Friday, September 27, 2019

UKB writes Congress in opposition to Cherokee Nation congressional appointment

In an interesting turn of events, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians notified Congress in a letter dated September 16th of their opposition to the Cherokee Nation's appointment of Kimberly Teehee as the Cherokee Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.
RE: Cherokee Congressional Delegate; United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians

To whom it may concern:

I write in my capacity as the Attorney General of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, a federally recognized Cherokee tribal government—recognized by Congress in 1946. Act of August 10, 1946, 60 Stat. 976 (Aug. 10, 1946). Recently, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, another Cherokee tribal government—which was not organized until 1976—claimed to appoint Kimberly Teehee as a Cherokee delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The United Keetoowah Band opposes this appointment. The United Keetoowah Band further opposes any Cherokee delegate being seated in the House until such time as the United Keetoowah Band approves the delegate.

The Cherokees’ right to seat a Congressional delegate stems from Article XII of the Treaty with the Cherokee, 1785, which provides “[t]hat the Indians may have full confidence in the justice of the United States, respecting their interests, they shall have the right to send a deputy of their choice, whenever they think fit, to Congress.” Similarly, Article 7 of the Treaty with the Cherokee, 1835 (7 Stat. 438, 443) provides “they shall be entitled to a delegate in the House of Representatives of the United States whenever Congress shall make provision for the same.”

The United Keetoowah Band is the successor to the Cherokee Treaties of 1785 and 1835. If the House seats any Cherokee delegate, it should be only after consultation with and approval of the United Keetoowah Band. If you have any questions or would like to discuss, please contact myself, Chief Joe Bunch, or Assistant Chief Jamie Thompson.

Sincerely,

Klint A. Cowan
[UKB Attorney General]

(click to view larger)

With about 14,000-15,000 enrolled members, the UKB is one of three federally-recognized Cherokee tribes. The other two are the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (10,000-13,000 enrolled) in North Carolina, and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (about 300,000 enrolled members, although this figure varies by the source, with some as low as 280,000 and others as high as 320,000).

Of the Oklahoma branches of the Cherokee, the UKB gained federal recognition first, in 1946. The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma followed in 1976, and there has been tension off and on ever since.

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