The Cherokee historically settled in what is now the southeastern United States. Many would be forced from their homes by the US Government during the 19th century. A large portion of the population would settle in what is now Oklahoma and surrounding areas.

In return for the move, they were to receive some promises from the government. One of them was the right to have a delegate representing their interests in Congress.

The Cherokee were the second tribe to receive this distinction, after the Choctaw. Neither tribe had gone forward in doing so. But the Cherokee have recently moved to make it happen.

The new chief wants a delegate in Congress

Chuck Hoskin Jr. was elected as the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation earlier this year. One of his first acts in the role was to make the proposed Cherokee Congressional delegate a reality.

The choice for the post is Kimberly Teehee, according to Newsweek.

Teehee has long been involved in politics. For part of the Obama presidency, she was an adviser on Native American affairs. Previously, she worked for the Democratic National Committee and US Representative Dan Kildee of Michigan.

At first glance, it seems that the Cherokee have the right to do this. But it might not be allowed to go through.

A key issue is that the country has changed drastically since the 1800s. What is now the continental United States had large areas that didn't already have elected representatives in Congress. Now there are multiple elected representatives from each region, coast to coast.

Generally, Americans are directly represented by three members of Congress, though there are some exceptions: One member of the House of Representatives and two members of the Senate.

In theory, the members of the Cherokee Nation are already represented by these members. A new delegate would give them a fourth representative. In theory, it would be an unfair advantage over other Americans to have more than so many others do.

Differences between members of Congress

As The Hill has touched on, there are differences between delegates and other members of Congress. Senators and representatives have various duties, ultimately culminating in voting on legislation.

Resident commissioners represent areas that have a right of secession from the United States. They don't vote on the floor on legislation. But they can join and vote in committees. They can also introduce legislation. Puerto Rico currently elects a resident commissioner. Previously, so did the Philippines.

Delegates are very similar to resident commissioners. They represent U.S. Territories that have no immediate prospects of statehood.

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