Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith announced today his nomination for the tribe’s next Supreme Court Justice. Troy Wayne Poteete of Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, will fill the open seat if his nomination is confirmed by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council at their February meeting.
Principal Chief Smith says he feels confident that Poteete will be an outstanding Supreme Court Justice because of his record of service to the Cherokee people, his extensive experience inside the Cherokee Nation government and his deep knowledge of Cherokee history. He describes Poteete as a man of integrity and sound judgment with deep roots in the Cherokee Nation.
“Troy is, simply put, of the Cherokee community,” Smith said, “His tenure working for both the executive and legislative branches of the Cherokee Nation have created a great breadth of knowledge of the tribe, which would be hard to match in another candidate. In fact, it would be hard to find anyone more conversant of the past, present and future of the Cherokee Nation.”
Poteete, a popular two-term Cherokee Nation Tribal Council member from 1991 – 1999 has been active in Cherokee affairs for most of his adult life. His activities have included a long record of service to various Cherokee historical organizations, including successfully serving as the executive director of the Cherokee Historical Society for more than two years and he is presently the national vice-president of the National Trail of Tears Association.
“I was raised on Cherokee history and from my earliest years was fascinated with my Cherokee ancestors, particularly my well-known great-great-great grandfather, Judge Franklin Falkner, who served as a judge in the Cherokee Nation’s Sequoyah District Court during the 1870s and 1880s,” Poteete said.
Poteete earned his juris doctorate from the University of Tulsa College of Law in 2001, and was in private practice until 2005. He is a current member in good standing of the Cherokee Bar Association. He currently serves as executive director of the Arkansas Riverbed Authority, with the responsibility for joint administration with the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations of the tribally owned bed and banks of the Arkansas River between Muskogee and Ft. Smith, Ark. Poteete also brings with him an additional 20 years of experience in the banking and insurance fields.
“Sitting on our Supreme Court is at once a great honor and an awesome responsibility,” said Poteete, “I’m excited about the opportunity to serve in the Judicial Branch of our government. I feel my years in the tribal legislature, particularly as chair of the Rules Committee where we dealt directly with changes to the Cherokee Nation Code, have given me a unique perspective and insight into complex legal issues.”
Former Tribal Council member Barbara Starr-Scott says she is pleased with the Principal Chief’s nominee. “Troy Poteete has a proven record as a strong and independent voice for Cherokee people. He is an excellent choice for the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court,” said Starr-Scott.
The next step in the selection process will be to place the nomination before the Tribal Council for confirmation. That step will happen during the January 25 Rules Committee meeting of the Council, which will take place at 1:00p.m. in the Legislative conference room at the Council House. In order to be confirmed, Poteete will need a simple majority of supporting votes from the Council during the following regularly scheduled Tribal Council meeting. The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council’s meetings are held monthly at the tribal complex south of Tahlequah.