Group that claims Cherokee ancestry files for recognition

The Cherokee Braves Flag. Image from Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

The Southern Cherokee Tribe of Missouri is asking the Bureau of Indian Affairs for federal recognition.

An application -- weighing 79 pounds, Al Jazeera reported -- was sent to the Office of Federal Acknowledgment in May. The group plans to send 26 more boxes of genealogy documents in support of its petition.

"It's going to open some eyes,” Chief Steve Matthews told Al Jazeera

The group spent 12 years compiling the application. Its members claim descent from the historic Cherokee Nation and they trace their ancestry to purported Cherokee rolls from the late 1800s.

The Southern Cherokees, however, are not considered legitimate by the Cherokee Nation or the other two federally-recognized Cherokee tribes.

The group continues to feature the Cherokee Braves Flag, a Confederate-era symbol, on its Facebook page. The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma stopped displaying the flag after the end of the Civil War and adopted one that better represented its culture, professor Gregory Smithers, the author of the forthcoming The Cherokee Diaspora: An Indigenous History of Migration, Resettlement, and Identity, wrote in Indian Country Today.

Get the Story:
Missouri Native group fights for recognition (Al Jazeera 7/20)
Area Southern Cherokees seek federal recognition (The Rolla Daily News 5/11)

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Gregory Smithers: Cherokee Nation gave up symbol of Confederacy (07/06)

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