By-laws of The United Cherokee Nation
1. NAME AND LOCATION OF ORGANIZATION
The name of the organization is The United Cherokee Nation (UCN). The headquarters or National Office of The United Cherokee Nation will be located with the Principal Chief or National Secretary / Treasurer.
2. TRIBAL MEMBERSHIP ORGANIZATION - HISTORY
The United Cherokee Nation (UCN) was formerly constituted under The United Indian Nation, LLC. and was reorganized as The United Cherokee Nation (UCN), a Cherokee Tribal Membership Organization, under the:
*The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978
*The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment
*The Free Exercise Clause of The 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act
The United Cherokee Nation (UCN) will be referred to in the By-Laws as the “organization” or “The UCN”.
3. PURPOSE AND FUNDING
The organization is organized to plan, implement, and administer, operate, and evaluate programs to carry out the object and purpose of the organization to assist in and promote the “Gathering” of the Cherokee Indians and to promote and study the heritage of it’s people for the general benefit and good in the community, in the state and in the nation and to improve the quality of life, to promote cultural events, and to preserve the heritage of the Cherokee Indian Nation. In carrying out its purpose, the organization may seek out and accept voluntary contributions, obtain city, county, state and federal government grants, awards or other funding, public funding, private funding and grants, awards or other funding from private or public charitable organizations and foundations.
4.1. MEMBERSHIP DEFINED.
The membership of the organization shall be open to all persons of Cherokee ancestry. In order to not perpetuate the injustices against, and the divisions among, those American citizens who are descendants of the Cherokees, which are collectively mis-named “Indian” by the European conquering peoples of the Americas, not to view these citizens of Cherokee descent as legal or governmentally designated beings of the United States - rather than racial human beings such as are all other races in America so recognized - the organization therefore accepts the integrity and veracity of the Cherokee descendants. All members shall abide by the organization articles and Bylaws of the organization.
4.1.a FULL MEMBERS
Full Members are defined as those that have paid the initial membership fee, hold a membership ID Card and are current on their dues and are over the age of 18 years old. These members are eligible to hold office and to vote in all tribal elections of the organization. Once the membership application fee is paid, dues are assessed yearly on January 01, to support the organization.
4.1.b FULL MEMBERS-MINORS
Full Members-Minors are defined as those that have paid the membership application fee and are current on their dues and are under the age of 18 years old. These members are not eligible to hold office or to vote in all tribal elections of the organization. Once the membership application fee is paid, dues are assessed yearly January 01, to support the organization.
4.1.c REGISTERED MEMBERS
Deleted June 19, 2013
4.1.d CONVERSION OF REGISTERED MEMBERS TO FULL MEMBERS
Deleted June 19, 2013
4.2. PROOF OF INDIAN ANCESTRY.
Proof of Cherokee ancestry will not be required by The UCN prior to approval of the application or at any time during the period of active membership of the member. A completed notarized application is a sworn testimony that the applicant is of Tsalagi (Cherokee) origin. Further documentation is recommended for the applicant’s personal family records.
4.3. ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP
Non-Cherokees are eligible for associate membership in the organization. Associate members, eighteen (18) years of age or older, have all of the privileges of full members except they cannot vote nor hold an office.
4.4. SPOUSES OF FULL MEMBERS.
Spouses of full members are automatically accepted as associate members of the organization should they choose to register.
4.5. APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP.
Prior to becoming a member or associate member of The UCN, a prospective member shall complete and submit to the National Office, an application that has been signed and notarized by an official notary. The application shall be on a form approved by the Tribal Council. The Principal Chief or National Secretary / Treasurer will review the application, and issue statements of fact; and issue membership ID Cards. In the event there is no local Clan, applicants will have to establish a new State Clan. Then, a State Clan Chief will be appointed by the Tribal Council or elected by the State Clan members.
4.6. APPROVAL OF NEW MEMBERS.
The Principal Chief or National Secretary / Treasurer shall review and evaluate all applications for membership in the organization. The Principal Chief or National Secretary / Treasurer will return the original applications, and keep electronic copies with additional updates, addresses, or personal information changes on the membership Rolls.
4.7. MEMBERSHIP COMPLIANCE WITH RULES.
All members shall abide by the rules and regulations of The UCN, it’s bylaws and it’s articles of the organization.
4.8. HONORARY MEMBERS.
The Principal Chief or the Tribal Council may designate a person as an honorary member based upon their contributions, either financial or by service to the organization.
