Cherokee Nation Freedmen Fighting To Remain Part Of The Tribe
Thursday, April 27th 2006, 9:21 AM CDT
Less than two months ago, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court granted descendents of black slaves owned by the tribe full rights as citizens.
News on 6 anchor Terry Hood says despite the ruling, many freedmen haven't been able to enjoy full rights as citizens of the Cherokee Nation, because of the extensive application process.
But now, a proposed amendment to the Cherokee constitution could exclude freedmen as members of the tribe.
Thursdayâ€™s meeting of the tribal council had to be moved from a ceremonial location to the larger council chambers to accomodate the crowd gathered for the debate.
Some in the Cherokee Nation say adding the freedmen as citizens will create too much of a drain on tribal resources.
Freedmen say they just want what is rightfully theirs, a place in the tribe. Marilyn Vann: "We came over the Trail. Some of our elderly still speak Cherokee. Some still go to grounds. Some still fix great dumplings. We are Cherokee people. We are part of the Cherokee Nation.â€
Cherokee tribal council member Cara Cowan Watts: "It's unfortunate people are trying to create more division within the tribe because my family and friends represent a large variety of color size and shape of people."
After some debate among the councilors, they decided to table the amendment for the time being. It will come up again in 60 days.