The Cherokee Nation is calling on Congress to honor the commitment made by the U.S. government in the 1800s to seat a non-voting delegate from the Cherokee Nation in the House of Representatives.
Cherokee Nation citizen Kim Teehee has been chosen as the delegate.
Rhonda LeValdo recently spoke with Teehee about a national campaign started by the Oklahoma tribe to get her seated.
The government and the Cherokee Nation reached an agreement through a treaty nearly 200 years ago that committed a Cherokee delegate – a seat in the House. The Senate ratified it, and President Andrew Jackson signed it into law.
The tribe says the longstanding agreement does not expire.
This fall, the Cherokee Nation, its citizens, and its allies mobilized across the country to call on Congress to act during this session before Congress adjourns in December.
Teehee spoke on the efforts to do that.
“We’ve had a lot of questions and we’ve had to go back deep into historical documents, federalist papers, to answer questions, but we have not heard opposition. We’ve just heard a lot of questions and that thankfully we’re being asked, and we’re being afforded the opportunity to respond to.”
Teehee also talked about her priorities for the Cherokee Nation like adequate funding for services, infrastructure, broadband, but also to take action on a language bill to help preserve Native languages.
“Language perservation is a huge priority. We have a bill pending in Congress now called the Durbin Feeling Native American Languages Act, and it’s named for the late-Durbin Feeling who was what we call our modern day Sequoia who revitalized and enhanced all the language preservation efforts we do today.
Teehee has served as the tribe’s vice president of government relations and was a senior policy advisor for Native American affairs during the Obama administration.
A House committee is set to hold a hearing on the Cherokee Nation delegate on Wednesday.
A program that aims to train Alaska Native people to become rural pilots opened a new facility recently in Anchorage.
Emily Schwing reports.
The new hangar is now the central spot for students interested in pursuing a career in Aviation, CKT owner and Certified Flight Instructor Jamie Klaes told a crowd of nearly 60 people there are holes to fill when it comes to aviation in rural Alaska.
“There’s a lack of service there due to pilot shortages, due to a mechanic shortages.”
CKT Aviation contracts with Alaska Excel to provide pilot training to students from communities off the road system.
Alaska Excel offers additional intensive courses beyond general high school curriculum to students from rural Alaska school districts.
Lori Evan graduated from high school in Upper Kalskag last year. She first started taking classes in Excel’s aviation program when she was in 7th grade.
“They help with career paths, college scholarships and aviation was one of my favorites. Because I actually flew a plane unexpectedly and I flew it all by myself and that like inspired me to come and do more. It was my goal for years.”
Lee Ryan is the President of Ryan Air, an Alaska-based airline that serves most of Western Alaska. He says he wants to hire pilots who grew up like he did – off the road system in Unalakleet.
“They understand the importance of safety, the importance of one foot in front of the other, the importance of navigation, situational awareness, the culture. They just, they get it right, so it makes it so easy. To serve the people you’re trying to serve. So it’s like the missing piece of the pie, it’s what we need.”
Ryan recently hired one commercial pilot out of the Alaska Excel program and he’s got his eye on the progress of at least one other.
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