"Federal recognition only establishes a government to government relationship between a tribe and the federal government. It doesn't establish how that tribe will organize its government. Some tribal governments resemble the federal model with a tripartite government. Other tribes are almost unrecognizable to most folks, such as the UKB which has only a council.
Some tribal governments are regulated by federal laws that grant rights or limit them. That is the case with the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee was federally recognized by war and conquest. Each step in that process limited the rights to self-governance of the tribe. These laws include the 1898 Curtis Act, which prohibited tribal courts. The most recent application of the Curtis Act against the Cherokee Nation was 1975 when a new Cherokee Nation constitution was rejected by the BIA because it had provisions for courts.
Then Principal Chief Ross Swimmer withdrew the amended Cherokee Nation constitution and created the CNO instead, with its Judicial Appeals Tribunal.
It is no coincidence that the new 2003 constitution remains unapproved by the federal government. It violates federal law left and right. The Cherokee Nation was impacted by the 1906 Act, which stripped the tribe of its council, granted appointment of the chief to the president and closed our citizenship rolls.
Then the 1970 Principal Chief Act transferred selection of the chief from the president to the Cherokee people by means of "popular selection," and granted to the sitting chief the power to promulgate rules to carry out the selection. The chief was NOT authorized to do anything more.
And the rules the chief promulgated were required to be approved by the president. The so called 1976 constitution and its progeny, the 2003 unapproved constitution are and could be, nothing more than rules (albeit elaborate) to carry out the popular selection of the PC."
So folks if you have a grasp of what this says and to understand what it may mean today, simply read this letter from the BIA to CNO Chief acting as the Cherokee Nation See @ http://www.cornsilks.comc/letter.htm
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