Tribal ruling raises dispute over
slaves owned by Indians
In 1831, the U.S. forced the Cherokee to walk from their Southeast homelands to Oklahoma. This was known as the "Trail of Tears." Many Cherokee had been plantation owners, and they brought their African-American slaves with them.
After the Civil War, the U.S. signed
another treaty with the Cherokee.
That treaty required the Cherokee to
include their former slaves and descendants
as tribal members. Some
ex-slaves had Cherokee blood because plantation
owners fathered children with
slave women. Some had no Indian
blood at all.
The recent tribal court ruling makes that Amendment invalid. But the Cherokee Nation's attorney disagrees.
"We have received the (tribal court)
decision with which we respectfully
disagree," said Diane Hammons. She said the tribe might
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