Cherokee Nation citizen asks court to remove Scott from Dist. 12 race

04/09/2019 12:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen Jimmy Williams is seeking the removal of Tribal Council candidate Don Scott from the general election based on bloodline.

Williams filed a petition against Scott, a Dist. 12 hopeful, and the CN Election Commission on March 27 in District Court.

Williams and his attorney, Deborah Reed, argue that Scott’s tribal citizenship stems from an ancestor who “was a citizen of the Cherokee Nation by Delaware blood,” and therefore does not meet Constitutional requirements to run.

“The CNEC had a duty to conduct a thorough investigation of defendant Scott to determine his eligibility,” the petition states. “The CNEC breached that duty by failing to verify that he is Cherokee by blood. Defendant Scott should be decertified and not allowed to run for elective office.”

General qualifications listed in CN election law state, “The candidate shall be a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, in accordance with Article IV of the Constitution of the Cherokee Nation and shall be a citizen by blood of the Cherokee Nation.”

Citizenship requirements in the Constitution’s Article IV state that, “All citizens of the Cherokee Nation must be original enrollees or descendants of original enrollees listed on the Dawes Commission Rolls, including the Delaware Cherokees of Article II of the Delaware Agreement dated the 8th day of May, 1867 …”

On March 24, 2017, the Supreme Court affirmed an EC decision barring CN citizen Randy White from running for the Dist. 11 Tribal Council seat against incumbent Victoria Vazquez.

The court stated that a 2007 amendment to the 1999 Constitution recognizes three separate groups as citizens of the tribe in Article IV, Section 1. “…citizenship of the Cherokee Nation shall be limited to those originally enrolled on, or descendants of those enrolled on, the Final Rolls of the Cherokee Nation…as Cherokees by blood, Delaware Cherokees pursuant to Article II of the Delaware Agreements…and the Shawnee Cherokees pursuant to Article II of the Shawnee Agreement.”

White is a Shawnee Cherokee and not Cherokee by blood.

The opinion added that it is “evident that Cherokee Shawnees and Cherokee Delawares are citizens by virtue of historical agreements – not by Cherokee blood.”

The opinion also stated that “the only time a legal right, under Cherokee law, depends on Cherokee blood is when a person decides to run for elected office.”

However, a Sept. 1, 2017, Supreme Court order states that Freedmen descendants upon registration as CN citizens shall have the right to run for office, but makes no mention of Shawnee or Delaware CN citizens.

Scott said he did not wish to comment of the pending litigation.

The official window for candidacy challenges to the EC ended in February. The window for appeals to the Supreme Court ended in mid-March.

The District Court case has been assigned to Judge Luke Barteaux.

Dist. 12 candidates include Scott, Phyllis Lay, Todd Branstetter and Dora Patzkowoki.

Click here to read the court documents.
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