of the Cherokee Nation
OF THE CHEROKEE NATION, formed by a Convention of Delegates from
the several districts, at New Echota, July, 1827
THE REPRESENTATIVES of the people of the Cherokee Nation, in Convention
assembled, in order to establish justice, ensure tranquility,
promote our common welfare, and secure to ourselves and our posterity
the blessings of liberty; acknowledging with humility and gratitude
the goodness of the sovereign Ruler of the Universe, in offering
us an opportunity so favorable to the design, and imploring His
aid and direction in its accomplishment, do ordain and establish
this Constitution for the Government of the Cherokee Nation.
2 -- ... and the lands therein are, and shall remain, the common
property of the Nation; but the improvements made thereon, and
in the possession of the citizens of the Nation, are the exclusive
and indefeasible property of the citizens respectively who made;
or may rightfully be in possession of them; Provided, that the
citizens of the Nation, possessing exclusive and indefeasible
right to their respective improvements, as expressed in this article,
shall possess no right nor power to dispose of their improvements
in any manner whatsoever to the United States, individual states,
nor individual citizens thereof; and that whenever any such citizen
or citizens shall remove with their effects out of the limits
of this Nation, and become citizens of any other Government, all
their rights and privileges as citizens of this Nation shall cease;
Provided, nevertheless, That the Legislature shall have power
to re-admit by law to all the rights of citizenship, any such
person or persons, who may at any time desire to return to the
Nation on their memorializing the General Council for such readmission.
Moreover, the Legislature shall have power to adopt such laws
and regulations, as its wisdom may deem expedient and proper,
to prevent the citizens from monopolizing improvements with the
view to speculation.
1 -- The power of this Government shall be divided into three
distinct departments; the Legislative, the Executive, and Judicial.
2 -- No person or persons belonging to one of these departments
shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either
of the others, except in the cases hereinafter expressly directed
4 -- No person shall be eligible to a seat in the General Council,
but a free Cherokee male citizen, who shall have attained to the
age of twenty-five years. The descendants of Cherokee men by all
free women, except the African race, whose parents may have been
living together as man and wife, according to the customs and
laws of this Nation, shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges
of this Nation, as well as the posterity of Cherokee women by
all free men. No person who is of negro or mulatto parentage,
either by the father or mother side, shall be eligible to hold
any office of profit, honor or trust under this Government.
6 -- In all elections by the people, the electors shall vote viva
15 -- The General Council shall have power to make all laws and
regulations, which they shall deem necessary and proper for the
good of the Nation, which shall not be contrary to this Constitution.
18 -- No retrospective law, nor any law impairing the obligations
of contracts shall be passed.
14 -- In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the
right of being heard, of demanding the nature and cause of the
accusation against him, of meeting the witnesses face to face,
of having compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor:
and in prosecutions by indictment or information, a speedy public
trial by an impartial jury of the vicinage; nor shall he be compelled
to give evidence against himself.
15 -- The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers
and possessions, from unreasonable seizures and searches, and
no warrant to search any place or to seize any person or things,
shall be issued without describing them as nearly as may be, nor
without good cause, supported by oath, or affirmation....
2 -- No person who denies the being of a God, or a future state
of rewards and punishment, shall hold any office in the civil
department of this Nation.
3 -- The free exercise of religious worship, and serving God without
distinction shall forever be allowed within this Nation; Provided,
That this liberty of conscience shall not be so construed as to
excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent
with the peace or safety of this Nation.
8 -- No person shall for the same offence be twice put in jeopardy
of life or limb, nor shall any person's property be taken or applied
to public use without his consent; Provided, That nothing in this
clause shall be so construed as to impair the right and power
of the General Council to lay and collect taxes. All courts shall
be open, and every person for an injury done him in his property,
person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law.
9 -- The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.
10 -- Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good
government, the preservation of liberty, and the happiness of
mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged
in this Nation.