Cherokee Nation Recognizes MLK Day for the First Time

The tribe is seeking to make amends for its past with slavery
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 15, 2018 6:45 PM CST
Cherokee Nation Recognizes MLK Day for the First Time
Nico Albert, of the Cherokee Nation, stands for the presentation of the colors during a Native American Day celebration at Guthrie Green, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Tulsa, Okla.   (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)

Cherokee Nation leaders are marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day by acknowledging the tribe needs to come to terms with its treatment of former slaves, known as Freedmen. The tribe—one of the country's largest—recognized the King holiday for the first time Monday with participation in a parade and a visit to the Martin Luther King Community Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the AP reports

Cherokee Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. says Principal Chief Bill John Baker decided the tribe should honor the King holiday this year because of ongoing racial tensions nationwide and because the tribe is seeking to make amends on the slavery issue. A federal court ruled last year that the Freedmen had the same rights to tribal citizenship, voting, health care, and housing as blood-line Cherokees.

(Read more slavery stories.)

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