Tch. Yes, suing's a wondrous way to force policy change. Or at least in this case, to exact some idea of cultural revenge.
Pity. They're essentially on the same boat as everyone else. You could be Javanese and still be enrolled. If you have 1/8th the blood. Not about being black, or the descendant of African slaves. Just about being: Cherokee descent.
Of which there are many that are also Freedmen. Additionally, with their general proximity to the larger Cherokee community, likely much more than your average anglo or other. But not every or any Freedmen descendant. Same with every or any other man or woman.
Dawes tends to stand in the way of any descendant not directly involved enough by family or record or culture. Not Smith. Don'tcha know.
Don't get me wrong. There was a better way to handle it. Somehow. People shouldn't think this was an easy decision at all. Or the choice of a few people without any consultation with tribal body.
The real fact of business was an old promise versus the real economic practicality of being able to maintain it. Additionally, tribal integrity via bloodline. Solid fact with most tribes. Even if it is only 1/8th. Fair enough. It's 2008. We're grown folk.
My understanding being there with eyes and from Oklahoma Cherokee spoken with, was this; there was the promise, yes. But, you didn't see them much, they weren't so involved. Stayed to themselves more often than not. At no gatherings or singings or stomps, powwows much at all. Frankly, they seem to have another culture.
In respect to any culture, that doesn't surprise me. You go with your own. Why begrudge.
In real respect to the people though, gentle easing from the process of being Cherokee in benefits would have been kind. Forget about the rest. Those needing for age or disability have grown to depend on it.