Mr. Hoskin, who was among those brought to testify before the panel, said he would be open to such a step, especially if lawmakers continued to pursue more permanent legislation.
“It’d be breathtaking for the next Congress to say we’re going to then break this promise,” Mr. Hoskin told the panel. “Now, I’m a tribal leader — I know my history and the United States has broken a promise or two.”
“But I think in the 21st century, when this House of Representatives seats Kim Teehee, there won’t be another Congress that will dare break that promise to the Cherokee Nation,” he added.
Lawmakers also raised questions about whether seating a delegate from the Cherokee Nation would open opportunities for other tribes to pursue similar representation. The Delaware Nation, which signed a treaty with the United States in 1778, and the Choctaw Nation, which signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek of 1830, may have similar rights to a delegate in the House and have already reached out to lawmakers, Mr. McGovern said.
But it appeared that the House would first focus on the right raised by the Cherokee Nation. After Ms. Teehee was named as a delegate in 2019, she went to Washington for a series of meetings on Capitol Hill to begin educating lawmakers about the position.
Those meetings, however, were cut short by the pandemic, during which Ms. Teehee and Cherokee leaders turned their focus to lobbying for resources to protect their members as the coronavirus spread. With the end of the current Congress approaching, however, the Cherokee Nation has revamped its efforts to see Ms. Teehee seated, dropping advertisements in at least one political newsletter on Capitol Hill and rallying lawmakers and voters to support the issue.
Ms. Teehee grew up in Claremore, Okla., with parents who still speak the Cherokee language. She still collects American currency issued between 1915 and 1919, all signed by Houston Benge Teehee, a distant relative and the first Native American to serve as registrar for the Treasury.