|A federal judge heard arguments on Monday in a lawsuit that will determine whether the Freedmen are entitled to citizenship within the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
The Freedmen are the descendants of former slaves held within Cherokee territory.
They say an 1866
treaty requires them to be treated the same as other Cherokees.
The Obama administration supports the Freedmen. The tribe, however, contends it has a sovereign right to determine its membership policies.
"The Cherokee Nation believes strongly in treaty rights and believes the correct interpretation of the treaty would allow the Cherokee people to determine who is a Cherokee citizen," Todd Hembree, the tribe's attorney general, said in a statement after the hearing.
Judge Thomas F.
Hogan promised a speedy decision in the case, The Oklahoman reported.
Based on the arguments, the paper said Hogan appears to be favoring the Freedmen.
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Federal judge promises quick decision in Cherokee freedmen case (The Oklahoman 5/6)
Cherokee Nation, Freedmen reps begin arguments before D.C. judge (The Tahlequah Daily Press 5/6) Related Stories:
Federal judge reschedules hearing for Cherokee Freedmen case (04/07)
Cherokee Freedmen eager for court hearing in citizenship case (03/10)
Obama supports Freedmen in dispute with Cherokee Nation (02/03)
Judge sets oral arguments in Cherokee Nation Freedmen suit (9/18)