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Race for chief of Eastern Band of Cherokee pits incumbent versus tribal gaming commission head
CHEROKEE, N.C. (AP) ' The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is electing a new chief to guide the 14,000-member tribe centered in the North Carolina mountains.
Principal Chief Michell Hicks is seeking a third four-year term in the election scheduled for Thursday. He's being challenged by tribal gaming commission director Patrick Lambert. The rematch of the 2007 chief election saw Lambert leading after July's primary election.
The main issues have been economic, especially the debt and profits resulting from operating Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Hotel. Gambling proceeds fund the government and profits are shared with tribe members.
Voters are also choosing six community councils and three school boards.
The Eastern Band is one of two major Cherokee tribal communities in the United States along with the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.