The Cherokee Nation is the sovereign government of the Cherokee people. It operates under a ratified Constitution with a tripartite government with executive, legislative and judicial branches. Services are administered under the Executive Branch through the Principal Chief and Deputy Principal Chief and their cabinet members. Laws are enacted by and financial oversight managed by a 17-member legislative body, the Tribal Council. Cherokee Nation Tribal Courts are open to every person or entity within the 14-county jurisdiction of the Cherokee Nation in northeastern Oklahoma unless specifically limited by statute. Cherokee Nation’s District Court handles civil, criminal and juvenile matters, while the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court hears cases of appeals and other matters, as may be conferred by statute.
The positions of Principal Chief, Deputy Principal Chief, and Tribal Council representative are popularly elected by the citizens of the Cherokee Nation and serve four-year terms. Supreme Court justices and District Court judges are nominated by the Principal Chief and confirmed by the Tribal Council.