Court Order Stops Group Claiming To Be Cherokee Nation

Saturday, September 2nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Cherokee Nation is celebrating their biggest holiday of the year the Cherokee National Holiday.

But who is the real Cherokee Nation?

There’s another group that says it should be getting federal recognition as the real Cherokees, and members have even made car tags and coins with their name on it.

Car tags from the Cherokee Nation aren't something you see very often.

In fact, there's only about 200 vehicles in the state wearing them.

"I seen it said Cherokee Nation tag office and I went in there I thought it would be a good thing to have. I gave them my old title and they gave me a new title and tag," says Larry Beavers.

Beavers got his tag two weeks ago, but now he wants his money back since the office has been shut down temporarily by a district judge.

"I've heard from several different people that the tag is no good that I could get stopped and get a ticket for having it on my truck," says Beavers.

Art Nave and Robin Mayes are the leaders of the group attempting to reorganize the Cherokee Nation.

They've printed the car tags and a coin that they say represent the true Cherokee Nation.

"We don't believe the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is constitutionally sound," says Nave.

Nave says the current Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is acting under a constitution that hasn't been federally approved.

"The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is simply a paper tiger and we can hear the tear if the Cherokee people listen closely. Their demise has begun," says Nave.

But the current Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma says they are valid and are recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"The Cherokee people know who the government of the Cherokee Nation is. You can't set up your own government you can't decide you are going to be a government of a nation," says Mike Miller, Cherokee Nation Communications Director.

The two groups went to court on Thursday and the judge ordered the Nave and his group to stop selling the car tags and coins.

The judge said they have no more right than any other U.S. citizens to claim to be "the" Cherokee Nation.

"I think if you read the judges order you can see his words he has called their group a fraud," says Miller.

The Cherokees return to court later this month for a hearing about the coins and cars tags, that's where the judge will decide just who can claim to be the Cherokee Nation.

The official Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma says it is working to get legal Cherokee Nation car tags that will be recognized across the United States.