By S.E. RUCKMAN World Staff Writer
Last Modified: 3/11/2008  9:02 AM

MUSKOGEE — About 20 freedmen descendants marched on Rep. Dan Boren’s district office Friday in hopes of gaining a face-to-face meeting with the Oklahoma congressman.Organizers said the march also was an effort to draw attention to their tribal citizenship efforts.”We want Rep. Boren to sit down with us and discuss our concerns,” Marilyn Vann, president of the freedmen descendants group, said. “Freedmen are his constituents, too.”Group members are the descendants of freed slaves who lived and intermarried within the Cherokee Nation after the Civil War.

Boren issued a statement Friday stating that he is supportive of the descendants and would welcome a chance to meet with them.

Verdie Triplett of Fort Coffee said Boren has not done enough to help his group.

“I haven’t seen any indications that Mr. Boren has the freedmen’s interests in mind,” he said. “So far, he has not been a friend to the freedmen.”

House Bill 2824 would cut federal funding to the Cherokee Nation unless freedmen descendants’ citizenship is restored permanently. The bill is in committee.

Boren said he has lobbied for the tribe to retain more than $300 million that the bill would cut, which would benefit the freedmen descendants.

Cherokee Nation spokesman Mike Miller said the descendants have no claim to Cherokee Nation citizenship based on the law or history.

The tribe removed about 2,700 freedmen descendants from its rolls after 10,000 tribal members voted last year to amend their constitution to allow only people with Indian blood to be citizens.

A tribal judge temporarily reinstated the descendants’ citizenship in May while they appeal the election.

S.E. Ruckman 581-8462
Hattip to Rachel of Rachel’s Tavern for her great posts on the Freedmen/women – Cherokee ouster:

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