Cherokee court hands out first-ever sentence to non-Indian
What in most courts would have been a simple case of violating a domestic violence protective order was a landmark moment for the Cherokee Tribal Court.
John Michael Arkansas, 55, lives on the Qualla Boundary but is not an enrolled member of the tribe. Until this year, that meant that any crime he committed on Cherokee land would have to go to federal, rather than tribal, court. But when the newly reauthorized version of the Violence Against Women Act went into effect this spring, it gave tribal courts the authority to prosecute cases of domestic violence against their own members — even when the perpetrator was not Indian.