Law | Politics

Freedmen seek appeal for loss of Cherokee Nation citizenship

Freedmen descendants are hoping to maintain their voting rights in the upcoming Cherokee Nation election for chief.

About 2,800 Freedmen were stripped of their citizenship by the tribe's highest court. They plan to ask for a stay of the decision in order to vote in the September 24 election.

“We don’t know what’s going on for sure,” Marilyn Vann said at an emergency meeting of the Descendants of Freedmen of the 5 Civilized Tribes Association, The Muskogee Phoenix reported. “I have a hunch that one way or another the freedmen will be voting for principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.”

Incumbent chief Chad Smith advocated for an amendment to the tribe's constitution that excluded the Freedmen. He is locked in an extremely tight race with challenger Bill John Baker.

Only a handful of votes separated Smith and Baker in the first election, whose results were thrown out by the tribe's Supreme Court.

Get the Story:
Freedmen to seek stay on order (The Muskogee Phoenix 8/28)
Preparing for the worst’ (The Tahlequah Daily Press 8/26)
Panel working to strike Freedmen from voter list (The Tahlequah Daily Press 8/26)

Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Decision:
Cherokee Nation Registrar v. Nash (August 22, 2011)

Related Stories:
Jay Tavare: Divide and conquer -- disenrollment among tribes (8/25)
Turtle Talk: Tribal courts, treaty rights and treaty rights disputes (8/25)
Cherokee Freedmen lose right to vote in upcoming chief election (8/24)
Decision allows Cherokee Nation to remove Freedmen from rolls (8/23)

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