Cherokee Nation SCT Strikes “By Blood” from Cherokee Constitution

Here is the order in In Re: Effect of Cherokee Nation v. Nash and Vann v. Zinke:

SC-17-07 37-Final Order 2-22-21

Selected Briefs:

2-8-21 Motion for Final Disposition

2-18-21 Tribe Brief

2-18-21 Councilors Brief

Federal Court Rules Cherokee Freedmen Retain Treaty Rights

Here is the opinion in Cherokee Nation v. Nash (D.D.C.).

More details tomorrow.

An excerpt:

The Court finds it confounding that the Cherokee Nation historically had no qualms about regarding freedmen as Cherokee “property” yet continues, even after 150 years, to balk when confronted with the legal imperative to treat them as Cherokee people. While the Cherokee Nation might persist in its design to perpetuate a moral injustice, this Court will not be complicit in the perpetuation of a legal injustice.  

Briefs here. Case tag here.

New Scholarship on the Cherokee Freedmen Controversy

Lolita Buckner Inniss has published “Cherokee Freedmen and the Color of Belonging” in the Columbia Journal of Race and Law. PDF

The abstract:

This Article addresses the Cherokee Nation and its historic conflict with the descendants of its former black slaves, designated Cherokee Freedmen. This Article specifically addresses how historic discussions of black, red, and white skin colors, designating the African-ancestored, aboriginal (Native American), and European ancestored people of the United States, have helped to shape the contours of color-based national belonging among the Cherokee. The Cherokee past practice of black slavery and the past and continuing use of skin color-coded belonging not only undermines the coherence of Cherokee sovereignty, identity, and belonging but also problematizes the notion of an explicitly aboriginal way of life by bridging red and white cultural difference over a point of legal and ethical contention: black inequality.

New Scholarship from Circe Strum on the Cherokee Freedmen



Despite a treaty in 1866 between the Cherokee Nation and the federal government granting them full tribal citizenship, Cherokee Freedmen—the descendants of African American slaves to the Cherokee, as well as of children born from unions between African Americans and Cherokee tribal members—continue to be one of the most marginalized communities within Indian Country. Any time Freedmen have sought the full rights and benefits given other Cherokee citizens, they have encountered intense opposition, including a 2007 vote that effectively ousted them from the tribe. The debates surrounding this recent decision provide an excellent case study for exploring the intersections of race and sovereignty. In this article, I use the most recent Cherokee Freedmen controversy to examine how racial discourse both empowers and diminishes tribal sovereignty, and what happens in settler-colonial contexts when the exercise of tribal rights comes into conflict with civil rights. I also explore how settler colonialism as an analytic can obscure the racialized power dynamics that undermine Freedmen claims to an indigenous identity and tribal citizenship.

Cherokee Nation v. Nash Argument Rescheduled to May 5, 2014

Here is the minute order:

MINUTE ORDER: The hearing set to take place on April 28, 2014, is RESCHEDULED to take place on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 25A before Judge Thomas F. Hogan. Signed by Judge Thomas F. Hogan on April 2, 2014. (lctfh2)

Updated and Complete Summary Judgment Briefs in Cherokee Freedman Case

Here are the materials in Cherokee Nation v. Nash (D.D.C.):

233 Cherokee Nation Brief

234 Federal Defendants – Expert Report in Support of Partial Summary Judgment

Exhibit 3 Federal Defendants Motion and Memo In Support – Cross Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Opposition to Cherokee Motion

235-1 Cherokee Freedmen Brief

235-3 Exhibits

239 Cherokee Nation Reply

243 Federal Defendants’ Reply to Cherokee Opposition to Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

243-1 Ex 1 to Federal Reply Brief

243-2 Ex 2 to Federal Reply Brief

244 Cherokee Freedmen Reply

Oral argument set for April 28, 2014.