Native American Legal Update

Department of Interior files counterclaim against Cherokee Nation in freedmen suit

On Monday, July 2, the U.S. Department of the Interior filed a counterclaim in the Cherokee Nation's declaratory judgment action regarding citizenship of Cherokee freedmen.  

The Cherokee Nation filed the case in 2009, seeking a declaratory judgment that the Cherokee freedmen (descendants of former slaves of the Cherokees) do not have perpetual tribal citizenship rights.  The Department's counterclaim seeks a declaratory judgment that the 1866 treaty between the U.S. and the Cherokee Nation continues to provide the freedmen with rights and privileges within the tribe, including eligibility for citizenship.

The new materials filed by the Department of the Interior and the freedmen are available here.

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