Action: Cherokee Representative to Congress

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Our partnerships make us strong, so I’m excited to announce a new collaboration between the Lakota People’s Law Project and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. We’ve been invited by Cherokee Chief Charles Hoskin to work with his tribe to push Congress to honor a promise made in treaties to the Cherokees, first in 1785 and then repeatedly afterwards. The pledge was to appoint a non-voting Cherokee Nation delegate to the House of Representatives. 

Please add your voice by sending a message to your representatives demanding a Cherokee delegate in Congress. The Cherokee representative would be identical to those for American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While the delegate would not have a right to vote on proposed legislation, s/he would have floor privileges and be able to vote in a committee of which s/he is a member and thereby introduce legislation.

Watch the video featuring Chief Hoskin Jr. on the long standing quest of the Cherokee Nation to hold Congress to its promise to seat a delegate; above is Kimberly Teehee, the Cherokee Nation’s chosen representative.

The Cherokee Nation is a federally recognized Indian tribe with more than 385,000 citizens across the country that spans almost 7,000 square miles in northeastern Oklahoma.

The Cherokee Nation’s right to a congressional delegate is affirmed by all three of the tribe’s federal treaties: the 1785 Treaty of Hopewell, the 1835 Treaty of New Echota, and the Treaty of 1866. The Treaty of New Echota states that:

“The Cherokee Nation, having already made great progress in civilization… shall be entitled to a delegate in the House of Representatives of the United States…”

The only thing needed for the delegate to be appointed is for the House Appropriations Committee to pass the measure and for the full House of Representatives to then vote yes.

In 2019, Chief Hoskin selected Kimberly Teehee as the congressional delegate for his tribe. She earned a JD from the University of Iowa College of Law, and she served as senior policy advisor for Native American affairs in the administration of President Barack Obama. In February of 2020, she was named by Time Magazine as one of sixteen leading activists fighting for a “More Equal America.” She also served as the first deputy director of Native American Outreach for the Democratic National Committee and director of Native American outreach for President Bill Clinton’s 1997 inauguration. 

Change comes one step at a time. We here at the Lakota People’s Law Project will always push for the sovereignty and empowerment of Native citizens. If you haven’t already, please send a letter to your federal representatives backing the inclusion of a Cherokee Nation delegate in Congress!

Wopila tanka — thank you for your friendship and active support.
Shaun Little Horn
Social Media and Marketing Specialist
The Lakota People’s Law Project