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The Cherokee Nation Was Promised Congressional Representation Nearly 200 Years Ago And Now They’re Demanding It

Fact: the US was built on stolen land. Plain and simple.

When European colonists arrived in what is today the United States, there were already an estimated 10 million Native Americans living across the continent. They formed their own independent nations and were rich in customs, culture, and identity. 

As the US expanded its territory, it engaged in the wholesale slaughter of entire tribes. For those tribes that negotiated or worked with the US in some capacity, the government often signed treaties. These treaties basically promised the tribe would avoid slaughter if they relocated to new lands completely separate from their ancestral home. With at least one tribe, the Cherokee, their treaty also promised them representation in the US Congress.

It’s been almost 200 years since the US signed a treaty with the Cherokee people and the tribe is demanding the US fulfill one of its promises.

The Cherokee Nation announced Thursday that it intends to appoint a delegate to the US House of Representatives, asserting for the first time a right promised to the tribe in a nearly 200-year-old treaty with the federal government.

In a press release, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said, “As Native issues continue to rise to the forefront of the national dialogue, now is the time for Cherokee Nation to execute a provision in our treaties,” Chief Hoskin said.

“It’s a right negotiated by our ancestors in two treaties with the federal government and reaffirmed in the Treaty of 1866, and reflected in our Constitution. At Cherokee Nation, we are exercising our treaty rights and strengthening our sovereignty.” He added: ““The Cherokee Nation honors its treaties with the United States. Whether the United States will likewise honor its promises to the Cherokee Nation is a question that only its elected leaders can answer.” 

It was a historic step for the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation and its nearly 370,000 citizens, coming about a week after Chuck Hoskin Jr. was sworn in as principal chief of the tribe. The Cherokee Nation says it’s the largest tribal nation in the US and one of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes.

The move raises questions about what that representation in Congress would look like and whether the US will honor an agreement it made almost two centuries ago.

The Tribal Council has already sworn in it’s new delegates, including their representative to Congress.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.’s cabinet and Congressional delegate nominations were unanimously confirmed by the Council of the Cherokee Nation during a special meeting Thursday.

The council confirmed governmental cabinet positions including the Secretaries of State and Veterans Affairs, along with the Attorney General and Treasurer.

So who is their nominee to represent the tribe in Congress?

Before she became the Cherokee Nation’s vice president of government relations in 2014, Kim Teehee served as senior policy adviser for Native American affairs in President Barack Obama’s White House. Before that, she was already working in Congress as an adviser on indigenous issues.

“Kim Teehee will be a tremendous asset to our team as we work to strengthen and build on the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the United States and tribal nations,” Obama said in a 2009 statement that announced her appointment at the time. “She is rightly recognized as an outstanding advocate for Indian Country, and she will provide a direct interface at the highest level of my administration, assuring a voice for Native Americans during policy-making decisions.”

“This is a historic moment for Cherokee Nation and our citizens. I am truly humbled Chief Hoskin has nominated me for this extraordinary responsibility,” said Teehee, the tribe’s nominee for the position. “I remain supportive of his vision for the future of our tribal government and grateful for the opportunity to serve the great Cherokee Nation.”

Although the tribe is moving to get what’s owed to them, no one is quite sure what the representation in Congress might look like.

Hoskin told CNN that the position might look similar to the nonvoting representatives from the District of Columbia or U.S. territories like Puerto Rico. Currently, the Cherokee Nation comprises 370,000 people worldwide, according to its website, and Hoskin said the tribe is in an “unprecedented” position of strength.

The Treaty of Hopewell laid out the congressional provision in Article XII, stating, “That the Indians may have full confidence in the justice of the United States, respecting their interests, they shall have the right to send a deputy of their choice, whenever they think fit, to Congress.”

The tribe said that a third treaty from 1866 “reaffirms all previous treaties between the Cherokee Nation and the United States.”

For too long, US treaties with native tribes meant death, erasure, and lies. 

The history of treaties between the U.S. government and indigenous nations is a troubled one, often marked by breaches on the government’s side. 

