An Official Act of the Cherokee Nation’s Government, Signed by All of Its Officials, and Approved by President Theodore Roosevelt

It provides for “Insuring the Public Buildings of the Cherokee Nation”

Until 1794 until 1906, the Cherokee Nation was an autonomous, legal, tribal government, and recognized as such by the United States. This Nation consisted of the Cherokee people and other Native American tribes originally from the southeastern United States who were either forced to or voluntary relocated to Indian Territory. The Indian...

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An Official Act of the Cherokee Nation’s Government, Signed by All of Its Officials, and Approved by President Theodore Roosevelt

It provides for “Insuring the Public Buildings of the Cherokee Nation”

Until 1794 until 1906, the Cherokee Nation was an autonomous, legal, tribal government, and recognized as such by the United States. This Nation consisted of the Cherokee people and other Native American tribes originally from the southeastern United States who were either forced to or voluntary relocated to Indian Territory. The Indian Territory was land set aside by the U.S. government and comprised present day Oklahoma.

What is now Tahlequah, Oklahoma, was established as the capital of the Cherokee Nation, and by 1827 a written constitution was adopted, creating a government with three branches, similar to the U.S. government. The National Council, with its Senate, served as the legislature of the Nation and every four years they elected a Principal Chief, whose office was similar to that of a state governor. When the Nation’s Senate passed a bill, it would require the Council’s approval. Then the Chief would have to endorse the bill with his signature to take it to the next step. And that final step was that it would have to be submitted to the President of the United States for his approval.

Thomas Mitchell Buffington served as the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1899 to 1903. J. T. Parker was the Council’s Executive Secretary when Buffington was Chief. Edward Washbourne was Clerk of the Senate, Martin Van Benge was Speaker of the Council, and C.S. Shelton was Clerk of the Council.

In the 1902-1903 session, the Senate and Council were active and passed a number of bills for the Principal Chief’s signature. One of these was Senate Bill Number 25, entitled “An Act Making An Appropriation to Pay For Insuring the Public Buildings of the Cherokee Nation.” It passed the Senate on December 3, 1902, and was signed by the Senate President and Clerk. That same day the Council concurred, and the Council Speaker and Clerk signed to that effect. On December 5, Principal Chief Buffington approved the bill, and signed as such.

The bill was then submitted to President Roosevelt for his signature. The form approval document certifies that the Cherokee National Council in fact passed the bill, and recites that in accordance with law it is being submitted to the President. It is signed by Buffington and Parker. Below that appears: “White House, Washington, January 26, 1903. Approved, T. Roosevelt.”

Beginning in 1898, the U.S. government began laying the groundwork to dismantle the Cherokee Nation in order to incorporate the Indian Territory into a new state, Oklahoma. In 1906, the tribal government of the Cherokee Nation was dissolved.

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