A vote on whether descendants of freed Cherokee Nation slaves can be members of the tribe now will be held on Saturday. Cherokee Nation voters will decide on whether to amend the tribal constitution to make Indian blood a requirement for citizenship.
The Cherokee Nation's Supreme Court ruled in March 2006 that freedmen did qualify for citizenship. More than 2,000 freedmen descendants have enrolled as citizens of the tribe since the court ruling.
Polls are open on Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The measure will appear on the ballot as follows:
This measure amends the Cherokee Nation Constitution section which deals with who can be a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
A vote â€œyesâ€ for this amendment would mean that citizenship would be limited to those who are original enrollees or descendants of Cherokees by blood, Delawares by blood, or Shawnees by blood as listed on the Final Rolls of the Cherokee Nation commonly referred to as the Dawes Commission Rolls closed in 1906. This amendment would take away citizenship of current citizens and deny citizenship to future applicants who are solely descendants of those on either the Dawes Commission Intermarried Whites or Freedmen Rolls.
A vote â€œnoâ€ would mean that Intermarried Whites and Freedmen original enrollees and their descendants would continue to be eligible for citizenship.
Neither a â€œyesâ€ nor a â€œnoâ€ vote will affect the citizenship rights of those individuals who are original enrollees or descendants of Cherokees by blood, Delawares by blood, or Shawnees by blood as listed on the Final Rolls of the Dawes Commission Rolls closed in 1906.
There are a number of precinct locations across northeast Oklahoma. Click here
to see all the locations.
For more background on this story, click on the links below to read additional stories about the Cherokee Nation Freedmen and this special election.
3/21/2006 - Creek Nation Tribal Court Issues Ruling On Freedmen
4/27/2006 - Cherokee Nation Freedmen Fighting To Remain Part Of The Tribe
8/10/2006 - Creek Freedmen Fight To Become Full Members
10/10/2006 - Cherokee Freedmen To Challenge Special Election
12/29/2006 - Cherokee Chief Delays Special Election To March 3
12/31/2006 - Cherokees Set Vote On Freedmen Issue
2/22/2007 - Judge Keeps Special Election On Track