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Law
Freedmen in court to halt Cherokee Nation vote


The Cherokee Freedmen are in federal court this afternoon to halt an election that would deny them citizenship in the Cherokee Nation.

The Freedmen are descendants of former slaves. They are citizens of the Cherokee Nation because their ancestors appeared on the Dawes Roll.

Some tribal members, however, want to change the Cherokee constitution to require an Indian blood component. A vote is scheduled for March 3.

Normally, the courts would stay out of internal tribal matters. But Judge Henry H. Kennedy in Washington, D.C., said the tribe's sovereign immunity was abrogated by Congress through by treaty and by the Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery.

The Freedmen are asking for a preliminary injunction to halt the vote. Kennedy is holding a hearing at 3pm in Courtroom 27A at the federal courthouse.

Get the Story:
Cherokee Tribe Faces Decision on Freedmen (National Public Radio 2/21)

Court Decision:
Vann v. Kempthorne (December 19, 2006)

Cason Letter:
Cherokee Nation Constitution (August 30, 2006)

Cherokee Nation Judicial Appeals Tribunal Decision in Freedmen Case:
Allen v. Cherokee Nation (March 7, 2006)

Relevant Links:
Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes - http://www.freedmen5tribes.com
Freedmen Conference - http://www.freedmenconference.com

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