New Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Calls for a Cherokee Nation Delegate to Congress

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

Published August 17, 2019

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Citing the 1835 Treaty of New Echota, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., is proposing that the tribe appoint a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sworn-in on Wednesday, Hoskin spent little time making his move. On Thursday, Hoskin sent a letter to the speaker of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, to request a special meeting of the council later this month to consider confirming Kimberly Teehee as the 370,000-citizen tribe’s delegate to Congress.

Tehee previously served from 2009 to 2012 in the Obama White House as a senior policy adviser for Native American affairs. After obtaining her law degree, Tehee was an advisor to then Rep. Dale Kilee (D-Michigan).

Currently, Tehee serves as the Cherokee Nation’s vice president of government relations.

Kim Tehee with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

“At Cherokee Nation, we are exercising our treaty rights and strengthening our sovereignty,” Hoskin said. “The announcement next week is simply the first step in a long process, having a Cherokee Nation citizen seated as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. We are eager to work with our congressional delegation from Oklahoma to move this historic appointment forward.”

It’s not clear what steps Congress might take to accommodate a Cherokee Nation delegate, but it’s likely they would be a non-voting member, similar to those from American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington D.C., said Ezra Rosser, an expert in tribal law and a professor at American University’s College of Law, told the Associated Press.

The provision on the Treaty of New Echota has never been exercised.

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