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Cherokee Nation special election will decide fate of constitutional convention

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. (left) and Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner
Cherokee Nation
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. (left) and Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner

A Cherokee Nation special election is coming up and voters will decide whether to re-frame the Cherokee Constitution.

Ratified in 1839, the Cherokee Constitution hasn’t been amended since 2003. It covers an array of topics. One is a requirement to conduct a special election every twenty years to consider amendments via a constitutional convention.

That vote will be this year on June 15. But many tribal leaders, including Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, are urging voters to reject the convention. They say it would be time-consuming and there are other avenues to make changes: such as a regular ballot measure.

“Any issues that may exist in our Constitution can be repaired by individual amendments through a vote of the people, not wholesale changes [at a constitutional convention.]” Hoskin wrote in an open letter.

If voters say yes, a seven-member convention committee, composed of two appointees from each branch of government and one member selected by the rest of the committee, will assemble to talk about potential changes.

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Katie Hallum covers Indigenous Affairs at KOSU.
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