Two Oklahoma tribes consider tribal citizenship for Freedmen

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In this Oct. 6, 2011 photo, Rena Logan, a member of a Cherokee Freedmen family, shows her identification card as a member of the Cherokee tribe at her home in Muskogee, Okla. Thousands of people whose ancestors were enslaved by the Cherokee Indians in the 1800s are fighting to keep their status as members of the tribe. Loss of citizenship could also mean losing valuable tribal benefits such as medical care, housing assistance and grocery stipends. Logan, a retired cook who keeps her ancestors’ Freedmen Roll number of 3918 close to her heart every day, gets treatment at tribal clinics for her arthritis, hypertension, osteoarthritis and a dislocated back disc. “We are black, and we were slaves, and they want to keep us that way,” Logan said. “It really hurts the heart. What did we do to be discriminated against?” (AP Photo/Dave Crenshaw)

In this Oct. 6, 2011 photo, Rena Logan, a member of a Cherokee Freedmen family, shows her identification card as a member of the Cherokee tribe at her home in Muskogee, Okla. Thousands of people whose ancestors were enslaved by the Cherokee Indians in the 1800s are fighting to keep their status as members of the tribe. Loss of citizenship could also mean losing valuable tribal benefits such as medical care, housing assistance and grocery stipends. Logan, a retired cook who keeps her ancestors’ Freedmen Roll number of 3918 close to her heart every day, gets treatment at tribal clinics for her arthritis, hypertension, osteoarthritis and a dislocated back disc. “We are black, and we were slaves, and they want to keep us that way,” Logan said. “It really hurts the heart. What did we do to be discriminated against?” (AP Photo/Dave Crenshaw)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Choctaw and Muscogee nations in Oklahoma are considering making changes to allow descendants of Freedmen to become tribal citizens.

Freedmen are the Black people once enslaved by tribal citizens.

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton and the Muscogee Nation said in separate statements they are considering changes to their constitutions that, if approved, would allow Freedmen to become citizens.

The issue of tribal citizenship for Freedmen has long been the subject of litigation for the Five Tribes.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland earlier this month approved a new constitution, making the Cherokee tribe the first to grant full citizenship to its Freedmen.

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