Cherokee Nation SCT Strikes “By Blood” from Cherokee Constitution

Here is the order in In Re: Effect of Cherokee Nation v. Nash and Vann v. Zinke:

SC-17-07 37-Final Order 2-22-21

Selected Briefs:

2-8-21 Motion for Final Disposition

2-18-21 Tribe Brief

2-18-21 Councilors Brief

Cherokee Nation SCT Rejects Chad Smith Challenge to Election; Does Not Count Freedmen Vote

Here is the order:

Election Decision for Cherokees

News coverage here.

A list of key documents from the Tulsa World here:

View Principal Chief Chad Smith’s final campaign disclosure report.

View Bill John Baker’s final campaign disclosure report.

Read the final order invalidating the election.

View an order from the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court.

View Principal Chief Chad Smith’s June 15 campaign financial disclosure report.

View Bill John Baker’s June 15 campaign financial disclosure report.

Read Principal Chief Chad Smith’s appeal.

Read Cherokee Election Commission chairman Roger Johnson’s resignation statement.

Read Cherokee Election Commission chairman Roger Johnson’s resignation letter.


New Scholarship on the Cherokee SCT Decision re Freedmen

Darryl Omar Freeman has posted “Neo-Colonial Adaptation or Neo-Sovereignty: Oklahoma Cherokee/African Ancestry Freedmen Conflict” on SSRN.

Might want to do some quick fact checking on Ward Churchill’s membership status with United Keetoowah Band.

Commentary: Cherokee Nation SCT Quashes Injunction Issued by Federal Court in Cherokee Freedmen Case

Here is a link to the Cherokee court order, via Indianz, and a news article from an informer reader on the issue.

The real question becomes, then, will the vote tally seeming to favor Bill John Baker be sufficient to make irrelevant the votes of the descendants of the Cherokee Freedmen, hopefully mooting this inter-judicial showdown.

I have advocated that tribal courts, in narrow circumstances, should resist federal court orders where the federal court appears to have no other source of jurisdiction but for pure federal common law, such as National Farmers Union. I was thinking, and continue to think, that certain questions of tribal court authority should not concern federal interests — subject areas like tort claims by tribal members against nonmembers who have burned down the entire reservation or tortiously damaged tribal government property and vital materials. But I’d hate to see tribal sovereignty go to the wall to defend the decision of one tribe to clumsily racialize its membership criteria. [I say clumsy because the Dawes rolls are so obviously flawed as to make membership decisions involving the Freedmen with them is negligent at best, and racist at worst.]

The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court could have done what the U.S. Supreme Court has done in circumstances involving international law — defer to the policymaking branches and invoke a form of the political question doctrine. The Court could have simply sat on the case until the dust settled. In fact, it appears both the Nation and the Freedmen descendants asked them to do so. Cherokee already lost millions in HUD money. The tribal court isn’t doing much to alleviate this dispute, and appears to be inflaming it even more.

Cherokee Nation AG Concurs with Freedmen Motion for Reconsideration before the Cherokee SCT

Hat tip Pechanga.

Here are those materials:

SC-11-02 16Motion to Reconsider Order of August 22 2011 9-13-11

SC-11-02 17-Response 9-14-11

The Cherokee AG’s response is curious: The AG agrees that the case should be reconsidered, largely in light of HUD’s decision to cut off funding and the BIA’s warning letter.

Here are the District Court stays in question:

11-Temp Order and Temp Injunction 5-14-2007

Order Continuing Current TO & Temp Injunction Pending Appeal

Will the Cherokee Supreme Court grant the motion????

Cherokee Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to Cherokee Freedmen Disenfranchisement

Here is the opinion in Cherokee Nation Registrar v. Nash (h/t Indianz):

SC-11-02 15-Opinion CN Registrar v Nash

And the relevant briefs:

Cherokee Nation Appellant Brief

Nash Answer Brief

Cherokee Nation Reply