The modern day Seneca Nation of Indians is a true democracy whose constitution was established in 1848. The Nation's constitution provides for a multi-branch system of government that is comprised of elected Executive and Legislative branches, and an elected Judicial branch.
The Executive Branch leadership includes a president, treasurer and clerk, each elected for two year terms. The Seneca constitution allows leaders to serve multiple, but not consecutive terms.
Leadership also rotates back and forth between residents of the Cattaraugus and Allegany territories every two years. The next scheduled election will take place in November 2010, with the presidency to be filled by an Allegany representative.
The Legislative Branch is led by a 16-member Tribal Council, comprised of an equal number of representatives from the Cattaraugus and Allegany territories. Members are elected for staggered, four-year terms.
The Judiciary Branch is comprised of three separate divisions, the Peacemaker, Appellate and Surrogate courts.
The Peacemakers Court is the court of general jurisdiction and is located on each of the Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories. The three Peacemakers of each court are elected every four years. The Surrogate Court is comprised of one Surrogate for each of the Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories, and exercises jurisdiction over probate matters.
The Court of Appeals is comprised of six judges who hear appeals from the Peacemakers and Surrogates Courts. The Council serves as Supreme Court and exercises limited jurisdiction over certain appeals from the Court of Appeals.