Opinion

Cara Cowan Watts: Cherokee people deserve open government






Cherokee Nation Council Legislator Cara Cowan Watts

Cherokee Nation Council member Cara Cowan Watts questions changes to freedom of information and government records laws:
Transparency goes beyond politics and politicians. Transparency is the hallmark of a great government.

I define transparency as easy to understand, honest and open or not secretive. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is the law which gives individual Cherokees and the Tribal newspaper the right to access information from and about the work of the Cherokee Nation government and its entities. Our Tribal entities include the Tribal businesses such as the Casinos and Housing Authority. FOIA is the law which keeps citizens in the know about their government.

If you want to know how money is spent, who receives Tribal money and more, you would FOIA the documents.

FOIA is an essential tool in any government, so a fixed or required cost of doing business. Tribal money is for the people and should, therefore, be reviewable by the people.

In addition to FOIA, elected officials have the Governmental Records Act (GRA) which gives additional access to documents which may otherwise be considered confidential as governed by the Cherokee Nation Constitution.

Get the Story:
Cara Cowan Watts: Cherokee National: Honest and Open? (The Grand Lake News 6/24)

Also Today:
Tribal Council amends FOIA, GRA (The Cherokee Phoenix 6/18)
Citizens protest against FOIA/GRA amendments (The Cherokee Phoenix 6/4)

Related Stories:
Cherokee Phoenix opposes freedom of information law changes (5/20)