4.9. INACTIVE MEMBERS.
The Principal Chief or Tribal Council can review and suspend membership based upon being inactive, or not providing updated information. A member of The UCN that has been inactive may apply for active membership in the organization by providing written notice of the desire to return to active status of the organization and a photocopy of their latest membership card.
4.10. EVIDENCE OF MEMBERSHIP.
Persons accepted for membership in the organization will be assigned a permanent identification number. A permanent electronic file will be maintained by the organization containing that person’s application and birth certificate. Termination of activity, suspension, revocation of membership, or death of a member will be entered in this file and kept for posterity. Upon resignation, per Article 4.14, these electronic files will be deleted.
4.11. MEMBERSHIP CONFLICTS.
No person who is a member in good standing of this organization shall be a member of any other corporation, group, association, or organization whose purposes are contrary or in conflict with the organization as may be determined by the Principal Chief or National Secretary / Treasurer or the Tribal Council. The violation of this amendment is grounds for revocation of membership by a vote of the Tribal Council.
4.12. REMOVAL OF A CLAN LEADER.
A Clan Leader may be removed from office for an additional assignment, advancement, or to take his/her place in the general membership by the Principal Chief and the Tribal Council. A Clan Leader will then be called to fill the position.
4.13. ELIGIBLE FOR OFFICE.
All members who are active, full members as defined in these bylaws who are eighteen (18) years of age and above shall be deemed eligible to hold office in the organization.
Any member that requests to resign from The UCN must return their membership paperwork and ID Card with a notarized letter or resignation. There are no exceptions to this, as all membership paperwork and ID Cards remain the property of The UCN at all times, as expressed in that paperwork supplied at time of acceptance of membership. At that time the member will be removed from the membership rolls and their electronic files will be deleted.
5. COMPLAINTS, ACCUSATIONS AND HEARINGS.
5.1. COMPLAINTS AGAINST MEMBERS.
Any member may make in writing to the Principal Chief or National Secretary / Treasurer or the Tribal Council an accusation against any other member of the organization on his knowledge that such other member is violating the terms of his membership or acting against the best interest of The UCN and request that the Tribal Council inquire into the truth of such allegations. The Principal Chief will direct members of the Tribal Council to review the complaint or accusation to determine the truth and accuracy of such complaint and to determine what, if any, action the Tribal Council should take regarding such complaint or accusation. The Tribal Council shall have the right to dismiss the complaint without forwarding it to the Principal Chief. The member who is being investigated shall, during the investigation, retain his membership in good standing with all rights and privileges until and unless the Tribal Council shall vote otherwise.
5.2. SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION.
A person’s membership, full, associate, or honorary, may be suspended or revoked by the Tribal Council for just cause as a result of a written complaint, or upon it’s own motion.
Upon the filing of a written complaint, the recommendation of the membership, or upon it’s own motion, the Principal Chief or National Secretary / Treasurer may notify a member that it proposes to suspend or revoke his or her membership for just cause, such person shall be provided an opportunity for a hearing before the Tribal Council.
5.4. GROUNDS FOR SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION.
A person’s membership may be suspended, revoked or otherwise sanctioned for any willful action that violates the terms of membership or by willfully acting against the best interest of the organization.
5.5. GROUNDS FOR INACTIVE STATUS OR REMOVAL OF NAME FROM MEMBERSHIP ROLLS.
A member’s name shall be listed as inactive in the organization rolls if such member fails or refuses to pay any membership fees, dues or special assessment established by the Tribal Council. A member may be reinstated upon the payment of any delinquent membership dues or assessments.
5.6. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP.
Upon suspension or revocation of membership by the Tribal Council, the member shall cease to be a member in good standing for such time as the suspension shall be in force or until reinstated or readmitted. A suspended member shall automatically be reinstated upon termination of the period of suspension unless the Principal Chief or National Secretary / Treasurer or the Tribal Council shall determine that it is in the best interest of the organization that their membership be revoked, at which time the Tribal Council shall submit to the member their recommendation for revocation and the reason or reasons upon which same is based. A revoked member may not reapply for membership for a period of one year from the date of revocation. He shall reapply as any other person seeking membership in the organization, unless voted out for life. Termination of membership of a member of a family belonging to the organization shall not be deemed to be the termination of the membership of the family.
5.7. MEMBERSHIP CREDENTIALS.
Upon suspension, revocation or resignation, the members shall surrender his membership paperwork and ID Card and all documents in his possession belonging to The UCN and all rights and privileges shall cease during the period of suspension or revocation.
