African-Native American Genealogy Forum
DOI countersues Cherokee Nation regarding Freedmen
This one is making the rounds today in the CN and local areas. Apparently, the DOI filed a claim in US District Court, wanting a judgment stating that the 1866 Treaty "provided and continues to provide" the descendents of Cherokee Freedmen with certain rights and privileges, including tribal citizenship.
In May, the court granted the tribe’s motion to amend its complaint filed in February 2009. CN Attorney General Todd Hembree amended the complaint seeking a judgment against the Interior asserting that the 1866 Treaty “did not guarantee to Freedmen and their descendants eternal, unimpeachable rights to citizenship within the Cherokee Nation.”
Now, the AG wants to amend their claim, asking for a judgment declaring that the treaty "does not bestow upon current descendants of Freedmen a right to citizenship within the Cherokee Nation that cannot be altered by the Cherokee Constitution."
In short, the CN wants to go back to how things were before CN Principal Chief Election.
Additionally, Marilyn Vann, president of the Descendants of Freedmen Association, said she is part of a group of Freedmen who have filed a cross-claim to be a part of the case so that they can have input in the lawsuit.
"We applaud the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice. The Freedmen people support the filing," she said. "To us, the federal government should have come out long ago in supporting the Freedmen in federal court and made clear our treaty rights."
Vann said if the 1866 Treaty had changed, then Delaware and Shawnee citizens, who were adopted by the CN, should have lost their rights, too.
No hearing set yet, but this should be an important issue coming for us.
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