Cort Gallup wishes to run for a seat in Hawaii's House of Representatives. However, he is having a difficult time qualifying. The Maui County Clerk’s Office has ruled that Gallup has not proven that he is a U.S. citizen. He is therefore ineligible to vote or to run for office. Gallup says that this is rubbish; he claims U.S. citizenship because of his Native American ancestry.
Gallup was born in Canada. U.S. laws state that a foreign-born person can claim U.S. citizenship if at least one parent was a citizen. Gallup says that both of his parents were Native American Indians and were qualified for U.S. citizenship. His mother is from the Cree tribe, and Gallup said her ancestors had claims to dual citizenship under the Jay Treaty of 1794.
He explained that the treaty gives Canadian Native Americans the right to live and work in the United States and also states that anyone living within U.S. borders for at least one year after the end of the Revolutionary War was to be considered a citizen. He contends that his tribal ancestors remained within the United States for the period described, and thus had American citizenship, which was passed on to their progeny.
“His claim to citizenship dates from 1774, prior to any citizenship requirements imposed by the U.S. thereafter,” according to his attorney, Bonnie McFadden. “Thus, any current information obtained from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is irrelevant to this case.”
Documents submitted by Gallup included a family tree, information about his father, and histories of the Cree tribe. But County Clerk Roy Hiraga maintained that the evidence submitted didn’t prove Gallup’s claim.
“You have not provided me any documents proving Mr. Gallup’s mother’s relationship to her ancestors who may or may not have been citizens of the United States,” he wrote, adding that he was not convinced that Gallup automatically received U.S. citizenship under the Jay Treaty. He also said that Gallup hadn’t presented documents that proved he had “derivative” U.S. citizenship from his father’s ancestors.