Amended June 30, 2013
Deleted January 07, 2008
6. MEMBERSHIP DUES OR SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS
6.1. DUES AND ASSESSMENTS.
The membership may establish membership fees, dues or special assessments that shall be paid by all members. All members are required to pay yearly dues by vote of the Tribal Council. All dues, fees and assessments shall be established by the Tribal Council and shall be evaluated, reviewed, and published each year. Yearly dues for adult members shall be $ 15.00 and for children under 18 years old $ 15.00 per year. Dues for all members are due and payable on January 01 of each calendar year. Dues are considered overdue as of March 31, members who do not pay their dues by this date will be moved to the inactive list.
6.2. WAIVER OF DUES AND ASSESSMENTS.
The Tribal Council may, for good cause, waive the payment of dues or special assessments by any member provided special circumstances are demonstrated. Members must write to the Tribal Council requesting waiver of dues for each member and or child, this request must state reasons why the waiver should be granted and be demonstrated to the Tribal Council as to why the member cannot support the organization financially. Members granted waiver are restricted from voting and of holding office until dues are brought current.
6.3. INITIAL APPLICATION FEE.
A non-refundable initial application fee for a new application for membership shall be established by the Tribal Council. For Full Members the initial application fee is $35.00, $15.00 is for the first year dues and $ 20.00 is for the membership package and membership ID Card. For Full Members-Minors, children up to 18 years old, the initial application fee is $35.00, $15.00 is for the first year dues and $ 20.00 is for the membership package and membership ID Card.
6.4. ADDITIONAL MEMBERSHIP CARDS.
The fee for additional or replacement picture ID membership cards shall be established by the Tribal Council. The fee is $12.25 for an additional or replacement picture ID Card.
6.5. INACTIVE MEMBERS.
Inactive members of The UCN that apply for Full membership in the organization are not required to pay an initial application fee. The fee for new membership ID Cards for inactive members is $12.25 plus all back dues must be paid or the member must resign and return their paperwork and ID Card and re-apply for membership.
6.6. LOST OR DAMAGED MEMBERSHIP CARDS.
Deleted January 07, 2008 covered by 6.4
7. BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
The Tribal Council shall be comprised of The Principal Chief, Assistant Principal Chief, the National Tribal Secretary / Treasurer, and The Twelve (12) Elders or State Clan Leaders. A member of the Tribal Council shall preside over it’s meetings by priority set forth in listing below. The members of the Tribal Council are advisors to the Principal Chief and vote on issues brought forth by the Principal Chief. If there is a conflict between a vote of the Principal Chief and the Tribal Council, the vote of the Principal Chief will prevail unless the Principal Chief is being removed from office per Article 7.6. The Tribal Council is constituted as follows.
(A) Principal Chief (Chief Executive Officer/Owner)
(B) Vice Principal Chief
(C) National Secretary / Treasurer
(E) State Clan Chiefs
(F) Assistant State Clan Chiefs
(G) State Clan Secretary / Treasurer
7.3. TERMS OF OFFICE.
The Principal Chief shall serve for a term of 5 years and may be re-elected either by vote of the Tribal Council or the members of the organization. Members of the Tribal Council shall serve at the will of the Principal Chief as they are Council to the Principal Chief and will step down when their successors shall have been called and qualified to replace them, as set out herein.
7.4. RULES AND REGULATIONS.
The Principal Chief or the Tribal Council shall make and approve such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out their function or to do anything which may benefit the organization including but not limited to establishing procedures and requirements to maintain membership participation. The rules and regulations shall not be contrary to law, the articles of the organization or these bylaws. A rule, policy or regulation may be modified, amended or repealed by the Tribal Council in the best interest for the members of the organization.
7.5. DUTIES OF THE TRIBAL COUNCIL.
The Principal Chief with approval of the Tribal Council, in its discretion, shall regulate and supervise the day to day affairs of the organization, attend to all internal affairs of the organization and shall have power bestowed upon it by law. It shall create and terminate contracts, and in addition to the powers expressly conferred upon it by these laws, it may exercise all of the powers of the organization and do all such lawful acts and things as are not by stature or the charter or these laws required to be exercised or done by the members, including but not limited to:
(1) Meeting as often as necessary to carry on the day-to-day business affairs of the organization.
(2) Establishing personnel and operational policies to guide the Clans and Tribe in the conduct of their affairs;
(3) Coordinating and, if necessary, arbitrating complaints and disputes which cannot be resolved by the members, and, when necessary, recommending disciplinary action:
(4) Entering into and termination of contracts and agreements; and
(5) Providing policy guidance to the disbursements of funds by the Tribal Council.
