Sep 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

New campaign for Cherokee Nation House delegate

Kim Teehee, who's been picked to serve as that delegate, would represent the Cherokee Nation, show in a screen shot of a video.
Teehee, shown in the video campaign, would be the first delegate. Screenshot courtesy Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation is launching a campaign to force Congress to seat a nonvoting U.S. House delegate, holding them accountable to a 19th-century treaty that has never been honored.

Driving the news: The 1835 Treaty of New Echota, which was signed by then-President Andrew Jackson and ratified by the Senate, promised a nonvoting House delegate to the nation.

  • The treaty then forced the Cherokee Nation to eventually head to Oklahoma, after moving from their ancestral homelands in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. About 4,000 people died along the way.
  • Kim Teehee, a citizen of the nation, was named the tribe's first delegate in 2019 by principal chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. Teehee, if seated, would be able to give House floor speeches and vote in committee, but wouldn’t have the ability to vote on final legislation.

The video campaign is three minutes and eight seconds long and includes the history of the treaty and citizens of the Cherokee Nation, who are in favor of the nation having a delegate. The video is part of the campaign mobilization page cherokeedelegate.com.

  • “The obligation to seat a Cherokee nation delegate is binding today as it was in 1835,” Hoskin said.
  • In the video, Teehee said that while having a delegate would be an honor, what’s more important is that the U.S. will be keeping its word. The video concludes with a note for people to contact their representative.

Flashback: Both Hoskin and Teehee told "Axios on HBO" in December they’re optimistic about having support in Congress. The Native American tribes of Cherokee and Navajo are among the biggest, with an enrollment of about 400,000 each, and they have the ability to vote in local, state and federal elections.

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