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Seminole Freedmen rebuffed by Supreme Court
Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to allow the Seminole Freedmen to sue the federal government without the Seminole Nation's involvement.

The Freedmen are trying to gain access and services provided by a $56 million settlement awarded to the Seminole Nation. They sued the Department of Interior but two courts said the tribe had to be part of the suit. But since the tribe has sovereign immunity, it cannot be joined without consent.

The Freedmen are descendants of African slaves who were made members of the tribe by a post-Civil War treaty. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has met with the Freedmen to talk about services that could be provided to them.

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