7.6. REMOVAL FROM OFFICE.
A Tribal Council members or officer may be removed from office by a vote of no-confidence by two-thirds (2/3) majority of the Tribal Council or by a calling, advancement, or to take his/her place upon the general membership for the express purpose of that member. Special meetings shall be called as provided for herein and for the purpose of removing a Tribal Council member the Tribal Council or the membership must have at least thirty (30) days written notice prior to the date of said meeting. If there is a conflict between a vote of the Tribal Council, the vote of the Principal Chief will prevail unless the Principal Chief is being removed.
If a vacancy occurs (other than the Principal Chief), the Principal Chief shall recommend to the Tribal Council a person to fill the vacancy. Upon the approval of the Tribal Council, that person to fill the unexpired term. In the absence or inability of the Principal Chief to discharge the duties of the office, such duties shall be performed by the Vice-Principal Chief. If the Vice Principal Chief is unable to serve, the Tribal Council, at a called or regularly scheduled meeting, shall designate, by majority vote, the person(s) to perform the duties of the Principal Chief for the unexpired term of office.
9. DUTIES OF OFFICERS
9.1. PRINCIPAL CHIEF
The Principal Chief shall be the Chief Executive Office of the organization and the Chairperson of the Tribal Council and shall preside at all meetings. The Principal Chief shall give direction to the organization and operation of The UCN. The Principal Chief, subject to ratification by the Tribal Council, shall appoint the individuals to the positions provided for in the bylaws; appoint the members and, if appropriate, approve payment of funds in an emergency; and be an ex officio member of all committees. The Principal Chief shall serve for a term of 5 years and may be re-elected either by vote of the Tribal Council or the members of the organization. The Principal Chief may appoint a temporary State Clan leader, from the active members of that Clan who are eligible hereunder to serve. The Principal Chief is directly responsible to the members of The UCN.
9.2. VICE PRINCIPAL CHIEF
The Vice-Principal Chief shall assume the duties of the Principal Chief upon the absence or disability of the Principal Chief; and shall serve in such other capacities as the Principal Chief may direct.
9.3. SECRETARY / TREASURER.
The Secretary / Treasurer shall keep a record of the members, including names, addresses and telephone numbers; record attendance at meetings; record the minutes of the meetings of the membership and the Tribal Council; shall notify members of their appointment; shall send out notices of meetings of the membership and Tribal Council; and shall provide copies of the minutes of such meetings to each member at their request; and shall conduct such correspondence as the Principal Chief shall direct.
The Secretary / Treasurer of the organization shall keep an accurate and up-to-date electronic roll of all members of this organization and shall at least once a year cause a copy of such roster to be printed and placed in the hands of all State Clan Chiefs of the organization pertaining to their Clan. Furthermore, the Secretary / Treasurer shall keep an accurate record of all members and State Clans belonging to this organization.
9.4. PRINCIPAL TRIBAL MOTHER
Deleted March 31, 2009
9.5 TRIBAL ELDER
Tribal Elders shall be appointed by the Principal Chief and approved by vote of the Tribal Council. The appointment as Tribal Elder is for life and carry’s the respect of the membership for a lasting commitment to our collective cause. Requirements are: to be at least 60 years of age, have held a leadership position within a State Clan or National Office and have been a member of The UCN in good standing for 7 consecutive years. The Elders are responsible to all of the members in maintaining the continuity of The UCN and it’s governance therein. It is up to the Principal Chief to decide if they want to appoint any Elder to their Tribal Council for voting purposes, the Elders will continue to advise the Principal Chief and Tribal Council on any and all subjects.
The United Cherokee Nation (UCN), if authorized by Principal Chief and the Tribal Council, may operate its business affairs in operational divisions. Each division may have such employees, supervisors, and volunteers as may be needed to carry out its functions. Each such division shall be subject to the Tribal Council and membership. Each division manager or supervisor shall report to the Principal Chief. The Tribal Council shall adopt rules, regulations, policies and procedures that may be necessary to govern the operations of each division.
10.2. COMPENSATION RESTRICTIONS.
No member of this organization shall be entitled to any portion of the net earnings of the organization except as in form of grants or scholarships as provided in these bylaws. However, this organization may pay a member of this organization for expenses for services rendered to it. The organization may also employ members of the organization to perform specific tasks, as designated by the Principal Chief and the Tribal Council, paying them in funds designated for that purpose.
All contracts shall be approved by the Principal Chief and no loans shall be made by any officer of the organization or any loan secured on behalf of the organization without the authority of the Principal Chief and no mortgage, deed to secure debt, deed note or other legal document whatsoever shall be executed except upon the authority of the Principal Chief.
