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  • Lani Hansen

On This Day in History: UKB Ratifies Constitution, Bylaws



TAHLEQUAH – The United States Congress recognized the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma in 1946 under the terms of the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of 1936, but our foundations would not be cemented in writing until October 3, 1950.

That day, it all started with a vote of 1,414 in favor and one against.

The vote was to approve the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians constitution and bylaws as they had been submitted on May 8, 1950 to the Assistant Secretary of the Interior William E. Warne.

The seven-page document begins by reading: “We the members of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, in order to promote our common welfare and to secure to ourselves and our posterity the rights, powers and privileges authorized and offered by the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of June 26, 1936 and the Act of August 10, 1946, do hereby ordain and establish the following constitution and bylaws.”

The voting process, which required at least 30 percent of eligible tribal voters to cast their ballots, was overseen by then Chief Jim Pickup and Secretary White Runabout.

This historical vote is now celebrated each year on the first weekend in October, with today marking 69 years to the day since the constitution and bylaws have been the foundation of the UKB.

Our administration invites you to celebrate this occasion with us this weekend, and when you do, please take a moment to thank your ancestors. Giduwas, we have gone far since then. Together united, we can go even farther.

To read the documents in their entirety, please visit



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