Cherokee chief criticized for stance on Freedmen
Thursday, April 6, 2006
Two African-American lawmakers in Oklahoma are criticizing Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith for his stance on the Cherokee Freedmen.
The tribe's highest court ruled that Freedmen remain eligible for citizenship in Cherokee Nation. But in response, Smith called for a referendum or constitutional amendment to keep the descendants of African slaves out.
That prompted State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre and Representative Jabar Shumate, both Democrats, to write an "open letter" to Smith, saying his call for change would create a "racist-based" citizenship system.