Sixteen of the 28 seats on the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma General Council are up for grabs in Saturday’s election. The other 12 seats have either already been decided by default or will be decided subsequently because fewer than two candidates filed for the election.
The General Council is comprised of two representatives from each of the tribe’s 14 bands. For the July 10 election, eight bands feature competitive races where more than two people filed to represent their band on the council. Six other bands had only two candidates — or fewer — file for the council seats.
Band members elect their council representatives every four years, with the top two candidates in each band elected by receiving a plurality of votes. There are no runoff elections for council seats. If bands do not have two candidates on the ballot, representatives will subsequently be nominated from within the band to fill the vacant seats.
More Seminole Nation Election Day info
Election Day is Saturday, July 10. In-person voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at five polling locations, and voting is open to all Seminole Nation of Oklahoma citizens over age 18. Voters will need to bring an official tribal, state or federal photo ID to cast a ballot in person, according to the tribe’s website.
The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma is headquartered in Wewoka, and its tribal jurisdiction encompasses Seminole County. The Seminole Nation’s historic reservation was affirmed by an Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals decision earlier this year following the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma.
The following details about the candidates for the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma’s General Council were gathered from publicly available online sources. Some meetings of the tribe’s General Council are archived on YouTube. Formed in December 2018, a private Facebook group for Seminole Nation citizens was “created to share any and all information good and bad” and features more than 1,000 members.
The candidates are presented by band, with the eight bands featuring competitive races — Dosar Barkus, Eufaula, Fushutche, Hecete, Hvteyicvlke, Nurcup Harjo, Thomas Palmer, Tusekia Harjo — listed first.
Dosar Barkus Band
The Dosar Barkus Band — one of two Seminole Nation freedmen bands — is comprised of descendants of the slaves of John Jumper, a Seminole Nation chief who served from 1849 to 1865 and again from 1882 to 1885. Dosar Barkus took over leadership of the band in 1898.
Four candidates are seeking the band’s two seats:
- Anastasia Pittman is an incumbent band representative who maintains an active Facebook page. Pittman represented northeast Oklahoma City in the Oklahoma State Senate from 2014 to 2018 and in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014.
- Terry Loy Edwards is the other incumbent representative for the Dosar Barkus Band. Edwards does not appear to have an online presence.
- Patrick Thomas is a former councilmember of the Dosar Barkus Band whose personal Facebook page features the occasional rant about Pittman, Seminole Chief Greg Chilcoat and others.
- Sylvia Mae Davis is also a former councilmember of the Dosar Barkus Band who has either a private or inactive Facebook page. Davis and Thomas are Facebook friends, and in Thomas’ June 15 Facebook post, he made reference to past drama involving their alleged consumption of marijuana during a meeting.
The Eufaula Band has historical connections to the Thomas Palmer Band.
Five candidates — none of whom is an incumbent — are seeking the band’s two seats:
- An imposing athletic figure, Chaparne Tom Harjo maintains a Facebook page that is largely devoted to playing stickball.
- Ida Lorraine Gonzales does not appear to maintain an online presence.
- Manuel George Harjo also does not appear to maintain an online presence.
- Nakina Marie DiDonna maintains a personal Facebook page largely devoted to supporting the Every Child Matters movement and advocating on behalf of missing and murdered Indigenous women. A February 2019 Facebook post notes her as assistant band chief.
- Nancy Lou B Fixico also does not appear to maintain an online presence, but the same 2019 post notes that she was replaced as a council representative.
Four candidates are seeking the band’s two seats:
- Timothy R. Hooper is an incumbent councilmember who does not appear to maintain an online presence.
- David Wayne Narcomey maintains an active Facebook page that lists him as a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and a retired medical professional.
- Emet Leon Petete does not appear to maintain an online presence.
- Tamara Yvonne Downey also does not appear to maintain an online presence.
- Does not appear to have a social media, nor an online presence.
The Hecete Band lived in southern Georgia and northern Florida before settling in the northern part of Seminole territory.
Five candidates are seeking the band’s two seats:
- Patricia A. Kishketon is one of the band’s incumbent councilmembers. She shares tribal news and other community resources on her personal Facebook page.
- Anita Kay Lena is the band’s other incumbent councilmember whose personal Facebook page is either private or lacking in details.
- Delois Harjo is a receptionist and administrative assistant for the tribe, according to her personal Facebook page.
- Joseph D. Billie does not appear to maintain an online presence.
- Meske Taryn Davis has a campaign Facebook page featuring one post that briefly outlines her platform. If elected, she said “there will be a Hecete Band Facebook group to gather input, and to keep you up to date.”
Hvteyicvlke (Newcomer) Band
Also called the Newcomer Band, the Hvteyicvlke Band were the last band to arrive from Florida during the time that Indian removal was the official policy of the U.S. federal government.
Three candidates are seeking the band’s two seats:
- Dena Jean Tiger Kloehr is one of the band’s incumbent councilmembers. In a Facebook post Thursday, she detailed her family history, outlined her commitments and described herself as a “fair” representative who worked for 30 years in health care.
