By-Laws of the San Diego Cherokee Community
Revision 1.0, Approved by San Diego Cherokee Community 27Jan2008
By-Laws of the San Diego Cherokee Community
Mission and Purpose
The San Diego Cherokee Community (SDCC) is a community of Cherokees dedicated to Cherokee history,
culture, heritage, tradition, and fellowship. We are a non-political, nonprofit Native American
organization whose members reside outside the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation and Bands. We
have come together on the basis of our shared history and heritage, and out of an interest in the
continuation of and a love for the Cherokee People and Nations.
ARTICLE I: MEMBERSHIP
1) Qualifications of Members
Membership shall be granted to an applicant upon payment of annual dues of twenty-five dollars
($25.00 US) for individuals and thirty-five ($35.00 US) for families and completion and approval of the
application form of the SDCC. Annual dues shall apply per household. At the time of application each
household shall designate the names of participating members over eighteen (18) years of age at the
same address for voting purposes.
The approval of all membership applications is at the discretion of the Council.
2) Rights and Obligations of Members
Upon payment of membership dues, a member or household shall receive one newsletter per publishing
date and individual members over the age of 18 shall receive voting rights in SDCC.
3) Termination of Membership
Membership may be terminated by the Council for the following reasons: (a) violation of the By-Laws of
the SDCC and/or (b) action that is detrimental to the organization.
Only the Council has authority to investigate and/or terminate a membership. However, any member is
entitled to bring to the Council a grievance concerning conduct by any member or Council member
which they believe to be a violation of the By-Laws and/or action that is detrimental to the organization.
The Council shall investigate all grievances. As part of the investigation, the Council is obliged to receive
testimony and evidence from the member in question in their own defense. A membership may be
terminated only after a consensus of the members of the Council is reached. If a member of the Council
is under investigation, he or she may not participate and shall not be counted in the vote of termination.
ARTICLE II: SUBSCRIPTIONS
1) Types of Subscriptions
Non-members may receive an annual subscription to the newsletter upon payment of twenty-five
dollars ($25.00 US).
Honorary subscriptions to the newsletter shall also be provided to specified non-members at the
discretion of the Council. Such subscriptions may include, but are not limited to, the Principal Chief and
Deputy Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the members of the Tribal Council of the Cherokee Nation, and
other selected community leaders and representatives.
The approval of all subscriptions is at the discretion of the Council.
Telephone and email addresses of Members will only be made available outside the SDCC Council and
SDCC parent organizations of the Cherokee Nation with the express permission of members.
ARTICLE III: MEETINGS
1) Types of Meetings
A general meeting of the SDCC shall be held on the fourth Sunday of each month or at such times as
approved by the Council.
In addition, the Council shall also meet at the Council’s discretion.
2) Notifications of Meetings
The membership will be notified ten (10) days in advance of the time and place of all general meetings
and Council members will be notified ten (10) days in advance of the time and place of all council
ARTICLE IV: COUNCIL
1) Composition of the Council
The Council shall be comprised of seven members, at least four of whom shall be registered members of
the Cherokee Nation. Each of the seven must be a SDCC member in good standing. Only one member
of any family and/or household may serve at any given time.
2) Terms of the Council
Council members shall serve a term of two years. The terms shall be staggered as follows: upon the
initial election of seven council members, the top four vote-getters will take two-year terms. The
remaining three will take one-year terms. Thereafter, all Council members will be elected to two-year
terms. In the event of ties, the term selection shall be resolved by coin tosses.
A Council member may serve two full terms (four years) and then must sit out one year before running
Council Positions and Duties
The positions on the Council shall be as follows:
Meeting Facilitator, who shall organize the agenda, coordinate, and conduct Council and
(b) Records Keeper, who shall take attendance and keep minutes at Council and general
meetings and who shall maintain all other records except as herein provided;
Membership Coordinator, who shall keep updated membership rolls, compile an annual
membership directory for distribution to the membership, provide notification of
pending renewal dates to members, and supply current membership lists monthly to
the newsletter committee;
(d) Treasurer, who shall keep all financial accounts, and who shall convey information
concerning the dues of new and renewed memberships to the Membership
Alternate Facilitator and Records Keeper/Community Relations, who shall facilitate
meetings or keep records in the absence of the regular Facilitator or Records Keeper,
and who shall facilitate meetings or keep records in the absence of the regular
Facilitator or Records Keeper, and who shall act as the representative spokesperson for
the organization to the public as directed by the Council;
(f and g) Program Coordinators, who shall alternate in performing the tasks of organizing
the agendas, the coordination and the planning of general meetings.
