"After the Civil War, the tribe signed a treaty that granted former slaves, or freedmen, “all the rights of Native Cherokees.” But in 2007, Cherokees amended their tribal constitution, making “Indian blood” a requirement for citizenship. As a result, some 2,800 descendants of Cherokee freedmen were excluded from membership. " http://www.nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/indivisible/cherokee_freedmen.html (The Smithsonian - National Museum of the American Indian)
Family Stories : "Extraordinary lifeways persist; the stories must be heard. At the heart of each story survives the basic human desire for being and belonging. Out of many nations, African-Native American people are indivisible." http://www.nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/indivisible/portraits.html
These are boom times for the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma. But bad times for thousands of black Indians battling for tribal citizenship. Now the Freedmen are turning to genetic science for help. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.09/seminoles.html
Will the Cherokee Freedmen Gain Tribal Rights?
"Since 2007 I have written a number of articles advocating for freedmen's rights. The first was so pointed that Smith publicly blamed the column for shaping black opinion on the subject."
"My maternal grandmother was enrolled as a Cherokee Freedmen in 1901, and since I was a little boy I have listened to relatives from that side of the family talk about life among the tribe. Smith tried to obliterate that history, and the tribal connection of other freedmen descendants, by declaring in 2007 that blood Cherokee don't even know who we are."