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S. Joe Crittenden
Acting Principal Chief
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA - With the special election to determine the next Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation still over a month away, S. Joe Crittenden will be sworn in officially as the next Deputy Principal Chief of the Tribe this coming Sunday, August 14th. Simultaneously, Crittenden will become Acting Principal Chief because by tribal constitution, Principal Chief Chad Smithâ€™s term expires. The special election will happen on September 24.
This historic turn in events is due to the fact that the June 25 election to elect the Principal Chief was thrown out by the Cherokee Supreme Court. The high court cited the lack of ability to determine results from the election "with mathematical certainty or to certify a successful candidate for the Office of Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation."
Crittenden will also take office as Acting Principal Chief until a new election for that office can be held and a winner certified. Crittenden will deliver a commitment address focusing on "Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reason." When Crittenden is sworn in as Principal Chief, it will leave a vacancy in the Deputy Principal Chief's office, which according to Cherokee Nation's Constitution is to be filled by the Speaker of the Council.
"For the first time in the history of the Cherokee Nation, the Deputy Chief will be sworn in before the Principal Chief," said the Deputy Principal Chief Elect S. Joe Crittenden.
"Since the citizens of the Cherokee Nation have not yet elected a Principal Chief, the powers of the Principal Chief will devolve to me, in accordance with our Constitution, and I will serve as the interim Principal Chief until the election is held and a Principal Chief is inaugurated. It is a testament to the stability of the government of our great Nation that we can have a smooth and peaceful transition under these unusual circumstances even while the candidates for Principal Chief continue spirited campaigns," said Crittenden.
"I am humbled that the responsibility for serving as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation has fallen on my shoulders. I promise to work hard and put the needs of the Cherokee people first. My primary goal will be to keep the Nation moving forward and ensure that the citizens continue to receive services without interruption. Thank you for your support. I pray that God will bless my term as Principal Chief and bless the Cherokee Nation," he continued.
Crittenden graduated from Stilwell High School in 1962. A veteran of the United States Navy, he served from 1964 through 1967, including active duty in Vietnam. He graduated from Northeastern State University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and accounting. He was employed with the US Postal Service for more than 25 years, and served as postmaster for the Stilwell Post Office until his retirement in 2004.
Crittenden is a life-long resident of Adair County. He has been married to his wife, Lynda, for 42 years.
posted August 11, 2011 6:15 am edt
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