These positions will be designated by the Council members at the first Council meeting after the annual
election and will be designated for a period of time that is at least, but not limited to, one year.
All Council members shall transfer any records that they maintain in their possession to their successors
throughout the life of the organization.
A quorum of the Council shall be reached when four (4) members are present. No official business shall
be acted upon unless a quorum is present.
Council members who fail to attend three successive meetings or four total council meetings for which
at least a 10-day notice has been given may be relieved of their place on the Council by a majority vote
by the other members of the Council.
In case of vacancy, the remaining Council members shall elect a member to serve the remainder of the
ARTICLE V: AMENDMENTS
1) Proposing Amendments
Any member may propose an amendment to these By-Laws by submitting to the Council at least sixty
(60) days prior to the election of the Council members. The Council will collect all proposed
amendments and present them for a vote annually at the same time and in the same manner as the
election for Council members. The Council shall have the discretion to bring any proposed amendment
to the immediate vote of the membership if such urgency is deemed necessary.
2) Accepting Amendments
An affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the returned ballots is required to pass an amendment.
3) Required Amendments
In the event that amendments to these by-laws be required by a parent organization within the
Cherokee Nation of which SDCC may become a Chapter, such amendments may be
incorporated by a majority approval by the Council.
ARTICLE VI: GIFTS AND DONATIONS
1) Acceptance of Gifts and Donations
All gifts and donations must be approved by the Council before acceptance.
2) Contributions by the Organization (SDCC)
All donations or honorariums made by the SDCC up to fifty dollars ($50.00 US) must be approved by the
Treasurer. Donations or honorariums over fifty dollars ($50.00 US) and up to two hundred fifty ($250.00
US) must be pre-approved by the Council. Donations or honorariums over two hundred fifty ($250.00)
must be approved by the general membership vote. The upcoming vote shall be announced in the
newsletter or by mail and shall be taken at the next general meeting. A simple majority vote of
members present at that meeting shall prevail.
ARTICLE VII: REPORTS
1) Required Reports
The Treasurer shall make monthly financial reports to the Council and annual written reports to the
The Council will make an itemized annual written report to the membership.
The Membership Coordinator shall compile a membership directory for distribution.
ARTICLE VIII: COMMITTEES
1) Oversight of Committees
The Council shall oversee the function of all committees.
2) Types of Committees
There shall be a standing committee called the Newsletter Committee to produce and mail the periodic
newsletter. The Newsletter Committee shall be formed by volunteers from the membership.
There shall be a Program Committee that assists the Program Coordinators in planning and coordinating
programs for the general meetings.
Other committees may be formed if approved by the Council.
ARTICLE IX: ENDORSEMENTS AND REPRESENTATIONS
No member of SDCC shall use the name of the San Diego Cherokee Community in political campaigns as
an endorsement of any candidate for political office in the Cherokee Nation or any other election.
The SDCC as an organization is prohibited from campaigning for or endorsing any candidate for political
office in any election.
No member of the SDCC shall use the name of the organization to represent themselves for direct
commercial gain, or for purposes of self-promotion or the promotion of any individual’s outside
interests, except with permission from the Council. SDCC members may state their membership for
identification purposes only on resumes and other similar applications.
3) Youth Representative
There shall be a non-voting honorary member to the Council to represent the youth. This member is not
bound by attendance requirements. The position shall be appointed by the Council.
ARTICLE X: ELECTIONS
1) Election Committee
Ninety days prior to the election for Council members, the Election Committee shall be selected. It shall
consist of three (3) members of voting age who are in good standing. The Election Committee shall be
selected at random by lottery or games of chance from the pool of applicants.
Candidates and their families are ineligible to serve on the Election Committee.
2) Announcements of Candidates
Candidates must declare their candidacy no later than sixty (60) days in advance of the election. They
will provide a written statement of candidacy and a biographical sketch of no more than 200 words to
the Election Committee for publication in the newsletter.
If not enough candidates declare within sixty days prior to the election, then the Election Committee will
recruit additional candidates.