Even when the treaties have been honored, they often resulted in tribal displacement.

According to Smithsonian magazine, the 1835 Treaty of New Echota (which the Cherokee Nation referenced in its announcement on Thursday) was used as grounds to remove the Cherokee from their lands along what became known as the Trail of Tears, a grueling journey that killed thousands. But the tribal leadership says that treaty and the 1785 Treaty of Hopewell granted the right to representation in Congress, a guarantee they now want to make good on.

Many on Twitter applauded the tribe’s decision to hold the US to it’s commitment.

Trump Ignores Constitution To Target Undocumented Residents In 2020 Census Once Again

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Trump Ignores Constitution To Target Undocumented Residents In 2020 Census Once Again

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Despite losing his battle to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census (the case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court), Trump’s attack on undocumented residents isn’t over yet. This time, the president is targeting states who have large undocumented communities by excluding them from Congressional reapportionment. In particular, Trump wants to exclude them from the numbers used to determine how many seats in Congress each state will have for the next 10 years.

It’s a blatant attempt to subvert the constitutional requirement that the census conduct “an actual enumeration” of the “whole number of free persons” in the U.S. There have been legislative and regulatory tweaks over the years to accommodate unusual situations — omitting, say, foreign diplomats and their families in the country at the time of the count — but there is nothing in the Constitution that says people must be citizens to be counted for purposes of reapportionment

Trump targets undocumented residents once again in a new executive order.

Trump issued an executive order that calls for an unprecedented change to the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the country. His directive instructs the U.S. Census Bureau to not count undocumented immigrants for purposes of apportioning seats in the House of Representatives, targeting states like California, Texas and New York with large communities of residents who lack a legal immigration status.

If enacted, however, the policy could have a seismic political impact, as states can gain or lose seats in the House every 10 years after the census, depending on how their populations compare to others. The census data is also used to allocate federal resources to states and local communities, however, Trump’s order doesn’t target this funding.

Dale Ho, an ACLU attorney who fought against Trump’s proposed citizenship question, signaled that a new lawsuit could be in the works against Tuesday’s directive. 

“The Constitution requires that everyone in the U.S. be counted in the census. President Trump can’t pick and choose. He tried to add a citizenship question to the census and lost in the Supreme Court,” Ho said in statement. “His latest attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities will be found unconstitutional. We’ll see him in court, and win, again.”

Congress represents all people in their states – not just citizens.

The U.S. has long counted non-citizens, including undocumented residents, for the purpose of congressional apportionment. The Constitution says that each state must have at least one representative, and that the apportionment of others should be based on an enumeration of the population.

Therefore, Trump’s authority to exclude unauthorized immigrants is expected to face court challenges, as it appears to be a direct attack on the constitution and the 14th Amendment.

Until the 14th Amendment was ratified in the 1860s, enslaved African Americans were counted as three-fifths of a person for congressional apportionment. American Indians “not taxed” were excluded until 1940.

The 14th Amendment also requires the enumeration of “the whole number of persons in each State.”

The new order comes after the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to change the 2020 Census.

Trump’s new order is part of an ongoing effort to exclude undocumented residents, and part of his campaign to fundamentally change how the government conducts its census every 10 years.

Late last year, the Trump administration proposed including a question on U.S. citizenship during the 2020 census. But its efforts do so, which it said were aimed at enforcing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, elicited a flurry of legal challenges that ended up at the Supreme Court, which blocked the administration from adding the question in time for the questionnaires to be printed.

During the litigation over the question, it was revealed that Thomas Hofeller, a now deceased conservative political operative, played a role in helping the administration craft the justification for the citizenship question addition, which he said in a 2015 study would allow officials to draw electoral maps advantageous to “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

Trump’s order could have a major impact on several states’ representation in Congress.

Several U.S. states have large undocumented residents populations and many of them regularly vote Democratic. This order, if enacted, would have a major effect on congressional representation and would shift political power away from reliably blue states to reliably red states.

Two of the states losing electoral votes — California and New York — are reliably Democratic. Two states gaining — Alabama and Ohio — usually vote Republican.

