Greater Wichita Area Cherokee Community (GWACC) By Laws
Mission & Purpose – The Greater Wichita Area Cherokee Community (GWACC) is a community of Cherokees dedicated to Cherokee history, culture, heritage, tradition, and fellowship. We are a non-political, non-profit 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. It is critically important that we find innovative ways to retain Cherokee people in stronger ties of culture and responsible citizenship. We believe the concept of new “towns” is one way to achieve this goal.
ARTICLE I: MEMBERSHIP
1) Qualifications of Members- GWACC Membership shall be maintained at 60% to 40% Cherokee household to non- Cherokee household. Applicant will be granted membership upon payment of a one-time membership fee. Applicable fees are listed on page 2 of application form. For approval of membership, applicant will complete the application form of the GWACC. Membership fee shall apply per individual or 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 household shall receive newsletters and individual members shall receive voting rights in GWACC. 3) Termination of Membership – Membership may be terminated by the Council for the following reasons: (a) violation of the by-laws of the GWACC and/or 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 process of reaching consensus on, the question of their termination. The decision of the Council is final.
1) Types of Subscriptions – Non-members may receive an annual electronic subscription to the newsletter by submitting a request through the GWACC council. Non-members may request a paper copy, there will be a cost associated to cover cost. 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 are at the discretion of the Council.
ARTICLE III: MEETINGS
1) Types of Meetings – A general meeting of the GWACC shall be held bi-monthly. Council shall also meet bi-monthly at a regular time, which shall be decided upon annually by the Council upon their election. 2) Notifications of Meetings – The membership will be notified ten (10) days in advance of the time and place of all general meetings.
ARTICLE IV: COUNCIL
1) Composition of the Council –
The Council shall be comprised of seven members, at least four of who shall be registered members of the Cherokee Nation. Each of the seven must be a GWACC 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. A Council member may serve two full terms (four years) and then must sit out one year before running again. 3) Council Positions and Duties – The positions on the Council shall be as follows: (a) Meeting Facilitator, who shall organize the agenda, coordinate, and conduct Council meetings, (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, (c) Membership Coordinator, who shall keep updated membership rolls, compile an annual membership directory, provide notification of pending renewal dates to members, and supply current membership lists 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 Coordinator and provide financial information as needed to Cherokee Nation, (e) 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 act as the representative spokesperson for the organization to the public as directed by the Council, (f) General Meeting Coordinator (1), who shall organize the agendas and coordinate general meetings and who shall alternate bi-monthly in conducting the general meetings, (g) General Meeting Coordinator (2), who shall organize the agendas and coordinate general meetings and who shall alternate bi-monthly in conducting the 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. 4) Quorum – A quorum of the Council shall be reached when a majority of the council members are present. No official business shall be acted upon unless a quorum is present. 5) Attendance – Council members shall be required to attend at least 4 of scheduled Council meetings and 4 of scheduled general meetings per year. Electronic attendance (i.e.; Skype) will be acceptable.
6) Vacancy – In case of a vacancy, the remaining Council members shall elect a member to serve the remainder of the vacated term. 7) Youth Representative – There shall be a non-voting youth member of the Council. The youth member will be elected by popular vote of youth members annually, with a limit of two terms. In order to be considered for the position, youth must meet the following requirements prior to the election: Read and acknowledge understanding of the GWACC by-laws Be a minimum of 14 years of age and no more than 18 years of age at the time of election Submit a 100-word biography to the Council Provide a letter of recommendation from a non-relative adult to the Council
ARTICLE V: ELECTIONS
1) Election Committee – Sixty 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. Candidates and their families are ineligible to serve on the election committee. 2) Announcements of Candidates – Candidates must declare their candidacy no later than thirty (30) 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 thirty days prior to the election, then the Election Committee will recruit additional candidates. 3) Election Procedures – Secret balloting shall be conducted at a community meeting. Each voting member shall receive a ballot. Marked ballots shall be placed in ballot box to be counted and announced by end of meeting. The ballots shall be opened and counted at the general meeting in which the election takes place. One Election Committee member shall open the envelope and remove the ballot. A second Election Committee member shall record the number on the ballot. The third Election Committee member shall record the votes on the ballot. After all votes have been counted, they shall be recounted by the entire Election Committee or 3 members in attendance for a verification of the results. In the event that more non-registered members run for elected office than are allowed, the non-registered member with the least amount of votes will be eliminated and the position will automatically go to the registered applicant with the next highest number of votes. The announcement of the new Council members shall be made at the meeting by the Election Committee, but the vote totals will not be announced. Individual candidates may inquire privately of the Election Committee to obtain their own vote totals. In case of a tie, the Election Committee shall conduct a runoff election by secret vote among the members present at the meeting to break the tie. The Election Committee will keep the ballots for thirty (30) days after the election. After thirty days the ballots shall be destroyed and the Election Committee disbanded. 4) Quorum A quorum of fifty percent plus one (50% plus one) of the eligible voting members in attendance must be achieved in order for the election to be valid.
ARTICLE VI: 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 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. The vote to accept proposed amendments shall be conducted by members in attendance. 2) Accepting Amendments – A quorum of sixty per cent (60%) of total ballots needs to be returned for a valid election to amend by-laws.
ARTICLE VII: 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 GWACC – All donations or honorariums made by the GWACC up to fifty dollars ($50 US) must be approved by the Council. Donations or honorariums over fifty dollars ($50 US) must also be approved by the membership by vote. The upcoming vote shall be announced in the newsletter and shall be taken at the next general meeting. A simple majority shall prevail.
ARTICLE VIII: REPORTS
1) Required Reports – The Treasurer shall make bi-monthly financial reports to the Council and semi-annual written reports to the membership. The Council will make semi-annual written reports to the membership. The Membership Coordinator shall compile a membership directory for annual distribution to members.
ARTICLE IX: COMMITTEES
1) Oversight of Committees – The Council shall oversee the functions of all committees. 2) Types of Committees – There shall be a standing committee called the Newsletter Committee to produce and mail the newsletter. The Newsletter Committee shall be formed by volunteers from the membership. Other committees may be formed as necessity dictates.
ARTICLE X: ENDORSEMENTS AND REPRESENTATIONS
No member of GWACC shall use the name of the GWACC in political campaigns or as an endorsement of any candidate for political office in the Cherokee Nation or any other election. The GWACC as an organization is prohibited from campaigning for or endorsing any
candidate for political office in the Cherokee Nation or any other election. 2) Representations
No member of the GWACC 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. GWACC members may state their membership for identification purposes only on resumes and other similar applications.
ARTICLE XI: DISSOLUTION
1) Procedure GWACC may dissolve at any time by a 2/3 vote of the membership, provided that at least five days notice of the proposal to dissolve has been given to all members. 2) Distribution of Assets In the event of the dissolution of GWACC, all remaining assets will be distributed only to organizations which are exempt from taxation under section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or successor provisions thereto.