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Cherokee Nation campaigns for House representation

In 2019, Cherokee Nation Chief Hoskin nominated Kim Teehee as a Congressional delegate. Will she become a delegate?

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Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. answers a question for the media with Kimberly Teehee in Tahlequah, Okla.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., left, answers a question for the media following his announcement that he is nominating Kimberly Teehee, right, as a Cherokee Nation delegate to the U.S. House, in Tahlequah, Okla., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. Hoskin Jr. acknowledged the first such attempt by a tribal nation will take time as well as cooperation from Congress

Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press

In 1835, the Treaty of New Echota was signed between the Cherokee Nation and the U.S. government. As an article in the treaty, the Cherokee Nation was promised one nonvoting delegate seat in the House. Now, they are launching their campaign to secure House representation.

On Thursday, the Cherokee Nation released a video on YouTube called, “It’s time for Congress to seat the Cherokee Nation delegate.” Chuck Hoskin, Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, speaks about how this treaty led to Cherokees being forced to give up their ancestral lands. He said that it was a “dark chapter of our nation’s history where one-quarter of the Cherokee Nation population perished.”

Hoskin nominated Kim Teehee in 2019 as the delegate. Now he is calling on Congress to make good on their promise in the signed treaty. Ashwana Miles from the Cherokee Nation said that having a delegate in Congress would make the Nation proud and also would be instrumental in fighting for water resources and health resources.

According to Axios, Congress has yet to make a decision to seat the delegate, but Rep. Nancy Pelosi has voiced her support to do so.

Why was the Treaty of New Echota signed?

  • According to history.com, then-president Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which forced Indigenous tribes to abandon their ancestral land.
  • Cherokee Historical states “In 1835, the Treaty of New Echota was signed by a minority of Cherokees, including Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot, in an act of absolute betrayal (the three were assassinated by other Cherokee in 1839). Major Ridge claimed to represent the Cherokee Nation, but he was only considering a small group of people.”
  • According to Cherokee Historical, the Cherokee Nation rejected the treaty. The forced-relocation of the Cherokee Nation was part of the Trail of Tears.