Tahlequah – The Inauguration of the Chief and the Tribal Council of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma was held on Saturday, January 3 at 10 a.m. at the Herb Rozell Ballroom at Northeastern State University .   Tribal members, dignitaries and the general public, attended the event.

The 2009 UKB Council includes officers: Chief George Wickliffe , Assistant Chief Charles Locust , Tribal Secretary Liz Littledave , and Tribal Treasurer Ella Mae Worley.  The four officers will serve four year terms.

Rounding out the council, the nine  Tribal District Representatives who will serve two year terms are Eddie Sacks, Canadian District; Cliff Wofford, Cooweescoowee District;  Jerry Hansen, Delaware District; Woodrow Proctor, Flint District; Joyce Fourkiller Hawk, Goingsnake District; Barbara Girty, Illinois District; Charles Smoke, Saline District; Barry Dotson, Sequoyah District;  and Betty Holcomb, Tahlequah District.

After the tribal council were sworn in, Chief George Wickliffe gave his inaugural address.  In one portion of his address, he said, “We are seeing good things, good things are happening, good things are going to happen. When we were here four years ago, I said: ‘Let’s tell people who we are…Let’s tell them the real Cherokee History’. The people at Kenwood, when I was growing up, asked me to get an education, and then, tell the people who the Cherokee People really are. I got an education in history and a lot of other related fields. And it’s always been my purpose to do all the research I can do so that I can tell Washington who the Cherokee Keetoowah person or Indian is. He is a Cherokee and that’s the first thing we tell those guys in Washington . When we go in to have a meeting with the high officials in Washington , I always try to have two or three people with me that speak Cherokee. We speak Cherokee, we go in to those offices with them and we are speaking Cherokee, but we never laugh. Cherokees are laughing people because they joke with one another all the time (Spoken in Cherokee)…but when we are in Washington we are serious. And then those people will say you guys are different, you’re different. We are. We’re the real Cherokee people. We’re the real traditional people. We are still fighting for our traditions, our language and our culture and we will always do that.

There is one thing I never forget… back in 1859, I believe it was, when they formed the Keetoowah Society and then the Keetoowah Nighthawk later in 1889, when they came together. We said that we will hold hands together until we shall all fall dead, preserving our language, our culture, our traditions. I will never forget that and I will always live that way as long as I live. Because the people I come from did and I will never let them down.

 The large audience enjoyed performances by the Ballou Sisters, the Keetoowah Cherokee Youth Choir and the Cherokee Baptist Choir.  Following the ceremony, the tribe hosted a reception.  After these festivities concluded, the Keetoowah Cherokee tribal council held their regular January council meeting at the UKB Elder Center beginning at 1 p.m..