The Cherokee Nation is the federally recognized government of the Cherokee people and thereby has sovereign status granted by treaty and law. The seat of tribal government is the W.W. Keeler Complex near Tahlequah, Okla., capital of the Cherokee Nation.
The Constitution of the Cherokee Nation was approved by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs of September 5, 1975, and was ratified by the Cherokee people on June 26, 1976. A Constitutional Committee convened in 1999 to create a new Constitution, and in 2003 the Cherokee people overwhelmingly voted to accept it. The new Constitution was enacted in 2006. The Cherokee Nation Constitution calls for three branches of government:
Executive.Power is vested in the Principal Chief. The Principal Chief is responsible for the execution of the laws of the Cherokee Nation, establishment of tribal policy and delegation of authority as necessary for the day-to-day operations of all programs and enterprises administered by the Cherokee Nation tribal government. The Deputy Principal Chief is empowered to act as directed by the Principal Chief. The Principal Chief and Deputy Principal Chief are elected to four-year terms by popular vote of registered Cherokee voters.
Bill John Baker - Principal Chief Joe Crittenden. - Deputy Chief
Legislative.Consists of the 17-member Tribal Council elected by popular vote to represent nine districts of the Cherokee Nation, plus two at-large members elected to represent those citizens who live outside the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. The Tribal Council initiates legislation and conducts other business which will further the interests of the Cherokee Nation and its citizens. An elected Speaker presides over the Council as its president. Tribal Council terms are four years.
Judicial.Consists of the five-member Cherokee Nation Supreme Court, the Cherokee Nation District Court and the Wellness Court. Supreme Court, whose members are appointed by the Principal Chief and confirmed by the Tribal Council, is the highest court of the Cherokee Nation. The primary responsibility of the Supreme Court is to hear and resolve any disagreements arising under the provisions of the Cherokee Nation Constitution or enactments of the Tribal Council. The role of the District Court system is to hear all cases brought before it under jurisdiction of the Cherokee Nation judicial code. A district judge and an associate judge preside over court proceedings.
Constitution Convention Commission (CCC).This Act was adopted for the purpose of establishing a Constitution Convention Commission. The Commission oversaw the conduct of a constitutional convention as called for by a vote of the Cherokee people in the 1995 election.
Election Commission.The Cherokee Nation Election Commission carries out Legislative Act No. 7-97, the Cherokee Nation Code Annotated, and the Constitution of the Cherokee Nation for the purpose of conducting all Cherokee Nation elections. It is our mandate to be of service to the Cherokee Tribal citizens and every effort will be made to fulfill it, as well as stay in compliance with Legislative Act 7-97.
Tax Commission.Its purpose, as set forth in the Cherokee Nation Tax Code, is to raise revenues, in a fair and efficient manner, to enable the government of the Cherokee Nation to provide governmental services to citizens of the Cherokee Nation and to promote tribal economic development, self-sufficiency and a strong tribal government.
Marshal Service.The Marshal Service on the front line of exercising sovereignty for the Cherokee people. There are currently approximately 35 Marshals that work and live within the 14 county jurisdictional base. Their training includes 16 weeks at F.L.E.T.C. (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) in Artesia, New Mexico. Many of the Marshals hold C.L.E.E.T. (Council Law Enforcement Education Training) certifications also.