Honoring Nations All-Stars Profile: Constitutional Reform Citizen Potawatomi Nation

Forced relocations, loss of lands, and the economic necessity of moving away from home and community are common histories in Indian Country. Yet, despite these tragic circumstances, tribes continue to assert their sovereignty in order to improve the lives of their people. One of these remarkable stories comes from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN). In 2007, tired of bandaging a failing constitution that did not meet the cultural needs of the Nation, CPN citizens ratified a new governing document that resulted in a significant transfer of power and realigned the constitution to Citizen Potawatomi culture. The Nation moved from a five-member business committee with representatives only from Oklahoma to a sixteen-member legislative body with regional representatives for all CPN citizens, wherever they reside. In addition, it established checks and balances and further clarified roles and responsibilities within the governing system. Perhaps most important of all, it strengthened the Nation’s self-governance by removing the clause that required the US Secretary of the Interior to approve future changes to CPN’s constitution.
Native Nations
Resource Type

Honoring Nations All-Stars Profile: Constitutional Reform Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2013.

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