Flags are flying at half-staff at Cherokee Nation. Chief Smith’s mother passed away unexpectedly at the age of 87. Smith took time to put a couple of statements on his Facebook page.
In one, straight from the heart soon after her passing, he wrote: “She struck her head when she fell backward helping another elderly lady. She passed at 3:45 today from the injury. Her life was helping others so it was fitting at the age of 87 to die trying to save someone else. I adored her.”
Later, he added a message from his family:
“My brothers and I, along with our family, are privately mourning the loss of my mother, who passed away earlier today. We’re reflecting on the love she gave us, the lessons she taught us, and how she always treated others kindly and with respect. We ask for your thoughts and prayers as I leave political posturing to others and take a time out from being Chief and candidate to instead be a grieving son. Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers during this very private, family time.”
It might be a while before we see or here from Smith on the campaign trail, and that makes sense. There are some experiences that are both unpleasant and universal, and Smith is having one of those right now. This is an opportunity for Cherokees to show respect for their current Chief, even as they may disagree about who the next chief should be.