On July 17, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council announced the passage of legislation that split the Cherokee Nation into 15 separate districts based on population figures ensuring equal distribution according to a Cherokee Nation press release. And according to Jodie Fishinghawk, a tribal councilor, it’s been a long time coming.
The move will give tribal council members their own area to be the voice of. Fishinghawk added that the council worked very hard to get the most accurate numbers and made sure they had strong addresses.
“The tribal council has long believed that Cherokee citizens would be best represented if each councilor had a distinct area and population to represent,” Speaker Tina Glory-Jordan said in the release. “Smaller districts will allow councilors to be even more responsive to the needs of local communities.”
The districts will begin with the 2013 elections and the stipulation that councilors must reside within the district they are looking to represent was included. If they do not, they are not allowed to run for that district or risk forfeiture of office according to the release.
“The tribal council has created districts which will be much more responsive to the needs of local communities and our individual citizens,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said in the release. “I have always supported one councilor for one district and will sign this as soon as it hits my desk.”