any authority to intervene with the tribe's election results.
"Any disputes of election for principal chief would be handled internally in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Cherokee Nation," BIA spokeswoman Nedra Darling told the Tulsa World.
Watts reportedly said that almost 1,000 signatures were collected for her petition to the BIA. Watts also was a candidate for the June 1 tribal election, as she lost to incumbent District 14 Tribal Councilor Keith Austin.
Although Walkingstick has said in the past that he wanted the BIA to oversee the election, he did not sign the petition.
Watts could not be reached by press time. Walkingstick declined to comment on the petition.