10th Circuit Case on Cherokee Nation's Newborn Citizenship Law

The Cherokee Nation has an automatic 240 day citizenship that attaches to any newborn who is a descendant of the Dawes Rolls.  This was enacted to ensure that newborns are Cherokee citizens subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act's protections and presumes that the parents will make a decision whether the enroll the child as a Cherokee citizen during their infancy.  I would like to see our Nation go one step further and simply have natural born citizenship laws like other sovereigns throughout the globe, but that's an aside.  The decision from the the Tenth Circuit is here.  The federal court does not like the idea of this "temporary citizenship" for inclusion in protections of a federal statute. My question for tribal legal reform:  why have people "enroll" a child as a citizen in the first place?  Why not have Cherokee Nation laws that automatically extend citizenship to children who are eligible for citizenship and if someone chooses to disavow their citizenship, go thru the administrative process to renounce citizenship?  When tribes requires someone to "enroll" as members/citizens of the Nation, it contributes to the idea the tribal citizenship is inferior to other citizenship.  I envision this sequence:  Citizenship by birth, followed by a Cherokee Nation Birth Certificate and/Cherokee Nation ID card for documentation purposes, followed by a Cherokee Nation driver's license to operate a vehicle.

Posted on April 5, 2011 and filed under Citizenship, Cherokee Nation, Sovereignty.