Any land designated as “reservation” by the organization will be designated on the deed as owned by the organization. The deed and/or mortgage will be placed in the hands of the Principal Chief and approved by the Tribal Council. Rules and restrictions may be authorized by the Tribal Council.
Funds raised by State Clans, where the name or logo or Tax ID of the organization is not exploited, may be kept by the State Clan treasury.
All donations to The UCN are not tax deductible. All financing put out by the State Clans or members will be counted as a donation, unless designated by the Principal Chief to reimburse the appropriate person or State Clan.
11.1. ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING.
The annual meeting of the members of the organization may be held in various locations, on a day, and at a time designated by the Principal Chief and the Tribal Council.
11.2. NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING.
A regular notice of the annual meeting shall be emailed to each members of record at their email address as it appears upon the rolls of the organization directory no less then two weeks prior to the meeting by the Secretary / Treasurer of the organization or by such other person designated by the Principal Chief.
11.3. REGULAR MEETING OF TRIBAL COUNCIL.
Regular meetings may be held monthly or as more often as the Tribal Council deem necessary at such time and place as shall be determined by the Tribal Council and may be held in conjunction with the regular monthly meeting of the members. Regular email communications and business transacted or electronic votes, between the Principal Chief and the members of the Tribal Council shall be considered a meeting of the Tribal Council.
11.4. SPECIAL MEETINGS OF THE TRIBAL COUNCIL OR MEMBERSHIP.
A special meeting of the Tribal Council or the membership may be held at the call of the Principal Chief or the Secretary / Treasurer or by a majority of the Tribal Council or upon the call by petition of any fifty members of the organization. Special meetings shall be held in a place, date, and time designated in the call.
A regular or special meeting of the Tribal Council or the membership shall require a ten (10) day written email notice. This notice may be waived for emergency called meetings provided reasonable notice has been given, a quorum is present and those councilors or members present sign a waiver of the written notice requirement.
11.6. SPECIAL MEETING BUSINESS.
The business to be transacted at all special meetings of the Tribal Council or the membership shall be confined to the matters set forth in the notice of the meeting. This restriction shall not apply if there are two-thirds (2/3) of the members present at the meeting.
11.8. DISRUPTION OF MEETINGS.
No member of this organization shall be allowed to remain at any meeting or at any function of the organization or otherwise be allowed to participate in any way in any meeting or function while drinking any alcoholic beverage or under the influence of any drug or alcohol or while in possession of any drug or alcohol, unless such drugs are prescribed by a doctor. Likewise, no guest shall be allowed to remain or participate as specified above while drinking or using, being under the influence of or in possession of any drug or alcohol, unless such drugs are prescribed by a doctor.
11.9. OPEN MEETINGS.
All meetings of the Tribal Council shall be open to members.
13. RULES AND REGULATIONS
The Tribal Council may adopt such reasonable rules and regulations as may be necessary and appropriate to carry on the business of the organization. Unless in conflict with these bylaws all meetings of the organization shall conform to these laws.
Each person who was or is made a party or is threatened to be made a party to or is otherwise involved in any threatened, pending or completed action, suit of proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative (hereinafter a “proceeding”), by reason of the fact he or she, or a person of whom he or she is a legal representative, is or was a member, shall be indemnified and held harmless by the, as the same exists or may hereafter be amended (but in the case of any such amendment, only to the extent that such amendment permits the organization to provide broader indemnification rights than the codes permitted the organization to provide prior to such amendment, against all expenses, liability and loss (including attorney’s fees, judgments, fines, arias excise, taxes or penalties, and amounts paid or to be paid in settlement), actually and reasonably incurred or suffered by such member who has ceased to be a member and shall inure to the benefit of the member’s heirs, executors and administrators. Except with respect to proceedings to enforce rights to indemnification by a member, the organization shall indemnify any such member in connection with a proceeding (or part thereof) initiated by such member only if such proceeding (or part thereof) was authorized by the Tribal Council of the organization. The right to indemnification conferred in this article shall be a contract right.
These bylaws may be altered or amended and additional bylaws adopted by a majority vote at any annual meeting of the Tribal Council, if in the notice of such special meeting, the proposed amendment of the new bylaws shall be set forth verbatim, or by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at any members’ meeting having a quorum where the notice of such amendment or new bylaws is not given: provided, however, that no change in the time or place for the election of the Tribal Council shall be made within thirty (30) days next before the day on which such election is to be held without the written consent of all the Tribal Council members.
16. EFFECTIVE DATE
These bylaws shall be effective as Amended by vote of the Principal Chief, on June 19, 2013.