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Cherokee Nation seeks help urging Congress to seat a delegate in U.S. House

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We asked citizens of Cherokee Nation one question: What would having a Cherokee Nation delegate in Congress mean to you?

The 1835 Treaty of New Echota forcibly removed the Cherokee from their lands and sent them west on the “Trail of Tears,” where one-quarter of the population perished. But this same treaty also guaranteed Cherokee Nation the right to seat a delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. Watch as Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Delegate-Designee Kim Teehee and Cherokee Nation citizens talk about Congress’s 200-year-old broken promise and why seating the treaty-mandated Cherokee Nation delegate matters now — not just to the Cherokee people, but to all Native Americans.

Visit https://cherokeedelegate.com to take action today.




Oklahomans are being asked to intervene with their lawmakers as the Cherokee Nation pushes Congress again for a treaty-promised delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives.



Teehee


Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. in August 2019 announced Kimberly Teehee would be designated to represent the tribe and its 437,000 citizens in Washington, D.C. Three years later, Congress has yet to approve Teehee as a delegate with the ability to speak on the floor and vote, though only in committee.

“It is past time for the United States government to honor its promise,” Hoskin said in a statement Thursday about the campaign to seat the Cherokee Nation delegate.

Supporters are urged to contact their lawmaker through an online form at cherokeedelegate.com to ask that Congress use the next session to approve the seat for Teehee.

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The campaign will involve grass-roots mobilization, public events and advertising, according to a news release, including a three-minute video with Cherokee citizens encouraging Congress to act.

“Forced removal means all that we had developed in the East, all that wealth, the housing, we had nothing when we came here,” Teehee said in the video. “Look at the time it took for the Cherokee Nation post-removal to rebuild itself. It’s important to Cherokee Nation that Congress seats its delegate to Congress this year.”

Referencing the Trail of Tears, Hoskin said the Cherokee Nation was guaranteed a voice in Congress “in exchange for the sacrifice of our people and our ancestral lands” by the Treaty of New Echota. The treaty was ratified by the Senate in 1836 and signed into law by President Andrew Jackson.

“As a member of the Cherokee Nation, I firmly believe the federal government must honor its trust and treaty responsibilities to Indian Nations. We are only as good as our word,” Oklahoma’s 2nd District U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin said in a statement supporting Teehee’s seat.

Teehee served for three years as President Barack Obama’s senior policy adviser for Native American affairs in the White House Domestic Policy Council. Teehee also served in multiple leadership positions on Capitol Hill, including the bipartisan Native American Caucus in the House of Representatives, and in the Cherokee community. She was named the tribe’s vice president of government relations in 2014.

A campaign spokesman did not respond by press time to requests for details on the public events planned to raise awareness.

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