Cherokee chief defends exclusion of Freedmen
The status of the Freedmen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma was debated at the Federal Bar Association meeting on Thursday.

The Freedmen are the descendants of former slaves whose present-day citizenship in the tribe has been the subject of several lawsuits. Cherokee Chief Chad Smith said it should be up to the tribe to determine who is and who isn't a member.

Charles Ogletree, a professor at Harvard Law School who has been called a mentor to President Barack Obama, agreed with the tribe's sovereign right to determine its citizenship. But he called the status of the Freedmen an issue that should be decided on moral grounds.

“Any sovereign group has a right to decide who’s in and who’s out,” Ogletree said at the meeting, The Journal Record reported. “But there’s a difference between having the right to do something, that is be in power when you have the opportunity to do something, and doing the right thing.”

Three lawsuits are pending in federal and tribal court over the status of the Freedmen.

Get the Story:
Ogletree: Cherokee morality should decide freedmen issue (The Oklahoma Journal Record 9/11)
Harvard law professor, Cherokee chief Chad Smith differ on freedmen issue (AP 9/10)

Related Stories:
Federal Bar Association set for annual meeting (9/9)
Opinion: Cowards and the Cherokee Freedmen (08/21)
Cherokee Nation court hears Freedmen dispute (7/27)
Cole opposes latest Cherokee Freedmen bill (6/16)
Cherokee Freedmen bill introduced in House (6/15)
Opinion: Treaties and the Five Civilized Tribes
Freedmen protest honoring of Cherokee Nation chief (6/5)
Editorial: 'Shameful' posturing on Freedmen issue (5/7)
Boren and Cole oppose Freedmen investigation (5/6)
African-American lawmakers seek Freedmen probe (5/5)
Cherokee Nation seeks to end Freedmen dispute (2/4)

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