Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The nation's second-largest Indian tribe formally booted from membership thousands of descendants of black slaves who were brought to Oklahoma more than 170 years ago by Native American owners
The Cherokee nation voted after the Civil War to admit the slave descendants to the tribe. But now, the tribe's Supreme Court ruled that a 2007 tribal decision to kick the so-called Freedmen out of the tribe could be upheld. As a sovereign nation, Cherokee Nation officials maintain that the tribe has the right to amend its constitutional membership requirements. Removal from the membership rolls means that the Freedmen will no longer be eligible for free health care and other benefits such as education concessions.