Wes Nofire Stands Strong for the Cherokee Constitution
The freshman tribal councilor represented the lone vote against a resolution that is set to give unchecked spending power to Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr.
In a stunning move Monday, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council convened to pass a resolution that will give Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. the ability to execute contracts that would otherwise require prior approval by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, a move that many Cherokee citizens and constitutional scholars expressed major concern over.
Prior to the vote, a number of tribal attorneys and constitutional scholars expressed on social media their thoughts on the issue, specifically the constitutionality of the measure. Despite this, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council passed this legislation on a nearly unanimous 16-1 vote, with Councilor Wes Nofire of Cherokee County as the lone vote against.
Tulsa tribal attorney John Parris said on a live broadcast Sunday evening, "There is a doctrine called the unconstitutional delegation of power, and where the Constitution is very clear and specific that it gives the power to one branch or the other, that has to be respected." He continued to say that, "if the contracts are not brought before the legislature, it leads to corruption very quickly, and even if everything is done right, it leads to suspicion."
David Cornsilk, a long-time Cherokee activist and constitutional scholar also shared his thoughts on the resolution, stating that he firmly believes that the measure is unconstitutional and could result in the removal from office of any council members who vote in favor.
Following the vote, Councilor Nofire took to Facebook to share his reasoning for voting against the legislation. He said, "In today’s Council Meeting I voted no on a Resolution authorizing the Principal Chief to execute certain contracts. I have spent hours and days, thinking, reading, discussing with councilors, the Chief, but most importantly I have heard from the citizens. This resolution asked the council to forgo its duty of approving loans, and granted the Principal Chief that authority. I agree that we need to be proactive as possible and prepare for any issues that arise. But I couldn’t support something that maybe unconstitutional."
The resolution is set to expire June 15, or with the expiration of any emergency disaster declaration by the chief.