By David Cornsilk:
The Delaware and Shawnee are separate tribal people from the Cherokees. The Shawnee have achieved separate federal recognition, the Delawares are soon to follow. When they separate, they are no longer Cherokees. Their adoption has been severed. Each individual Shawnee or Delaware must then make a decision as to whether they will continue in their relationship with the Cherokee Nation, or cut their ties. Because the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) cannot prohibit dual enrollment, the individual Delawares and Shawnees can bounce back to the CNO membership at will. If they are "caught" by the leadership of their respective tribes (other than CNO), they would then be required to relinquish one or the other. Once they relinquish, all they need to is go reapply for CNO membership and boom, back in.
The difference for the United Keetoowah Band of cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) members is the fact that they are all (except for a couple of frauds), descendants of citizens of the Cherokee Nation with a vested right to vote for the office of Principal Chief of the cherokee Nation. That right, in accordance with the 1970 Principal Chiefs Act, to popularly select the Principal Chief, remains intact, even when the descentant of Cherokee citizen becomes a member of the UKB.
Because the vehicle whereby that vote is exercised requires the Cherokee Nation citizens or their decendants to register with the CNO in order to cast that vote, the BIA, CNO and UKB have all conspired to stifle the full blood vote for the office of Principal Chief. The self-imposed requirement that UKB members relinquish membership in any other federally recognized tribe weakens the UKB and thus weakens the individual UKB members.
The CNO is not a federally recognized tribe. It is nothing more than a vehicle created by the Principal Chief (promulgated rules) to carry out the election. The fact that it has been allowed to grow into something more has nothing to do with the citizen/voting rights of all Cherokee Nation citizen descendants, including those who have joined the UKB. The actual, federally recognized tribe was/is the Cherokee Nation (not CNO). The only citizens of the Cherokee Nation are those individuals listed on the Dawes Roll and their descendants. That includes all of the Cherokees who are members of the UKB (except for those frauds).
Because dual enrollment is not and cannot be prohibited by CNO, there is nothing CNO officials can do, what they must do is assist UKB members in voting for the office of Principal Chief. The only thing the dual enrollment prohibition has achieved is it prevents otherwise eligible Cherokee Nation (not CNO) citizens from casting a ballot in the race for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (not CNO). As I said before, the BIA cannot demand a dual enrollment prohibition.
The recently adopted Osage Constitution specifically declares that Osage citizens who have enrollment in other tribes are protected in their right to dual enrollment. The BIA may have winced at this provision, but could do nothing about it. And logically, the governments of the various tribes where dual enrollment might be an issue, could and would be expected to do what legitimate mature governments do, work together to prevent double dipping.
Whether the UKB leadership or the membership likes it or not, the Principal Chief is the sole embodiment of the Cherokee Nation. The vehicle created under the authority of the 1970 Principal Chiefs Act to carry out the required elections is the 1976/1999 Constitution. That organization is nothing more than an arm of the office of Principal Chief. All of the provisions of the constitution creating a council, tribunal and other restrictive requirements are self-imposed by the Principal Chief. At his whim, he could simply promulgate new rules.
The Principal Chief has fulfilled his duty to the Cherokee people and the 1970 Act by promulgating rules to carry out the elections. The UKB Dual Enrollment prohibition stands in the way of eligible Cherokee Nation citizens from exercising their vested right to vote in that election.
The Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation has, like it or not, a tremendous impact on the lives of all Cherokee Nation citizens, whether members of the UKB or the CNO. The negative impact of any Principal Chief, on the UKB should behoove the leadership to address the vested right of the UKB members to cast a vote for the office of Principal Chief. Until such time as the UKB leadership wakes up and realizes that the voice of the UKB membership, which legitimately should impact the election of the Principal Chief, is being silenced by an unnecessary and harmful rule, the situation of the UKB will not change: Thus UKB Citizens your duty as a decendant of the Cherokee Nation, is to get over to the CNO registration office and register as a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, so you may aquire your CNO voting card as all members are require to do in order to vote for the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation in the CNO election. Please remember this in no way affects you status as a citizen of the UKB.