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Walkingstick, a native of Tahlequah, was raised in the Woodall community and is the son of DeAnn and the late Delbert Walkingstick. His father was the first chief of the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service. He is an alumnus of Sequoyah High School, where he was the first All-State basketball player and member of the first Sequoyah basketball team ever to qualify for the state basketball tournament.

Walkingstick, 38, graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Art degree in science. He played collegiate basketball and holds a master's degree in school administration from East Central University.

Walkingstick has served as a tribal councilor since 2011, and as the chairman of the Education Committee since 2013.

His position as education chairman has given him the opportunity to make a direct impact on the funding that goes toward helping Cherokee students achieve a better education, a high priority of his.

"I am running for principal chief to chart a new course for the Cherokee Nation, and some of my major focuses will be increasing transparency within the administration, getting to the bottom of any corruption that has taken place by Cherokee officials, bringing money back to tribal members rather than to outside interests, and always being fully accessible to the citizens of the Cherokee Nation," he said.

He said his convictions in running this race are based on the thought that Cherokees have lost their identity as a tribe.

"We measure our tribe off of its wealth instead of how many people we have helped," he said. "We desperately need strong, honest leadership that will take the Nation out of the hands of people who have profited from the Nation to the detriment of the people. We must turn back to a time when Cherokees helped Cherokees, instead of non-Cherokees getting the benefit of our prosperity. My administration will work diligently to bring in a new era of transparency, root out corruption, and give the Nation back to the people."

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