Monday, August 22, 2011

33 Days Until the New Election: Court Rules On Citizenship Issue

Cherokee Nation lost 1% of its citizens today with four strokes of a pen.

Four Supreme Court justices voted to uphold the vote in 2007 that made everyone have to be Indian to be a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.  

Which seems pretty straightforward, but it was controversial because a year earlier, in 2006, the CN Supreme Court allowed freedmen descendants who don’t have an Indian ancestor to enroll as citizens, which they hadn’t been able to do before.

We’re not lawyers, and we’re not 100% sure what today’s ruling means, but it surely seems to say that if you are not Indian you are a not a Cherokee citizen.  If you are not Cherokee, it stands to reason you can’t vote here in a month or so.  We have no idea who freedmen voters would support, so it may not make a difference, but since we just had a controversy about whether people voted who aren’t Cherokee citizens, having 2800 people suddenly declared not citizens right before the election is probably going to mean more controversy again this time around.

And since some freedmen folks are already suing the Cherokee Nation in federal court over the results of the 2003 election (really!), then we may not have heard the last of today’s ruling either.