At least 300 years prior to the passage of the United States Constitution, North American democracy began with the Iroquois Confederacy's Law of the Great Peace. The Cherokee belong to the Iroquois language family of eastern North America.
The representative democracy of the Iroquois was extensively studied and praised by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who proposed it as the basis for the United States Constitution. In a backhanded compliment at the Albany Congress in 1754, Franklin said he found it hard to believe that the 13 colonies could not agree to a political union when "Six Nations of ignorant savages" had formed one.
The Cherokee Nation Constitution establishes a blueprint for our tribal government and allows us to construct a set of laws to effectively govern the second largest Indian tribe in the United States.
Adopted by the Delegates of the 1999 Constitution Convention on March 6, 1999; approved for release by the Constitution Convention Style Committee on July 30, 1999; approved for referendum by resolution passed by the Council of the Cherokee Nation on May 15, 2000, and signed by Principal Chief Chadwick Smith on May 24, 2000 (Resolution #31-00); approved by vote of the citizens of the Cherokee Nation on July 26, 2003 and certified by the Cherokee Nation Election Commission on August 7, 2003; ruled effective and ordered implemented by the Cherokee Nation Judicial Appeals Tribunal (now Supreme Court) on June 7, 2006 in Case # JAT-05-04.
Cherokee Nation Constitution Preamble
"We, the People of the Cherokee Nation, in order to preserve our sovereignty, enrich our culture, achieve and maintain a desirable measure of prosperity and the blessings of freedom, acknowledging with humility and gratitude the goodness, aid and guidance of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in permitting us to do so, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the government of the Cherokee Nation".