The tribal administration held a special election the following year in which more than three-quarters of Cherokee citizens voted to strip the Freedmen's descendants of tribal citizenship. That meant, she said, she was eligible for citizenship into the tribe.
A USA court has reinstated tribal citizenship rights for descendants of slaves once owned by the Native American Cherokee Nation.
Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree said Wednesday evening he and his staff were digesting Hogan's decision, but expected to formulate a legal action for the tribe "in the very near future".
Freedmen have long argued that the Treaty of 1866, signed between the US government and the Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based Cherokees, gave them and their descendants "all the rights of native Cherokees".
Hogan determined this week that the Treaty of 1886 guarantees descendants of Cherokee Freedmen have all the rights of native Cherokees, including the right to citizenship. "As the attorney general, I see this as an opportunity to resolve the Freedmen citizenship issue and allow the Cherokee Nation to move beyond this dispute". They eventually revised their citizenship regulations following the 1866 treaty, but in a way that continued to exclude Freedmen's descendants unless they could prove they were "Cherokee by blood", according to tribal lists.
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The Cherokee Freedmen's lead counsel, Jon Velie of Norman, Oklahoma, also put out a statement: "This is a wonderful victory for the Freedmen who regained their identities as equal citizens in their nation. It is a win for Native Americans as the federal courts have enforced both treaty rights of citizenship while maintaining tribes and elected officials' rights to determine citizenship and self-determination". "I think the judge made it clear that the freedmen people have rights just like the rest of the citizens have rights, and we can't be removed at the whim of this chief or that chief".
"The Cherokee Nation respects the rule of law, and yesterday we began accepting and processing citizenship applications from Freedmen descendants", Hembree said.
The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma said Thursday it will not appeal a federal court decision that descendants of tribal freedmen must be granted tribal membership.
"Going forward, I am hoping that the tribe will come together and we can just be Cherokees, Cherokee people and not freedmen. and maybe we can become the most powerful tribe in the entire country".
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