David Comingdeer – Chief of Echota Ground in Cherokee County
David Comingdeer is the Chief of Echota Ground in Cherokee County and holds his position with great reverence for Cherokee culture. For him, it is more of a cultural honor than political one.
He filed a lawsuit against the tribe in 2016, alleging retaliation for reporting mismanagement of a fire protection grant. A jury awarded him $615,000, according to KTUL.
Early Life and Education
David Comingdeer has dedicated his life to improving the lives of others for 47 years. A father of four and grandfather of six, he has served as Chief of Echota Ground in Cherokee County for 17 years – an honorary lifetime appointment based on merit, leadership and service to his tribe.
He is a cultural protector who advocates for the continuation of Cherokee traditions and language to future generations. When Park Hill’s Cherokee Heritage Center faced destruction due to a wildfire, he led a team of federal firefighters in rebuilding 14 structures. Additionally, he has been named a Cherokee National Treasure for his skill in stick-making – the primary equipment used in playing stickball – and is running for election to the Cherokee council in 2021.
Since 2009, David Comingdeer has been teaching business, management and leadership classes at the college level. His professional interests span across health care, operations, information management, law and policy, ethics as well as organizational behavior.
Chief Echota Ground in Cherokee County is responsible for safeguarding and maintaining their cultural traditions through education and community outreach. Furthermore, he is one of the most talented stick-makers in America, earning him recognition as a Cherokee National Treasure for his proficiency with sticks used in stickball – an award which earned him lifetime appointment as Cherokee National Treasure. Currently serving on the board of directors at Cherokee Heritage Center, his passion and dedication have earned him this prestigious title.
Achievement and Honors
David Comingdeer, a Cherokee Nation citizen, is an expert craftsman when it comes to creating stickball sticks from hickory. In 2014 he was recognized with a Cherokee National Treasure award for his efforts.
He’s held the honor of serving as Chief of Echota Ground for 17 years, a lifetime appointment based on merit and service to his tribe. While that carries with it great responsibility, it doesn’t stop him from learning more about his heritage and culture that has been passed down for generations. A member of Cherokee Women’s Pocahontas Club, he shares his enthusiasm for their cultural legacy with family members and fellow tribal members alike. Additionally, he’s an ardent firefighter who takes great pride in what he does; recently in news headlines for being denied election due to still outstanding attorney fees and costs from an earlier Supreme Court case.
David Comingdeer has dedicated his 47 years as a member of the Cherokee Nation to improving the lives of his people. A father of four and grandfather of six, he has held the chiefship of Echota Ground in Cherokee County for 17 years – an appointment that rewards merit over politics; a lifetime appointment based on service to the tribe.
His career as a firefighter for the Cherokee Nation saw him battle wildfires across 22 states and 12 tribal jurisdictions. In 2009, he and seven of his firefighting rangers carried the ceremonial torch over 170 miles from North Carolina to Tennessee. Additionally, he led an effort that rebuilt 14 structures by hand at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill south of Tahlequah.