One of the Oldest Broken Promises to Indigenous Peoples: A Voice in Congress

Source: The Nation
by John Nichols

“Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the American Revolution against the British Empire, representatives of the former colonies that were then governed under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee people. Among the many issues addressed by the Treaty of Hopewell was the question of how Indigenous peoples might make their voices heard in the new systems of government that were only then emerging in the US. The answer came in Article XII, which promised that the Cherokee ‘shall have the right to send a deputy of their choice, whenever they think fit, to Congress.’ This commitment was reaffirmed and clarified by the US government (now operating under the more formal dictates of the US Constitution) a half-century later in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota.” (11/14/23)