Steve Russell: Move the Cherokee Nation forward again

"After multiple recounts and one court-ordered do-over, Bill John Baker has defeated incumbent Chad Smith to become the new Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. No doubt citizens of other Indian nations are weary of the Cherokee follies, but a successful Cherokee government is in everybody’s best interests.

The most obvious reason is the ongoing demand of tribal nations for self-determination based on our aboriginal sovereignty. Most of the tribes that have engaged in disenrollment shenanigans are so small they are literally a few extended families who can’t manage to display any loyalty to each other. When they act the fool, they get a pass because of the transparent fiction of their nationhood in the first place.

The Cherokee Nation has been a constitutional republic since 1827. At the time we were removed from our homelands for the benefit of the state of Georgia, we had a much higher literacy rate than Georgia, as close to universal literacy as a nation gets. With all that time to practice, if Cherokees can’t govern themselves, what Indian nation can?"

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Steve Russell: Why the Cherokee Election Matters (Indian Country Today 10/25)

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Steve Russell: The circus that has become the Cherokee Nation (9/15)

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