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Eastern Cherokee citizens support chief amid call for impeachment

Principal Chief Patrick Lambert of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Photo: Patrick Lambert

Citizens of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians came together for a historic grand council in North Carolina this week to defend their leader amid a pending impeachment proceeding.

In a series of votes on Tuesday, citizens expressed their support for Principal Chief Patrick Lambert. They called on the tribe's legislative body to withdraw impeachment charges against Lambert and cancel an impeachment hearing.

“The People have spoken! Today was a historic day for our Tribe,” Lambert wrote on Facebook after the vote. “Today we held the first Grand Council for our People in over 20 years!”

But the tribal council did not heed the directives. Lawmakers met in a special session on Wednesday, rejected a motion to withdraw the impeachment charges, rejected another motion to recognize the outcome of the grand council and scheduled a new impeachment hearing on May 2.

The council was originally going to start the hearing on Thursday, April 20. But Chairman Bill Taylor said the new date was required because a tribal court judge ordered a 10-day stay in the proceedings.

Lambert is challenging the proceedings in tribal court but was denied a request for an injunction. He has since taken the case to the the Cherokee Supreme Court.

Lambert, who took office in October 2015, is being accused of interfering with the tribal council, refusing to carry out the council's orders and violating tribal laws.

Read More on the Story:
Court stays Impeachment Hearing, Council sets new date (The Cherokee One Feather 4/19)
Grand Council: Halt impeachment proceedings (The Cherokee One Feather 4/19)
Cherokee Grand Council votes to keep chief, Tribal Council votes to impeach him (WLOS 4/19)
Grand Council votes to keep Lambert (The Smoky Mountain Times 4/19)
Unstable ground: Complex questions surround upcoming Cherokee impeachment process (The Smoky Mountain News 4/19)
Governmental crisis in Cherokee: Impeachment hearing scheduled for Chief Lambert (The Smoky Mountain News 4/12)