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We, the Nde, Chiricahua Apache people, have suffered nearly three centuries of aggressive genocidal wars that killed, starved, impoverished, and exiled the majority of our people and in some places those sentiments and prejudice still exist. We have had much of our ancestral lands expropriated, been stripped of much of our jurisdiction over the remnant, and suffered the imposition of foreign and alien laws hostile to our sovereignty. Our people have been divided, dispersed, denied our political, economic, social, and cultural rights, and deprived of our right to political integrity and self-government. Our right to free trade has been disrupted and prohibited, we have been taxed without our consent, our agreements have been unilaterally violated in bad faith by the United States, and our natural resources, as well as our spiritual patrimony, have been plundered by public and private interests.

Yet, to this day, the spirit of Ussen thrives in the hearts and minds of the Chiricahua Apache people and in the deep canyons, grassy valleys, thick forests, and high mountains of our ancestral lands. And so it is now time to unify the Chiricahua Apache people, restore Chiricahua Apache ancestral lands and sacred sites, enforce the 1872 Cochise-Howard Treaty, and reclaim and strengthen our culture and traditions. Accordingly, we, the Chiricahua Apache people, seize this moment to exercise our inherent tribal sovereignty and right to self-government, self determination.

Thus do we, the Nde people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation, four allied bands, known as: the Tsi-he-nde (“chihene”) Red Paint People, Nde-nda-ai (“ned-nehi”) Surrounds the Enemy People, Tsoka-ne-nde (“chokonen”) Toes up-turned People, Bi-dan-ku (“be-don-kohe”) Running Water Mud People, “Eagles of the Southwest”, the proud descendants of Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, Fun, Loco, Pluma, Cuchillo Negro, Nana, Victorio, Goyathlay, Caballo Liguero,

    (1) to perpetuate forever the survival of our Nation and protect it from forces that threaten its existence;
    (2) to preserve and protect our eternal sovereignty;
    (3) to promote our common defense and general welfare;
    (4) to insure tranquility and harmony, and secure the blessings of freedom and prosperity to us and our descendants;
    (5) to strengthen and perfect our historic powers of representative government, and govern ourselves by our own laws;
    (6) to reacquire our ancestral lands to the maximum extent possible, and protect our territory, sacred sites, valleys, mountains, monuments, natural resources, and trade routes;
    (7) to guarantee individual and aboriginal rights under natural law and enforce our treaties; and
    (8) to honor our ancestors by preserving and promoting our sacred culture, knowledge, language, and religious beliefs and practices, and passing them on to future generations forever;

acknowledge, with humility and gratitude, the goodness of the Creator, Ussen, as well as protection of the Ga-he (“Mountain Spirit Dancers”), guiding us so to do, and implore his aid and guidance in its accomplishment, as we do ordain, proclaim, and establish, as an incident of our sovereign powers, this Constitution for the government of the Chiricahua Apache Nation.

This Constitution supersedes the by-laws of the Chiricahua Apache Alliance, a non-profit state chartered corporation of Arizona and New Mexico, as well as any and all traditional forms of governance. All authority previously exercised by Chiricahua Apache individuals and groups on behalf of the Chiricahua Apache Nation shall cease as of the effective date of this Constitution, and any responsibility undertaken by such individuals and groups shall hereinafter be the sole responsibility of the Chiricahua Apache Nation as organized pursuant to this Constitution.

 

Authority

(a) The Chiricahua Apache Nation, which has existed as a sovereign nation since time immemorial, has been acknowledged as a sovereign Indian nation by the United States since the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship between the United States of America and the Chiricahua Apache Nation of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979), signed by Mangus Colorado, ratified by the U.S. Senate on 23 March 1853, and proclaimed by President Millard Fillmore on 25 March 1853.

(b) The Chiricahua Apache Nation engages with Federal, State, local and other Native nations on a government-to-government basis. This Constitution is an act of selfdetermination and delegates specific authority from the Chiricahua Apache people to the Chiricahua Apache Nation and its governing bodies, reserving to the Chiricahua Apache people all authority not delegated. Officials and employees of the governing bodies shall have no authority to act in a manner contrary to the text of this Constitution.

(c) All political power is inherent in the Chiricahua Apache people, and the Chiricahua Apache Nation is founded on their authority and instituted for their benefit. Thus, the Chiricahua Apache people have the natural, unalienable and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish their government in such manner as they shall judge proper and expedient, provided first resort is made to elections, constitutional amendments, and other procedures provided herein.

(d) The Chiricahua Apache Nation shall have no authority to act contrary to, or beyond the scope of, the objectives enumerated in the Preamble to this Constitution.