Column: Bad publicity for Eastern Cherokees
"The tribe is a sovereign entity, supposedly on the same level as the state. However, just like the state, that by no means indicates a “right” to govern as it pleases with no respect for laws.

Two particular instances come screaming out. The first is the tribe’s leadership violating its own laws. The first executive order of Principal Chief Michell Hicks’ second term was one mandating that the Cherokee One Feather, a tribal-owned publication, remove a column of anonymous comments, not too different from the online comments on citizen-times.com. A resolution asking Tribal Council to rescind the order, which violates the tribe’s free press act, failed to pass.

While the order had its supporters, the column was immensely popular, and angry reaction from readers and tribal members has been the majority of the feedback received. The act may also result in legal action in court. While the chief has argued that the tribe’s governing document, which was adopted outside of the terms of the Indian Reorganization Act, of which the tribe has agreed to comply, gives him that authority, even the legally questionable document doesn’t necessarily invalidate laws passed and ratified.

The other instance was one of gaps in reporting campaign contributions. Whether intentional or not, it had every appearance of hiding spending and support for certain candidates. Being under the impression of not having to report it doesn’t excuse it. The act of making campaign donations is controversial itself, inside and outside tribal membership. Doing so under the table, intentional or not, makes it worse, particularly given that a significant portion of the tribe’s funding comes from gaming."

Get the Story:
Joseph Martin: Bad publicity a real problem for Cherokee (The Asheville Citizen-Times 10/18)

Relevant Links:
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians - http://www.cherokee-nc.com
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, site 2 - http://www.nc-cherokee.com
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, unofficial - http://www.easternband.com

Related Stories:
Eastern Cherokee chief makes newspaper cut column (10/17)