New arrival: Cherokee Book One for Beginners by Harry Oosahwee.
As promised, here's more detail on the Baby Veronica case involving the Cherokee Nation. The Supreme Court of South Carolina declined to finalize the adoption and the biological father, a Cherokee citizen, now has custody of the child. Here's the South Carolina decision. The United States Supreme Court granted cert and will hear the case in April. Two provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act are at issue.
We'll be posting updates as the briefs are filed on the Indian Child Welfare Case pending before the US Supreme Court involving the Cherokee Nation. Here are the resources about the case on the National Indian Child Welfare Association's website, but stay tuned . . . .
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.
The annual conference of the Sequoyah Commission will be held September 2-3, 2010 in Tahlequah. Congrats to Richard Allen for another job well done in putting together this event. Agenda can be downloaded here: State of Sequoyah Commission Conference Agenda 2010 (2)
Congrats to S. Alan Ray for his presidential appointment to the National Advisory Council on Indian Ed. Full press release here: S Alan Ray and Council on Indian Education.
How many presidential appointments of Cherokees to key positions does this make in the Obama administration? Kudos.
Judge J. Matthew Martin (Associate Judge at EBCI) has a new law review article out The Nature and Extent of the Exercise of Criminal Jurisdiction by the Cherokee Supreme Court: 1823-1835 at 32 North Carolina Central Law Rev. 27 (2009). The most interesting part of the article is the evidence that the Cherokee Nation did exercise criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians (albiet over the non-Indians' objection). It's on westlaw and an earlier version of the final piece is here.