The Cherokee Nation is calling on Congress to honor a commitment made by the U.S. government in the 1800s to seat a non-voting delegate from the Cherokee Nation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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.
Kim Teehee, Cherokee Nation citizen, has served as a senior policy advisor for Native American affairs during the Obama administration, and she feels that not only would she represent her Nation but all Nations across Indian Country.
“Cherokee Nation is the direct recipient of being of my one constitute the Cherokee Nation government, but I’m mindful that the fact that Indian Country has too few advocates as it is.”
When talking about if and when she’ll be appointed, Teehee feels it will be done this year.
And if not, the Cherokee Nation will cross that bridge when the time comes.
She pointed out all the Native women leaders that are making history now and feels the time is right.
“The stars are aligned to get this right, if it doesn’t happen this year we’ll keep fighting.”
Teehee says the U.S. should honor their words and treaties, especially the long overdue commitment to seat a Cherokee Nation delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Organizers behind an effort to assist Indigenous voters at the polls in last week’s election in North Dakota say there were some issues people encountered when casting their ballot.
Mike Moen has more.
The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) worked with groups such as North Dakota Native Vote to station trained poll watchers at various sites.
NARF staff attorney Michael Carter says there were situations, for example, where a voter had issues tied to the state’s ID law.
“There were, in fact, some Native voters being turned away improperly, and the matter was able to be corrected – the voters were able to come back and vote and have their votes counted.”
North Dakota Native Vote says it saw only one instance of a voter not returning to complete the process.
Carter says ahead of the election, they met with the Secretary of State to make sure all parties were on the same page in handling these matters.
He says it’s vital for the state to detail these instances in reports in between elections, as part of a consent decree that stemmed from challenges to the ID law.
This election was the first since the state’s latest redistricting process, in which two new state House sub-districts were created in tribal areas.
In districts 4-A and 9-A, two Native candidates won their races.
North Dakota Native Vote’s Nicole Donaghy says these are strong examples of why tribal communities need more seats at the table when these voting maps are drawn.
“We cannot elect our own people unless there’s a focused effort to create a district that is majority Native American.”
However, one of those newly created sub-districts is being challenged in court by the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, with leaders saying the lines still dilute the voting power of tribal members.
Two incumbent state lawmakers with tribal roots, including Fargo-based State Rep. Ruth Buffalo (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation/D-ND), lost their re-election bids.
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