Court stands by native American tribe's decision
Their rights, received because the native American tribe had owned their ancestors, were revoked on Monday (August 22) when the Cherokee Indian Supreme Court in the US upheld the tribe's decision to formally remove their membership.
The court sustained the 2007 regulation made by the Cherokee nation to kick the so-called 'Freedmen' out of the tribe, overruling a previous vote made after the Civil War, which allowed the Cherokees to admit nearly 3000 African American slave descendants to the tribe.
In the 1830s, the Cherokee nation, which was driven out of much of the east coast by land grabbing white settlers, headed south in what is known historically as The Trail of Tears. Many of the tribe brought their slaves with them on the commute.
The news comes several months after a district court gave equal tribal citizenship rights to descendants, reportedly allowing the "Freemen" to be eligible for free health care and education in the US, amongst other benefits.
Reacting to the ruling, Freedman leader and plaintiff, Marilyn Vann, told the Daily Mail : "This is racism and apartheid in the 21st Century."
A spokesperson for the Cherokee's has not yet responded to the ruling.
‘Preparing for the worst’
The Cherokee Nation is unsure whether Freedmen will sue to counter a ruling that strips their voting rights.
By Teddye Snell