- Karen Therese Fullbright is the band’s other incumbent councilmember who maintains a personal Facebook page that features little biographical information. Her LinkedIn profile notes that she has been on the Seminole Nation General Council since 2002 and has worked as an administrative assistant in the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
- Ann Janette Borba has worked in education for more than 30 years. On her Facebook page, she has posted endorsements of Lewis Johnson for chief. On June 25, she also posted blurry cell phone video of an altercation involving law enforcement during a tribal meeting. She described the scene as “a general council member, elected by his band when he tried to get (Greg) Chilcoat removed as chief.”
Nurcup Harjo Band
The Nurcup Harjo Band, also known as the Tamathi, was a part of the Appalachicola Tribe of northern Florida and reached Indian Territory in 1838.
Four candidates are seeking the band’s two seats:
- Lottie Mae Coody is one of the band’s incumbent councilmembers who does not appear to maintain an online presence.
- Marilyn Moore is one the band’s other incumbent councilmember who also does not appear to maintain an online presence.
- Andrea Lynn Scraper does not appear to maintain an online presence.
- Christine Sue McKinney appears to have multiple dormant Facebook pages of varying ages. One page says that she works in behavioral health at the Kickapoo Tribal Health Center.
Thomas Palmer Band
One of the largest bands of the Seminole Nation, the Thomas Palmer Band was led by Pascofa in the 17th century. Pascofa was called the “Scourge of Florida” by the Florida Territory newspapers owing to the fearless reputation of his warriors.
In Indian Territory, the Thomas Palmer Band joined the Eufaula Band, but continued to be led separately by Pascofa.
Four candidates — none of whom is an incumbent — are seeking the band’s two seats:
- Danita Gay Holata-Harjo works at the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, according to her campaign Facebook page. One post states that she is “far surpassing expectations of what a good leader should be like.”
- Letha Wise has a personal Facebook page that does not appear to reference her campaign.
- Misty Dawn Powell, who worked for the tribe from October 2010 to April 2021, maintains an active Facebook page. In a post from July 3, she outlines her platform.
- Tiffany Cully is a former councilmember of the Tom Palmer Band. In a June 24 Facebook post, she highlighted a screenshot of a supporter endorsing her for the Tom Palmer council seats. Cully maintains an active Facebook page.
Tusekia Harjo Band
The Tusekia Harjo Band is the largest band in the Seminole Nation. The band fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and was removed to what is now Seminole County afterward.
Four candidates are listed on the Seminole Nation’s election website as seeking the band’s two seats, however the tribe’s communications director said that Austin Kade Blythe‘s candidate filing was disqualified.
The remaining candidates are:
- Regina Maud Lankford is one of the band’s incumbent councilmembers and does not appear to maintain an online presence.
- Desiray A Emerton served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force, according to a post outlining her platform on her Facebook page. “If elected I promise to ask questions when needed and to stand strong on the vote of the band decisions,” the July 7 post says.
- Willis Eugene Deatherage is chairman of the Seminole Nation Gaming Agency, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has held that position since 2011, according to a Seminole Nation Facebook post from 2019. For those with an online subscription to the Seminole Producer, a May 5 article discussed Deatherage’s candidacy.
The following six bands have either selected their two representatives by default or will nominate representatives at a later date because only one or no candidate filed for the council:
- Caesar Bruner Band
- Ceyvha Band
- Mekusukey Band
- Ocese Band
- Rewalke Band
- Tallahassee Band
Caesar Bruner Band
The Caesar Bruner Band — one of two Seminole Nation freedmen bands — is named after Caesar Bruner, their first band chief. Bruner was born in Florida around 1813 and was forced to Indian Territory during the Trail of Tears, where Bruner Town was formed.
Incumbents Anthony Vernell Conley and Le-Etta Osborne-Sampson will retain their seats as the only two candidates to file.
The Ceyvha Band will nominate their General Council representatives from within the band, as no candidates filed.
Stephany Ann Lambert is the only candidate to file for the Mekusukey Band, so she will win her seat. Former Mekusukey Band Chief, Sena Yesslith, vacated her seat to run for chief. Should Yesslith lose her bid for chief, she is eligible to retain her council seat, as there are no other candidates.
One of the smallest bands today, the Rewahle Band migrated to Indian Territory in 1836. Led by Band Chief Kowa Rakko, the Rewahle traveled by steamboat up the Gulf of Mexico to Little Rock, Arkansas, before traveling by wagons to Indian Territory.
The Rewalke Band will nominate their General Council representatives from within, as no candidates filed.
The Tallahassee Band originated in northern Florida in the late 1700s. The Seminole wars caused many of their band members to be removed to Indian Territory. The band still remains one of the largest in the Seminole Nation.
Father and daughter incumbents Charlie Hill and Kathrine Marie McCoy will retain their seats in the Tallahassee Band, as they were the only two candidates who filed.