19 January 2004
The tribal council that matters
In 1999, the Cherokee Nation held a constitutional convention, the tribe's first since 1976. That was the easy part.
For the next three years, a translator worked to port the resulting document from English into the Cherokee language.
Now comes the task of getting the constitution approved by the President of the United States, or by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on his behalf, as required by the previous Cherokee constitution. The tribe has passed an amendment to delete the Federal vetting requirement, but the BIA is balking.
Eventually, I suspect, the BIA will come around. And one of the provisions of the constitution allows the Cherokee Nation to send a non-voting delegate to Congress, which should be interesting.
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