On Friday, May 11, 2012 an initiative petition was filed with the Election Commission of the Cherokee Nation which, if successful, would place a measure on the ballot for a vote of the Cherokee citizens that would eliminate absentee voting except in cases where the voter was active-duty military personnel or could document a disability that would prohibit them from physically casting vote. The citizen filing the petition is Sean Nordwall, and the following day, many reports came in from the Stilwell Strawberry Festival that Nordwall and his parents were circulating the petition. Although my sources indicated that they didn’t see many signatures on the petition, Nordwall later claimed that about 300 signatures had been collected at the event.
Although Nordwall has stated that this is about the people, not the politicians, providing the opportunity for one politician, in particular, to comment may be the whole point of the effort. Saturday morning, immediately after the effort had gone public, a friend of mine was speculating about the real purpose of the petition drive. Their speculation: What if this is really just an effort to provide Chief Bill John Baker, who was not supported by the great majority of At Large voters and about whom deep suspicions remain among that segment of the citizenry, the chance to swing into action as an advocate and “hero” to that group? What if this is all a setup to shine up his image among the At Large voters?
To understand why this kind of speculation about the Chief would enter the minds of people, we need to first understand who Sean Nordwall is. In 2007, Nordwall actually ran for Tribal Council seeking to represent the At Large citizens, but was resoundingly defeated about three-to-one by Tribal Councilor Jack Baker (no relation to the Principal Chief). It is curious that Nordwall now would like to take away the rights of the very people he wanted to represent five years ago. But when we understand his more recent political activities, things become clearer. Click to download document