A Kansas University law professor is in the running to become leader of the 260,000-member Cherokee Nation.
Stacy Leeds, who directs KU's Tribal Law and Government Center, as well as the Center for Indigenous Nations Studies, announced her candidacy earlier this month to become principal chief of the Tahlequah, Okla.-based nation.
In 2002, Leeds became the first female justice to sit on the Cherokee Nation's Supreme Court. But if Leeds is elected principal chief, she wouldn't be the first woman to have that job: Wilma Mankiller was elected to two terms starting in the mid-1980s.
Leeds, who is on a partial leave from KU this semester, said she must run two separate campaigns: one inside the tribe's 14-county jurisdiction in northeastern Oklahoma and another that reaches all the members of the nation who are scattered around the world. She anticipates spending much of her time on the road between now and the June 23 election.
So far, she's the only candidate to officially file for the office, but the deadline for filing isn't until March 5.