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Cherokee Nation Says It Is Owed A Representative In Congress


The Cherokee Nation's newly elected chief wants a voice in Congress.

CHUCK HOSKIN JR: It's always important for the Cherokee Nation to have a voice in Washington.


That is Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. He says he plans to send a delegate to the U.S. House. And he says this is a right that was promised many years ago to the Cherokee Nation.

HOSKIN JR: This provision has been in treaties dating back to the Treaty of Hopewell, one of our earliest agreements with the government the United States. But it's not been utilized till we took the steps this past week.

GREENE: Hoskin has nominated Kim Teehee for the job. She currently serves as the tribe's vice president of governmental relations. She was an adviser in the Obama White House.

HOSKIN JR: That's the kind of person that we need as a congressional delegate - someone who's knowledgeable, someone who's effective, someone who is respected. And she really fits all of those.

KING: The Council of the Cherokee Nation meets on Thursday to vote on her nomination. But even if she's approved, it could be a difficult process. Hoskin says this is the first attempt by a tribal nation to send a delegate and Congress is going to need to cooperate.

HOSKIN JR: The next step is one that is unprecedented. We've not done this in this country before. And so my message to the Congress is - will the government of the United States do what it said? Will it live up to its promise?

KING: That was Chuck Hoskin Jr. He's the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRISTEZA'S "WHEN WE GLOW") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.