Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. has added an at-large advisory board via Executive Order, the purpose of which is to have active engagement with citizens living outside the Cherokee Nation reservation. Twenty five actively participating at-large organizations are represented by four individuals selected by Chief Hoskin from nominations provided by Community & Cultural Outreach (CCO), as well as at-large tribal councilors. The committee is chaired by CCO Director, ex officio. Each committee member has agreed to represent organizations in their geographic region. They are charged with maintaining organizational leadership contact, providing feedback and questions to the Cherokee Nation, primarily through CCO.
Meet your Committee Members
Patsy lives in our Cherokee homeland, outside of Dahlonega, GA. The Chestatee River, the last boundary of Cherokee Nation East, flows through her back yard. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education and taught for a few years before starting work for the Internal Revenue Service. In 30 years of employment with IRS, she served in a variety of positions from front-line to upper management. The most rewarding assignment was her last, where as a Senior Manager, she was given the opportunity to create an outreach channel for Native Communities to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, tied to asset building programs to improve financial capacity for Native people and their communities. The last time IRS kept records of the results of EITC and VITA promotion in Native communities, this effort brought over $73,000,000 back to Native communities in a single filing season. After retirement, she consulted with different organizations to continue that work. She currently consults for the Oklahoma Native Asset Building Coalition.
Patsy’s deep commitment to the preservation of Cherokee history and culture has spanned decades and stems from a strong desire to connect and contribute to the Cherokee community. She:
- served on the board of the Cherokee National Historical Society (which provided oversight of the Cherokee Heritage Center) for many years. She is now an emeritus board member;
- was founding president of the Georgia Trail of Tears Association chapter and is secretary of the Trail of Tears Association;
- served 2 terms on the Cherokee Nation Education Corporation (now known as the Cherokee Nation Foundation);
- served on the inaugural board of COTTA, the forerunner to Community & Cultural Outreach;
- is active in the Georgia Cherokee Community Alliance and attends Cherokees of Central Florida meetings when possible.
Patsy has a strong interest in strengthening the connection of the Nation with at-large citizens. She applauds efforts to educate at-large citizens in our history and culture and would like to see more education for at-large citizens in how they can help the Cherokee Nation.
Patsy is deeply honored to have been selected by Chief Hoskin to serve on the inaugural At-Large Advisory Committee.
Contact Ms. Edgar at [email protected].
Cynthia M. Ruiz is a Professor, Executive Coach, Best Selling Author, Inspirational Speaker and Leadership Expert. Receiving over 50 accolades and awards for her leadership and service to the community.
She is a registered citizen in the Cherokee Nation and is a Council member of the Los Angeles Cherokee Nation affiliate. Her Cherokee name is “Lion Mother” which she strives to live up to each and every day.
Cynthia currently serves as Commission President for LACERS (Los Angeles City Employee Retirement System) overseeing a multibillion-dollar pension portfolio.
Coming from blended cultures Latina and Native American (Mexican & Cherokee), she enjoys a passion for life and a profound appreciation for Mother Earth.
As a Professor she received the “Presidents Award” from the University of West Los Angeles for her work as an outstanding Professor. Cynthia teaches leadership at both the graduate and undergraduate level in the School of Business. She has over twenty years of experience teaching and public speaking.
Ms. Ruiz received the 2019 Community Leader of the Year Award from Cherokee Nation. Hispanic Lifestyle named her a “2018 Latina of Influence”. She has received the prestigious Hollywood Chamber “Women of Distinction Award, the HOPE “Ray of Hope” award and the Weingart, “Women Building LA Award. Twice the California Apparel News has listed her on their renowned List of Influential People and LA Weekly showcased her in their people addition.
Her career has placed her in many leadership roles including President of the Board of Public Works for the City of Los Angeles where she had direct oversight of 5,000 employees and just under a billion dollar per year budget. She has worked as an Executive at the number one container Port in the US and successfully runs her own business.
Today Cynthia’s focus is developing other leaders through her thriving Executive Coaching business where she helps transform some of LA’s top executives into powerful leaders. She has developed “7 Steps for Team Success” along with many other management tools to help manage a team. Her business model includes pro bono coaching client as a way of investing in the future generations.
Holding a Masters of Science Degree in Counseling from California State University Los Angeles, Ruiz has also completed a Leadership Course at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government.
She has been a trailblazer throughout her career as she has been the first person in her family to attend college and the first Latina/Native American to be President of both LACERS Board and Board of Public Works for the City of Los Angeles.
Cynthia Ruiz knows the importance of giving back and always strives to stay humble. She has a passion for women empowerment and started the
Wise Latina Network and is a co-founder of the Yo Tambien Healing Movement.
Contact Ms. Ruiz at [email protected]
Bruce West is a former spokesperson for the Cherokee’s of Northern Central Valley based out of Sacramento CA. I have recently been selected to be on the committee to represent the At-Large organizations within the Cherokee Nation and look forward to meeting and working with all of you.
Mr. West recently retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons after serving 30 years. During his tenure, he have held many simultaneous positions, primarily serving as a construction and maintenance supervisor, apprenticeship programs coordinator and instructor. In addition to regular duties, Bruce was a special operations response team operator and training instructor for almost 22 years. His experience in such an environment has given him the communication skills to adapt and work with others and truly believe in working on issues as a team.
His Cherokee lineage comes from his great grandmother Callie Landers who was born and raised in the Delaware District and is on the original Dawes Roll. Bruce is a registered Cherokee citizen as well as his brother, sisters and three sons. The Wests, as a family, have always been involved with their Cherokee heritage and culture.
As a recent retiree, Bruce enjoys spending time working on a variety of cultural projects such as soapstone carving and now bow making. In fact he is currently working on his first long bow from a wood stave gifted to him by a Cherokee National Treasure and look forward to sharing the finished product with my family and friends.
Bruce is very excited to represent your organizations and hopes he can be of service to the success of your community. Please, feel free to contact him, anytime.
Bruce is taking Dr. Robert Wood’s position on the advisory board, as Dr. Wood tends to personal matters. We extend an uton wado (big thank you) for his leadership in the Cherokee community, and his participation on this committee. ~Kevin Stretch
Wade McAlister, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the McGovern Medical School, a part of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas. He specializes in knee and shoulder surgery with a focus on joint replacement and sports medicine. He practices at LBJ Hospital, a county hospital serving the uninsured and under-insured residents of Harris County. His grandfather and great grandmother are listed on the Dawes’ Roll. Although Dr. McAlister grew up outside the Cherokee Nation, his father made sure he was raised with special attention to his Cherokee roots. As a child he would read the Cherokee Phoenix and was intrigued by a ceramic copy of the Cherokee Syllabary his father had in his study. Prior to medical school, he taught English as a foreign language in Japan. While there, he educated his Japanese junior high school students about the Cherokee. He returned to Houston after completing his medical training in Lubbock, El Paso, Albany, and New York City and has been active in the local Cherokee community for nearly 20 years. He and his siblings would dance with their father at stomp dances at a local ground before it was destroyed by a hurricane and subsequently sold by its owner. He has served in several Board positions with the Cherokee Citizens League of Southeast Texas for over ten years. Dr. McAlister is honored and humbled to have been selected by Chief Hoskin to serve on the newly created At Large Advisory Board.
Contact Dr. McAlister at [email protected]