3) Election Procedures
Secret ballots shall be collected by mail or delivered in person to the Election Committee prior to the
counting of the votes at the general meeting on Election Day. Each voting member shall be mailed a
ballot, a sample of which will also be available on-line, at least fourteen (14) days in advance of the
election. Marked ballots received by mail must be received back by the Election Committee by the
Friday prior to election day in order to be valid. The day of the election shall be on a general meeting
day. After all votes have been counted, and if a recount is requested by any Member, they shall be
recounted by the entire Election Committee for a verification of the results.
The Election Committee will keep the ballots and the return envelopes for thirty (30) days after the
election. After thirty (30) days, the ballots shall be destroyed and the Election Committee disbanded.
4) Voting Ties
In case of a tie, the Election Committee shall conduct a run-off election by secret ballot voting among
the members present at the election-day general meeting to break the tie. The candidate with a
majority of the votes wins.
5) Valid Elections
No quorums are established for Council Member elections which are decided by simple majority of
votes cast. Because the council positions must be composed of four Cherokee Nation (CN) citizen
candidates at a minimum, the top four vote-getting CN citizen candidates win places on the council. The
remaining candidates (CN citizens or voting SDCC members) with the largest number of votes win the
remaining three places on the council. If no one candidate gets a majority, the Election Committee shall
settle it by secret ballot voting among the members present at the election-day general meeting; the
runoff will be between the top two vote recipients.
6) Additional Election Procedures
The Council may, from time to time, establish additional procedural details for conducting elections.
Such procedures shall comply with these by-laws and be posted on the Community’s website.
The following guidelines for elections within the SDCC may be modified by majority
approval of the Council.
Ninety (90) days prior to the election for Council members, the Election Committee shall
be selected by the Council.
The Election Committee shall consist of three (3) members of voting age who are in
The Election Committee shall be selected at random by lottery or games of chance from
the pool of applicants.
Candidates must declare their candidacy no later than sixty (60) days in advance of the
election. They will provide a written statement of candidacy and a biographical sketch
of no more than 200 words to the election Committee for publication in the newsletter.
If not enough candidates declare within sixty days prior to the election, then the
Election Committee will recruit additional candidates.
Each eligible SDCC voting member shall be mailed a ballot, with a stamped, SDCC-
labeled return envelope in a sealed envelope, at least fourteen (14) days in advance of
the election. A sample of the ballot will be available on-line.
One ballot and return envelope shall be placed in each voter’s election package and the outer
envelope shall be sealed. The Membership Coordinator shall then provide mailing labels that
shall be applied to the envelopes.
Voters will mark their ballot, fold it, seal the ballot in the envelope, shall print their
name, sign the back of the envelope, and mail the ballot. It may be delivered in person.
Mailed ballots must be received on the Friday prior to the Election Day to be valid.
Ballots delivered in person must be handed to the Election Committee prior to the
counting of the votes at the general meeting on Election Day in order to be valid.
10. The day of the election shall be on a general meeting day.
11. The ballots shall be opened and counted at the meeting in which the election takes
place by the Election Committee.
12. One Election Committee member shall verify voter eligibility by comparing the printed
name on the outside of the sealed ballot against the list of eligible SDCC voters’ names
provided by the Membership Coordinator. If the vote is valid, the name is checked as
13. The Second Election Committee member shall open the sealed envelope,
folded ballot, save the envelope, and put the ballot into the ballot box.
14. After all valid voters’ ballots present are placed in the ballot box, the Third Election
Committee member shall remove the ballots from the box, one by one, and record the
votes on each issue.
15. After all votes have been counted, and if a recount is requested by any Member, the
entire Election Committee shall recount the votes for a verification of the results.
16. The Election Committee will keep the ballots and the return envelopes for thirty (30)
days after the election. After thirty (30) days, the ballots shall be destroyed and the
Election Committee disbanded.
17. In case of a tie, the Election Committee shall conduct a run-off election by secret ballot
voting by the members present at the election-day general meeting to break the tie.
The candidate with a majority of the votes wins.
18. No quorums are established for Council Member elections, which are decided by simple
majority of votes cast. If no one candidate gets a majority, the Election Committee shall
settle it by secret ballot voting by the members present at the election-day general
meeting; the runoff will be between the top two vote recipients.
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