Opinion | Politics

Mary Grayson: Cherokee Nation race loses only female candidate

Cherokee Nation council member Cara Cowan Watts. Photo from campaign site

Mary Grayson wonders whether gender played a role in the withdrawal of Cara Cowan Watts from the race for principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma:
Was it an affair made public by a scorned lover? Was it a corrupt scandal leaving voters questioning her ethical standards and moral compass? Or could it have been her credentials and years of experience in tribal governance that caused the only female candidate running in 2015 for Chief of the Cherokee Nation to suddenly, and without warning, drop out. Of course it was none of the above, so what exactly was the impetus that made this candidate, forego a political campaign that was over a year in the making?

Judging by the looks of the candidate pool now, it seems not a lack of capabilities or even support stopped this contender. The simple and transparent fact that this candidate was a female seems to have precluded her ending before the race even began to shift its gears.

She was the only woman running amidst a dense fog of patriarchal egos; and a vendetta face-off fit to parody a House of Cards script. One could argue, this would-be dog fight that all registered Cherokee voters will see in the coming months, was not fit for a lady no matter how intellectually capable or organizationally qualified she was to be Chief.

Several candidates have thrown their hat into the ring, including incumbents, some being incumbents three times over, and a husband of a former Chief, as well as fresh leadership coming from the from the outside, and now they have one thing in common: they are all men.

Get the Story:
Mary Grayson: Gender Deposes Another Suitable Leader (Indian Country Today 4/1)

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Cherokee Nation chief faces at least four challengers in election (02/27)

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