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BIA rejects 2003 Cherokee Nation constitution


The Bureau of Indian Affairs has rejected the Cherokee Nation's 2003 amendment to its constitution, citing the impact on the citizenship of the Freedmen.

In 2003, Cherokee voters removed a provision that required the BIA to review their constitution. In March, they changed the constitution to deny citizenship to the Freedmen, the descendants of African slaves.

Assistant secretary Carl Artman said he recognizes the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation but said he couldn't accept the 2003 amendment due to treaty and federal law that require inclusion of the Freedmen.

Chief Chad Smith rejected the move and said the tribe would defend its rights. "This is contrary to federal policy and court decisions handed down time after time over the last 30 years," he said in a statement.

Get the Story:
Cherokees Say They Will Abide By Court's Decision On Constitution (AP 5/21)
BIA rejects Cherokee constitutional changes (The Tulsa World 5/22)
Tribal judge’s Freedmen ruling stands (The Tahlequah Daily Press 5/22)
Freedmen registration not expanded (The Muskogee Phoenix 5/22)

Cherokee Nation Documents:
Cherokee Nation's Attorney General Statement (May 14, 2007) | Temporary Court Order And Injuction (May 14, 2007)

Federal Court Briefs:
Motion for Preliminary Injunction (May 8, 2007) | Memorandum in Support (May 8, 2007)

BIA Letter:
Carl Artman to Cherokee Chief Chad Smith (March 28, 2007)

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

Jim 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:
Cherokee Nation - http://www.cherokee.org
Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes - http://www.freedmen5tribes.com
Freedmen Conference - http://www.freedmenconference.com

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