Set of the newly published “Cherokee Nation Code Annotated” at the Tribal Council office at the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah.
Last update to Cherokee Nation Code Annotated occurred more than 20 years ago
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — Cherokee Nation laws are more reader-friendly for the public to search through than ever before thanks to the tribe’s updated and newly published code of laws.
“From the beginning of time to our modern court system, the Cherokee value system is centered on fairness and respect. Our laws regulate life in the Cherokee Nation and strengthen our inherent tribal sovereignty as a government,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “As Cherokee people, this is our government, and I am proud to share our code of laws, which will allow each and every Cherokee citizen to better know and understand our laws and our justice system.”
Last updated in 1994, the third edition of the “Cherokee Nation Code Annotated” contains everything from the Act of Union between Eastern and Western Cherokees through 2012 legislation. The first code of laws was published in 1986. Users thumbing through the old code books from 1994 have complained that the books were confusing and disorganized. The new books are useful to anyone studying, practicing or seeking clarification of Cherokee Nation tribal law.
“The Cherokee Nation has set examples in a number of ways throughout history,” said Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory Jordan. “Creating a tribal code, consistently updating it as needed, providing it through a number of venues and publishing it is a great example to all other tribes across the country and is a strong symbol of Cherokee Nation’s inherent sovereign status recognized by treaty and law.”
The tribal laws have been organized into titles relating to the subject matter of the legislation throughout the publication. The reorganization allows the books to be more user-friendly when researching legislation.
Tribal laws are also not only cross-referenced with the tribe’s constitution and other Cherokee Nation legislation, but also with state of Oklahoma statutes and U.S. government code and regulations.
“This has been a project long in the making and took hundreds of hours to complete. As attorney for the Tribal Council, I began this project years ago and was able to complete it only with the help and resources of the many staff and attorneys of the Attorney General’s office,” said Attorney General Todd Hembree. “It is a prime example of openness and transparency that are the hallmarks of good government. I want to thank Chief Baker for committing the resources necessary to accomplish this task.”
Citizens are able to come in and view the codes for free at various Cherokee Nation offices, including Cherokee First and Tribal Council offices at the W.W. Keeler Complex and the Attorney General’s office and Cherokee Nation Courthouse in downtown Tahlequah. For legislation passed after 2012, visit https://cherokee.legistar.com/Legislation.aspx.