Law | Politics

Judge sets hearing on Freedmen motion for Cherokee election





A federal judge has scheduled a hearing on September 20 in the Cherokee Freedmen lawsuit, Vann v. Salazar.

The plaintiffs, led by Marilyn Vann, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. The Freedmen want to vote in the upcoming September 24 election for principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

“The right to vote for your elected leaders is the most fundamental right you have in any democracy," Vann said in a press release. "Ours was stolen, our identities were stolen and we will not sit back and allow someone to say we are not a Cherokees. I am Cherokee and I am proud of it. It is ludicrous to think our birth rights as Cherokee citizens can be voted out by in violation of a Treaty between the US and our Nation. I am standing up for my treaty rights and the treaty rights for all Indians.”

Tribal members amended the Cherokee constitution to deny citizenship to the Freedmen, whose ancestors appear on the Dawes Roll. Only those Freedmen with an ancestor on the Indian portion of the roll are entitled to citizenship.

The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court ruled that the amendment was a valid exercise of the tribe's sovereignty. That stripped about 2,800 Freedmen of their citizenship, including the right to vote.

The hearing takes place before Judge Henry Kennedy at 2pm in Courtroom 27A - 6th Floor of the federal court in Washington, D.C.

Get the Story:
Lawyers try to block Cherokee ruling (The Muskogee Phoenix 9/5)

Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Decision:
Cherokee Nation Registrar v. Nash (August 22, 2011)

Related Stories:
Freedmen eye lawsuit in federal court over Cherokee election (8/30)
Freedmen seek appeal for loss of Cherokee Nation citizenship (8/29)
Jay Tavare: Divide and conquer -- disenrollment among tribes (8/25)
Turtle Talk: Tribal courts, treaty rights and treaty rights disputes (8/25)
Cherokee Freedmen lose right to vote in upcoming chief election (8/24)
Decision allows Cherokee Nation to remove Freedmen from rolls (8/23)