Cherokee Nation Brings Suit against the United States

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker speaks to more than 1,000 Cherokees and visitors during his inauguration speech Friday.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker

Published November 30, 2016

TAHLEQUAH– The Cherokee Nation filed suit against the federal government on Monday, on claims the United States mismanaged the tribe’s trust fund. The suit asks the U.S. government to provide an accurate accounting of the Cherokee Trust Fund, which includes property, land, funds and other resources the government may have mismanaged over decades.

“There is a strong desire for resolution of these breach of trust issues,” said Bill John Baker, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “This is long overdue, and the Cherokee people are owed their rightful assets and resources. It is my duty as Principal Chief to make sure the United States upholds their promises to our people.”

The Cherokee Nation and the United States entered into numerous treaties and other agreements through which the United States held certain resources in trust for the Cherokee Nation. At times, the U.S. government took unilateral control of the Cherokee Nation’s trust funds, illegally and wrongfully controlling the Cherokee Nation government and mismanaging the tribe’s affairs.

The complaint filed today alleges that the United States did not maintain an adequate accounting or provide the Cherokee Nation with the accountings or audits required under the law. The Cherokee Nation also believes the federal government failed to demonstrate that it exercised control over the receipt and disbursement of funds belonging to the Cherokee people, resulting in uncertainty and losses for the tribe.

Through its claim filed Monday, the Cherokee Nation invokes its right to an accounting, as required by law.

“This legal action is necessary because the United States government managed and controlled the Cherokee Nation’s property but never in hundreds of years provided a full accounting as the law requires,” said Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree.

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