White Congressman Tells AOC To Accept Colleagues Non-Apology Apology

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White Congressman Tells AOC To Accept Colleagues Non-Apology Apology

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Update: July 24 House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy believes that Rep. AOC should accept Rep. Ted Yoho’s non-apology for verbally accosting her. The moment was caught by reporters and the backlash was immediate.

After being accosted by Rep. Ted Yoho, Rep. AOC took to the House floor and called out his lack of an apology.

Rep. AOC spoke on the house floor with the anger and frustration of women across the country. She spoke about Rep. Yoho’s lack of an apology without flinching as she repeated the words said to her: “f*cking b*tch.”

“It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting violence and violent language against women, an entire structure of power that supports that,” AOC said. She added: “Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters – I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho’s youngest daughter. I am someone’s daughter, too. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see Mr. Yoho’s disrespect.”

Yet, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy thinks Rep. AOC should accept the apology.

Rep. McCarthy, while speaking to the press, sided with Rep. Yoho and claims to have heard a sincere apology to Rep. AOC. Fellow colleagues disagree with his assertion and his call for Rep. AOC to accept the apology she does not feel was sincere.

“When you do that to any woman,” Rep. AOC continued, “you give permission to other men to do that to his daughters.”

Update: July 22 Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out Rep Ted Yoho for his non-apology apology. The congressman spoke on the House floor and offered some words to apologize for how his language was “misconstrued.” People are calling him out for not apologizing to Rep. AOC.

Rep. Ted Yoho spook on the House floor to address the comments against Rep. AOC.

During the speech, Rep. Yoho doesn’t address Rep. AOC directly and apologizes for the way his words were received. Rep. Yoho is reacting to the stories of him verbally berating Rep. AOC on the Capitol stairs.

“I will commit to each of you that I will conduct myself from a place of passion and understanding that policy and political disagreement be vigorously debated with the knowledge that we approach the problems facing our nation with the betterment of the country in mind and the people we serve,” Rep. Yoho said in the speech. “I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family and my country.”

Rep. AOC was quick to call out Rep. Yoho after he didn’t address her by name.

Rep. AOC, whose sentiment was echoed by colleagues and political pundits, is called Rep. Yoho out for not apologizing. Instead, Rep. AOC points out that Rep. Yoho did not fully address her and turned the speech into a chance to frame himself as passionate as a way to excuse his comments. Rep. Yoho even said that the words “f*cking b*tch” were not intended to be addressing Rep. AOC.

Original: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no stranger to attacks but the latest attack was a bit too far. The congresswoman was verbally attacked on the steps of the Capital in front of reporters. This one, overheard by reporters, shows a different level of disagreement in our government.

This is Representative Ted Yoho of Florida.

Rep. Yoho has been a member of Congress representing Florida’s 3rd congressional district. The district includes Gainesville, home of the University of Florida, and Ocala.

Rep. Yoho was heard on the steps of the capital calling AOC a “f*cking b*tch.”

According to The Hill, the confrontation started as the two members of Congress were passing each other on the stairs. Rep. Yoho allegedly began the altercation calling AOC “disgusting” over her comments that New York’s spike in crime has been caused by the pandemic.

“Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money so … they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry,” AOC said during a virtual town hall by The Hill.

“You are out of your freaking mind,” Yoho told her, according to The Hill.

Fellow Congress members came to AOC’s defense.

The comments have stunned many who have read them but these are not a surprise, according to some. The comments echo some of the same rhetoric heard on Fox News and other right-wing media organizations.

AOC responded to Rep. Yoho and called him rude for his comments. The two continued on their ways and that’s when Rep. Yoho, who had joined Rep. Roger William of Texas, said, “Fucking bitch.” The Hill does clarify that the comment was made to no one in particular.

Some members have called out the remarks as being sexist.

Rep. Ruben Gallegos of Arizona tweeted in defense of AOC saying that he has been saying the same thing but has never been accosted like that. One thing is clear, AOC is not letting it get her down.

READ: AOC Wins Primary Election In New York In Run For A Second Term In Congress