political process should not impede Native American government efforts to assist tribal members. Skeptical that the federal and state governments had an interest in fair and equitable treatment of their tribes, this group, as was true of the other Cherokees and Keetoowahs, believed that many of their society's problems could be solved by dealing with them on the local or tribal level. Hence, messages contained within the advertisements were viewed primarily as campaign rhetoric rather than a focused agenda by the candidates. Nevertheless, the students did believe that even though the candidates presented in the ads were unwilling or incapable of affecting such programs, attention to these issues was important for Native Americans to understand and evaluate the environment in which they lived.
The elders group also recognized the possibility for positive change through tribal action, questioned federal involvement with Native American issues, and brought distinctly identifiable Cherokee attitudes to the conversation. Their discussion of tobacco, addiction, and personal responsibility was often framed through a consideration of how their parents and ancestors had behaved. Traditional Cherokee behavior was identified as a positive role model by members of this group when trying to suggest solutions for the problems they discussed. Consequently, Cherokee history and values were clearly instrumental in how the elders looked at contemporary political candidates and issues. Although this condition was true of all three groups, the Cherokee elders group also displayed the Native American trait of looking to their ancestors for guidance during the course of their discussion.
We are especially grateful to the participants of the focus groups. We are also indebted to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, and Rodney Osborne and Dana Eversole of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, for assisting us in arranging the focus groups. We also thank the Tulsa World and the Tahlequah Times Journal for donating subscriptions of the newspapers to aid in our analysis.