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Freedmen ruling sad day in Indian Country

To the Editor,

About ten years ago Tim Giago and I were interviewed on the radio. I cannot recall the name of the topic, but I spoke in regards to our tribe, Cherokee Nation, being sued by non-Indian Cherokee freedmen for citizenship.

The course of issue has been working through court systems, both tribal and federal, until the time appeared right for a lower federal court ruling.

On August 31, 2017 a federal judge ruled that freedmen were to be enrolled as citizens with all rights equal to those of us who are Cherokee by blood.

Our attorney general, Todd Hembree, did nothing to appeal this decision, as well as other elected officials, who are under oath to uphold our Cherokee constitution.

Those who are the official representatives to exercise our sovereignty and protect us, have simply rolled over.

Our Cherokee constitution was amended March 3.2007, when our people voted to clarify the language, “One must be of Indian blood ancestor as established on the Dawes Rolls,” a census taken after forced removal to Indian Territory.

It’s a sad day in Indian Territory when tribes are no longer Indian.

If this can be done to us, what will happen to other tribal nations who try to exercise their sovereignty?

Twila Pennington

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