constitutional reform

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Constitution proposed for Cherokee

Constitution proposed for Cherokee

Cherokee voters will have the chance to give their nation a long-awaited constitution if Tribal Council approves a referendum question proposed for the September ballot.  “Right now we don’t have a constitution. We have a charter, and a charter is for an organization, a corporation or something of…

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Tribal Executive Branches: A Path to Tribal Constitutional Reform

Tribal Executive Branches: A Path to Tribal Constitutional Reform

In the modern era, tribes have made tremendous gains in retaining — and reclaiming — their sovereignty. But despite this external progress, some tribes have struggled to overcome internal governance challenges.2×  One such challenge is presented by “IRA constitutions”: those constitutions either…

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Cherokee Nation

An Act Creating A Constitution Convention Commission Be It Enacted By The Cherokee Nation

CHAPTER 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS §1. Purpose: This ACT is adopted for the purpose of establishing a Constitution Convention Commission. The Commission shall oversee the conduct of a constitutional convention as called for by a vote of the Cherokee people in the 1995 election.

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Osage Nation Governmental Reform Initiative

Osage Nation Governmental Reform Initiative

At the turn of the 20th century, the US government abolished the 1881 Osage Nation Constitution and imposed rules for land ownership and citizenship. Many Osage citizens were disenfranchised and the Tribal Council was granted only limited powers, which lead to years of weak government, corruption,…

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Northern Cheyenne Constitutional Reform

Northern Cheyenne Constitutional Reform

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe is a sovereign nation. It is a federally-recognized Indian tribe with powers and authority to govern the activities of its members. The Tribe is governed by a Constitution and Bylaws first adopted on November 23, 1935. In the early 1990s, in order to meet the demands of…

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Citizen Potawatomi Nation Constitutional Reform

Citizen Potawatomi Nation Constitutional Reform

Tribal governments across the United States work tirelessly to provide their citizens with effective systems of governance. After years of failed assimilation attempts, the federal government imposed blanket political systems upon almost all tribes regardless of those systems’ effectiveness or…

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Broken Government: Constitutional Inadequacy Spawns Conflict at San Carlos

Broken Government: Constitutional Inadequacy Spawns Conflict at San Carlos

This article, published in 1999, examined the governmental conflict taking place at the San Carlos Apache Tribe. It explored the historical constitutional roots of the conflict, specifically the ineffectiveness and culturally inappropriate Indian Reorganization constitution and system of government…

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Devon Lomayesva: Making Constitution Reform and Tribal Law Work

Devon Lomayesva, a citizen of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California, offers her perspectives on asserting tribal law in a P.L. 280 state. The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel underwent a constitutional reform process, and Devon shares her experiences with and perspectives of that process. Her…

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Vanya Hogen: Redefining Citizenship Criteria Through Constitutional Reform and Other Means

Lawyer and tribal judge Vanya Hogen (Oglala Sioux) discusses the difficulties inherent in amending Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) constitutions to redefine tribal citizenship criteria, and shares the story of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community as an example of one Native nation with an IRA…

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Good Native Governance Break Out 3: Tribal Constitutional Revitalization

UCLA School of Law "Good Native Governance" conference presenters, panelists and participants Melissa L. Tatum, Devon Lee Lomayesva, and Jill Doerfler discuss constitutional reform efforts. Melissa describes the purpose of consitutions. Using her own Nation's experience, Devon discusses the Iipay…

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Jennifer Porter: Cultural Match Through Constitutional Reform at Kootenai

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Vice-Chairwoman Jennifer Porter of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho explains what prompted her nation to enact several amendments to its constitution in the mid-1990s, and how its ability to govern effectively has been greatly enhanced by its decision…

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Stephen Cornell: Defining Constitutions (Presentation Highlight)

In this highlight from the presentation "Defining Constitutions and the Movement to Remake Them," Stephen Cornell provides some basic definitions of what a constitution is and the role it fundamentally plays -- or should play in the life of Native nations.

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Richard Luarkie: The Pueblo of Laguna: A Constitutional History

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Laguna Governor Richard Luarkie provides a detailed overview of what prompted the Pueblo of Laguna to first develop a written constitution in 1908, and what led it to amend the constitution on numerous occasions in the century since. He also…

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Jennifer Porter: The Kootenai Tribe: Strengthening the People's Voice in Government Through Constitutional Change

Jennifer Porter, former chairwoman and current vice-chairwoman of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, discusses how her nation moved to amend it constitution to change its basis of political representation, how the U.S. Secretary of Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) tried to block the move,…

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Brenda Child: The Red Lake Nation: Laying a Solid Foundation for Constitutional Reform

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Brenda Child, member of the Red Lake Constitution Reform Initiative Committee, discusses how the Committee has worked methodically to set in place a solid foundation upon which to engage Red Lake citizens about the Red Lake constitution and…

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Ian Record: Constitutional Reform: Some Perspectives on Process

Dr. Ian Record, NNI Manager of Educational Resources, provides a broad overview of the inherent difficulties involved with constitutional reform, the different processes that Native nations are developing to engage in constitutional reform, and some of the effective reform strategies that NNI is…

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Terry Janis: Citizen Engagement and Constitutional Change at the White Earth Nation (Q&A)

Terry Janis, former Project Manager for the White Earth Constitution Reform Project, fields questions from the audience about his specific role in White Earth's constitutional reform process. He stresses the need for those engaging in constitutional reform to be cognizant of the fact that a process…

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John "Rocky" Barrett: Citizen Potawatomi's Inclusive Approach to Citizenship

A 3-minute clip of an interview with Chairman Barrett describing how Citizen Potawatomi Nation created a government structure and constitution that worked for the nation's large and very dispersed population.

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Floyd "Buck" Jourdain: Constitutional Reform and Leadership at the Red Lake Nation

Floyd "Buck" Jourdain, Chairman of the Red Lake Nation from 2004 to 2014, discusses his nation's constitutional reform effort and the supporting role he played in helping to get the effort off of the ground. He also talks about how comprehensive constitutional reform will empower his nation's…

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Terry Janis: The White Earth Nation Constitutional Reform Process

In this lively and far-reaching discussion with NNI's Ian Record, Terry Janis (Oglala Lakota), former project manager of the White Earth Nation Constitution Reform Project, provides an overview of the citizen education and engagement campaign that preceded White Earth's historic vote to ratify a…