TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) _ Cherokee Nation officials say Chief Chad Smith has decided to have a special election in February to determine whether non-Indians should be excluded from tribal membership.
The Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation determined Thursday that a citizen's petition requiring that tribal members have American Indian ancestry has enough signatures to go to a vote of the people.
Historic tribal rolls that now determine membership also include some non-Indians.
In March, the Cherokee Nation's highest court reversed a previous decision and ruled that the tribe's Constitution allowed citizenship for non-Indian descendents. Those descendents were listed on the historic rolls of the Cherokee Nation.
The special election will be February 10th.