A new federal court ruling says Cherokee Freedmen are entitled to tribal citizenship. The Cherokee Nation attorney general says the tribe will not appeal the ruling. The Freedmen are decedents of former slaves. In the 78 page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan said a treaty signed in 1866 clearly guarantees them citizenship. He also states “The Cherokee Nation’s sovereign right to determine its membership is no less now, as a result of this decision, than it was after the Nation executed the 1866 Treaty.” We’ll explore what this ruling means for the Cherokee Freedman and tribal sovereignty.
Marilyn Vann (Cherokee Nation) – president of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes association
Todd Hembree (Cherokee Nation) – Attorney General for the Cherokee Nation
Matthew Fletcher (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians) – law professor at Michigan State University-College of Law and author of the Turtle Talk blog
Break Music: Urban Crow Dance (Of The Bird Kind) (song) Joy Harjo (artist)Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears (album)