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Cherokee Nation to allow Freedmen to cast provisional ballots

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma says Freedmen descendants can cast provisional ballots in the September 24 election for principal chief.

The Freedmen are the descendants of former slaves held within the tribe. They are entitled to citizenship under an 1866 treaty but the tribe says it can remove them from the rolls.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has warned the tribe that denying citizenship to the Freedmen violates the treaty. The upcoming election might not be valid as a result, Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk said in a letter to acting chief Joe Crittenden.

Tribal members will vote in a make-up election between incumbent Chad Smith and challenger Bill John Baker. The Freedmen have asked a federal judge to ensure they can participate.

Judge Henry Kennedy will hold a hearing in the case on September 20 at 2pm in Courtroom 27A - 6th Floor of the federal court in Washington, D.C. Echo Hawk's letter was filed as part of the lawsuit, Vann v. Salazar.

Get the Story:
Cherokee Election Commission says Freedmen can vote (The Native American Times 9/15)
Freedmen descendants to cast challenge ballots in Cherokee chief election (The Tulsa World 9/15)
Freedmen case may be headed back to Cherokee court (The Tulsa World 9/15)
Freedmen angry over move in tribal court (The Muskogee Phoenix 9/15)

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

Related Stories:
Acting Cherokee Nation chief vows to protect tribe's interests (9/14)
BIA warns Cherokee Nation about disenrollment of Freedmen (9/13)
Lawmakers want HUD to restore funding to Cherokee Nation (9/12)
HUD won't release funds to Cherokee Nation in Freedmen flap (9/8)
Judge sets hearing on Freedmen motion for Cherokee election (9/6)
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)

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