TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians gathered in Tahlequah this week for the annual Tri-Council meeting.

The three federally recognized Cherokee tribes passed resolutions Friday to celebrate the 200-year anniversary of the Cherokee Syllabary, oppose non-Indian groups posing as Cherokee tribes, and address the crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.

“It’s such a unique experience and opportunity when our three tribes come together. Among the 573 federally recognized tribes, collectively Cherokees are the largest, and we’re still here and still thriving,” Cherokee Nation Speaker of the Tribal Council Joe Byrd said. “We all share stories and hardships and where we are as a people today, and all strongly support advocacy for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and celebrate the 200-year anniversary of our written Cherokee language.”

During the Tri-Council meeting the tribes jointly passed a resolution celebrating Sequoyah’s invention of the Cherokee Syllabary in 1821 and its continued use by speakers among all three tribes today.

The three tribes also addressed the crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. Homicide is the third leading cause of death among Native American women between the ages of 10-24 years old and fifth leading cause of death for Native women between the ages of 25-34 years old.

“It is the intent of the Tri-Council to secure justice and due process for the victims throughout the criminal and juvenile justice systems and to ensure that victims of crime should have their rights protected by the law in a manner no less vigorous than the rights afforded to the accused, the resolution stated. The resolution advocates for changes to the criminal and juvenile justice systems to increase safety for Native American women and to address the crisis of missing and murdered Native American women and girls.

The three tribes also honored frontline workers through COVID-19, and passed a resolution opposing the recognition of fabricated Cherokee tribes and Indians.

“There are groups throughout the country claiming to be legitimate Indian tribes, these groups seek state recognition, and also seek federal recognition, often times through an act of Congress rather than petitioning the office of federal acknowledgement within the Department of the Interior through the BIA branch of acknowledgement and research maintains the responsibility for addressing specific applications for federal recognition and the tribes of the Cherokee Tri-Council fully support the federal recognition process,” the resolution approved states. 

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