Cherokee Nation Considers Changes To Enrollment Requirements
Decision Could Eliminate Tribal Status For Hundreds
POSTED: 10:03 am CDT June 13, 2006
UPDATED: 10:19 am CDT June 13, 2006
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- Cherokee tribal councilors will ask tribal members to amend their constitution to require Indian blood for enrollment in the tribe.
The vote comes weeks after the Cherokee Judicial Appeals Tribunal ruled that descendants of freedmen must be recognized as citizens of the tribe.
Freedmen were former slaves who joined the tribe in the 1800s and more than 800 of their descendants have registered with the Cherokee Nation since the tribunal's ruling.
In May, Freedmen representatives met in Roland, Okla., to discuss their plans to fight for tribal recognition
The proposed amendment would remove them from tribal citizenship.
The tribal council declined to call a special election on the question but a petition drive is under way calling for a special election.
If no special election is called the question would be voted on during the tribe's July 2007 election.