McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Breaking News

Local News

November 5, 2009

Western Cherokees pushing hard for federal recognition

The Western Cherokee Nation of Arkansas and Missouri is building steam in its quest for reinstatement as a federally recognized tribe.

According to tribal council member Harold Aldridge, descendants of the original "Old Settlers," Cherokees who lived in Arkansas Territory, now Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, have been fighting a long and difficult battle to regain official recognition their tribe lost nearly 200 years ago when government intervention caused a split in the original tribe.

Efforts to regain recognition through the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs have been slowly rolling through time for the past 10 years. While tribal members have continued to register through the Western Cherokee Nation of Arkansas and Missouri offices in Arkansas, and records have continued to be maintained, the tribe has been scattered and confused.

No longer confused, and much less scattered, the tribe is becoming more organized and unified as members gather on a regular basis, according to Shelia Duff, head of the fundraising committee that has been instrumental in gathering support and money to fund reinstatement efforts.

“We’ve raised $12,000,” Duff said. “Our attorneys, the Washington legal firm Patton Boggs, told us we would need between $10,000 and $15,000 for them to get started reading the petition. We sent them the first check Saturday. They’re reading the petition, and they’ve said they would give us a response by the end of the year as to whether or not our case is a good one.”

This is not the first time attorneys, specifically those from Patton Boggs, have had to make such a determination. Fallout from the original split of the Cherokees in the 1800s resulted in splintered bands scattering all over the nation. Today, countless groups are making claims and filing petitions for recognition and reinstatement. The attorneys must decide whether or not they can prove legitimacy, and whether they have a strong enough case to warrant representation and moving forward through the legal system.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
NDN Video
Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.