TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signed legislation Thursday redistricting the tribe’s legislative council district map based on major population changes over the past decade.

The Council of the Cherokee Nation spent months examining the possible redrawing of the tribe’s 15 on-reservation council districts based on population changes since the last redistricting effort that took effect in 2013.

“I applaud the council for undertaking what I know from firsthand experience is a very difficult task,” said Chief Hoskin.  “I also appreciate the work of our Attorney General Chad Harsha and our Natural Resources Department in supporting the Council’s work. This Council shows time and time again that it meets its duty, and it never runs away from its duty to best serve our tribal citizens.”

The Council of the Cherokee Nation is comprised of 15 members representing 15 single seat districts with the tribe’s 7,000 square-mile reservation and two “at large” council seats representing all Cherokees living outside of the reservation.

The tribe’s Supreme Court determined in 2013 the council districts within the reservation should adhere to the “one person, one vote” principle that controls most legislative districting in other jurisdictions across the United States.

The Court held that districts within 10% of each other meet that requirement.

“Redistricting is always easier said than done,” said Council Speaker Mike Shambaugh.  “It is natural to want districts to remain unchanged or for them to lay out perfectly uniform on a map. However, achieving constitutional equality between districts in a way that secures approval of 17 elected council members requires careful study, patience and a willingness to compromise for the good of all Cherokee citizens.”

The new map will be in effect for the 2025 mid-term council elections.  Those mid-term elections, with half of the tribe’s legislative seats up for a vote, will be held in June 2025 with the swearing in of elected or re-elected leaders on August 14, 2025.

The law signed by Chief Hoskin on Thursday includes a new map and legislative language making clear that the map is effective for the 2025 mid-term council election cycle.

The current map remains in place until the conclusion of the 2025 election cycle.

Each new district includes between 9,265 and 9,429 citizens of the Cherokee Nation, with each district deviating no more than 1.3%.  Under the “10% rule,” the districts were required to be within 8,915 and 9,853, with the ideal district being 9,384.

Every council district changed as a result of the redistricting process. No council member was displaced as a result of the new map.

Of the tribe’s 464,778 citizens, 143,249 live within the reservation. Cherokee Nation is the largest tribe by population in the United States.

Deputy Chief Bryan Warner praised the Council’s work.

“There is nothing easy or simple about redistricting,” said Deputy Chief Warner. “It is clear, though, that the Council used data, legal expertise and a sense of fairness to draft a map that treats Cherokees equally under the law.”

Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez also complimented her colleagues on crafting a new map.

“We all understood that after a decade the population changes and shifts and that all districts would need to change,” said Vazquez. “Had we failed to act we would have been in violation of the Cherokee Nation Constitution, and we would have risked placing redistricting in the hands of the courts, which we should not do.”

The Council began discussing redistricting in February.  The body approved the new map by a unanimous vote at a special Council meeting on Thursday, May 30th. Chief Hoskin signed the map into law at a ceremony immediately following the meeting.

Download 2025 Council Districts Map