The United States government, through its courts, has held time and again that Indian tribes have the right to determine their own citizenship. Today, Cherokee Nation’s citizenry is bound together by having in common at least one documented Indian ancestor, regardless of what other heritage they may have. Cherokee Nation citizenship is based upon family ties, not color.
The Cherokee people have spoken three times on this issue in public, democratic elections, each time voting to identify and define ourselves as an Indian tribe composed of Indian people. U.S. courts have consistently agreed and supported this concept of self-determination. Tribes determine tribal citizenship, not Congress and not treaties.
California Congresswoman Diane Watson re-introduced legislation based on incorrect information about Cherokee Nation’s citizenship requirements with H.R. 2761. The new bill is the same scorched-earth policy that Congresswoman Watson introduced in 2007.
If passed, this bill would terminate the Cherokee Nation and create a precedent that would weaken and destroy the recognized rights of other tribal nations in the U.S. In addition to the introduction of H.R. 2761, a few of those same members of Congress are calling for an investigation into the Five Civilized Tribes' treatment of non-Indian descendants of freedmen.
Congress should let the courts decide the citizenship status of non-Indian freedmen descendants. You can help. Learn the facts.