TULSA, Okla. (AP) Several Cherokee Nation tribal councilors filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the tribe, alleging that councilors in the majority gerrymandered voter district lines to favor their side of the split council.
The lawsuit, filed in Cherokee Nation court, claims that the council approved voter redistricting in July based on unfairly drawn districts to favor certain councilors.
Councilors who voted for the approved map argued at the July meeting that the map was legally drawn based on population and that alternative maps should have been brought forward and argued for during earlier committee meetings.
The Tribal Council as a whole filed its own request last week for the court to interpret the law regarding the district lines passed in July.
"That legal action, which will completely resolve all legal issues was filed Friday," Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.
"In view of the council's action last week, Councilor (Cara) Cowan Watts' lawsuit serves no purpose."
A previous court judgment required the redistricting to change the Cherokee Nation council districts from a five-district map with three councilors per district to a one-councilor-per-district map with 15 districts.
According to the latest lawsuit, the council is frequently split between a majority party and a minority party - illustrated by the 10 councilors who voted for the map and the seven who voted against it.
Hoskin is one of the leaders of the majority party referenced in the lawsuit; Cowan Watts is the leader of the minority party.
Referencing the approved map, the lawsuit alleges that newly drawn lines favor Councilors Tina Glory Jordan, Joe Byrd, David Walkingstick, Frankie Hargis and Jodie Fishinghawk, who are in the majority group and live close to other districts.