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The Cherokee Nation wants a representative in Congress



The move raises questions about what representation in Congress will look like and whether the US will honor an agreement made nearly two centuries ago.

Here's what's at stake.

The Cherokee Nation's right to appoint a delegate derived from the same treaty used by the US government to try to remove the tribe from its ancestral lands.

As a result of the 1835 Treaty of The New Echota, the Cherokee was able to move out of their Southeast homes for present-day Oklahoma in exchange for money and other payments. Nearly 4,000 members of the tribe died from illness, hunger and fatigue on the journey now known as the Trail of Tears.

A delegate to the House of Representatives is one of the ways the U.S. government has promised to pay the Cherokee Nation. [1

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So why are the tribes only accepting offers today?

Ezra Rosser, a law professor at American University, told CNN that the United States government has long been hard at work for tribes to exercise the rights conferred on them. But today, the tribes assert themselves in a way that demands the attention of non-Native Americans. Rosser said. "To me, it is not surprising that this will need to be deepened during self-determination for the tribes that are in a position to assert some of these rights."

Hoskin shouted the sentiment, telling CNN that "the Cherokee Nation is now in a position of strength that I think is unprecedented in its history."

Why is it important?

  The flags of Oklahoma, the United States and the Cherokee Nation fly behind a statue of Lady Liberty in the Cherokee Capitol Square in Tahlequah.
Having a delegate to the Chamber will fundamentally change the relationship between the US government and the Cherokee Nation, Rosser wrote in a 2005 article for the Boston University Public Interest Law Journal.

So far, the federal government and Native American tribes have largely operated as two sovereign nat ions interacting with one another, Rosser said. Representatives in the Chamber will join the Cherokee Nation in the US government itself.

The two other Cherokee tribes recognized by the federal government were the United Keetoowah Band in Oklahoma, with 14,000 members, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina, with 16,000 members. It is unclear whether they will have the same right to appoint a delegate.

What power does a delegate have?

The agreement did not specify whether the Cherokee Nation delegate would be a vote. member of the legislature. But Hoskin said the position could look something like non-voting members representing Washington, DC, and five U.S. territories. , and the delegates certainly gave the territories an idea of ​​what could be done in Congress, "he said;" data-src-mini = "// cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets /190124175236-01-deb-haaland-small-169.jpg "data-src-xsmall =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190124175236-01-deb-haaland-medium-plus-169. jpg "data-src-small =" http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190124175236-01-deb-haaland-large-169.jpg "data-src-medium =" // cdn. cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190124175236-01-deb-haaland-exlarge-169.jpg "data-src-large =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190124175236-01-deb -haaland-super-169.jpg "data-src-full16x9 =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190124175236-01-deb-haaland-full-169.jpg "data-src-mini1x1 = "//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190124175236-01-deb-haaland-small-11.jpg" data-demand-load = "not-loaded" data-eq-pts = "mini: 0 , xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781 "src =" data: image / gif; base64, R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP /////// wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAQAAkAAAIKlI + py + 0Po5yUFQA7 "/>

There are currently six non-voting members in the Chamber. The Washington D.C. and four permanent residents of U.S. territories – American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands – are represented by a delegate, serving a two-year term. Puerto Rico is served by a resident commissioner, who is elected every four years.

Those representatives may not vote on the floor of the Chamber, but they may vote on the committees they are, introduce legislation and engage in debate. Hoskin said he hopes the Cherokee Nation delegation will help advance the interests of the tribe and, more broadly, all Native Americans.

Who will be the tribal delegate? serve as Cherokee delegate.

He is currently the vice president of the tribe's government relations, and previously worked as a senior policy advisor on Native American affairs for three years under President Barack Obama. For the 12 years before that, Teehee was a senior advisor to Dale Kildee, then a Democratic congressman from Michigan.

What's the next step?

First, Teehee was to be confirmed by the tribal council of the Cherokee Nation at a special meeting on August 29.

Then Congress would have to take legislative action, Hoskin said. The tribe plans to continue its talks with Oklahoma House representatives and begin making ideas about what that law will look like.

"This is going to be a process that I think is going to be a long time, but it is one we are ready to take," Hoskin said.

Will there be any objection to the transfer?

Maybe.

There is reason to believe that the US may not recognize its agreement with the Cherokee Nation. In the past, the Supreme Court has upheld a law that violates US treaties with the nation's tribes, according to Rosser. tribal members are more representative of Congress than non-aboriginal US citizens.

Rosser said it was probable that the Cherokee Nation's appointment could face resistance from other tribes, especially those who were also forced out of their lands but were not given their own delegation by agreement.

Other tribes may argue that a delegate for the Cherokee Nation is threatening their own relations with the US government, according to Rosser. The Cherokee Nation delegation could end up being the de facto voice in Congress for all the tribes of the country, raising fears that the delegation could favor the Cherokee Nation at the expense of other tribes.

"I can boil it for Congress," he said. "Does Congress intend to keep its word to the Cherokee people? If the answer is yes, then Ms. Teehee will sit down."


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