TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - Pamela E. Iron, Executive Director of the National Indian Women’s Health Resource Center in Tahlequah, today announced that she is a candidate for the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council District 1 Seat 3.
“Having spent most of my adult life working in Indian health care, I will utilize my knowledge and expertise to improve the lives of all Cherokee people,” Iron said.
Iron brings 34 years of experience to the table having worked throughout the country with states and tribes, urban Indian communities and organizations, the U.S. Indian Health Service and the Cherokee Nation. She has provided administrative and community development services and technical assistance in breast, cervical and comprehensive cancers, and culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS curriculum for American Indian and Alaska Native women and youth.
Iron said her greatest satisfaction has come from her involvement and work in the communities of the Cherokee Nation where she served as the Health Director and Chief of Staff and helped to facilitate the construction of three of the tribe’s health clinics under the late former Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller.
Iron is a founder of three American Indian non-profits, the Indian Health Care Resource Center, an urban Indian health clinic located in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the National Indian Youth Leadership Project, in Gallup, New Mexico; and the National Indian Women’s Health Resource Center, in Tahlequah.
During her career Iron has successfully written and implemented four youth-focused programs to improve health status, self-esteem and preserve Indian culture.
Iron developed a cultural competency workshop that has been presented extensively to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff, State Health Departments and the United States Census Bureau.
“I have always loved working to improve the health and lifestyles of American Indian communities. The Cherokee people deserve a representative who knows how to get things done and I will work tirelessly to bring cutting-edge health programs to them,” she said.
Iron co-authored a book titled, “Strategies for Cultural Competency in Indian Health Care.” She has facilitated nationally and regionally for USIHS and the U.S. Census regarding Indian issues.
Women’s health and safety is close to Iron’s heart.
“I have served on the United States Attorney General’s Violence against Women’s Advisory Committee for two years and was recently appointed to the Section 904 Violence Against Women in Indian Country Task Force by the U.S. Department of Justice,” Iron said.
Iron said she is humbled and grateful for the rich opportunities given her while serving Indian people and asks voters to allow her to continue to do so for the Cherokee Nation.
She vows to uphold the Cherokee Nation Constitution; support and strengthen the Cherokee Nation’s Laws and Codes; and expand programs for elder Cherokee citizens.
Iron said there is a need to strengthen communication to American Indian health consumers regarding new health services like pharmacy mail-out procedures, hours of the W.W. Hastings Hospital Fast Track Clinic, and other changes in how services are delivered.
Iron is the daughter of Mark and Lorell Penoi, granddaughter of the late Eloise Butler Reese, an original enrollee of the Dawes Rolls. Her family is from the Manard area of Cherokee County where the family cemetery and original home was located. She has been a resident of Park Hill and the Tahlequah area for 20 twenty years.
She received her formal education from Oklahoma State University, Tulsa University and Northeastern State University, earning degrees in Speech Pathology and Counseling Services.
Iron said she enjoys the outdoors, swimming, camping, golfing, and hiking as well as participating in cultural activities with her five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.