Cherokee Nation

In 2014, Paul Buckley and his wife, Cheryl Becker, fostered a baby boy named Mason. They had seen other members of their Phoenix church community foster children and were inspired.

"We both have a heart for helping children," Buckley explains. "And it seemed like a way that we could provide something to the community and specifically to children."

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about State Question 800 to create a dedicated account for excessive gross production taxes, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association plans to sue the State Department of Health over layoffs last year following a budget shortfall and Republican candidate Kevin Stitt gets an endorsement from his runoff rival Mick Cornett while Democratic candidate Drew Edmondson gets an endorsement from the Oklahoma Education Association.

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In a video released this week, Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren backed up her long contested claim that she has Native American ancestry, with results from a DNA test and a telling of her family’s story.

President Trump has long taunted Warren’s claims of native ancestry and nicknamed her Pocahontas. At a July rally in Montana, Trump challenged Warren to use genetic testing to prove her claim.

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The DNA test that Sen. Elizabeth Warren took, which showed she has Native American ancestry is "completely irrelevant to the process" of determining her tribal identity, the Cherokee Secretary of State told NPR's Morning Edition.

Chuck Hoskin was also critical of President Trump, saying he "should not be calling her 'Pocahontas,' but "should be looking into the needs of Indian country are because the needs are there."

The new film Hostiles tells the story of a U.S. Army captain in the Old West circa 1892. He's spent decades fighting Native Americans and seeing his friends killed, and he's ordered to commit an act of humanitarian relief. The bitter veteran, played by Christian Bale, is tasked with escorting an old Cheyenne chief, played by Wes Studi, back to his home valley to die.

In the film, Studi only speaks a few words of English. His character's most powerful moments come when he conveys meaning with a gesture or expression.

When he started working as a bartender a few years ago in Seattle, Howie Echo-Hawk says he began experiencing discrimination. First, a bar manager told him to get a respectable haircut.

"I had a Mohawk, which is the traditional style of my people and I wore it because of that," he said. Echo-Hawk is a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.

Rather than argue, Echo-Hawk cut his hair. Then, a few months later, he broke his ankle and had to take some time off.

Following the unrest in Charlottesville, many cities and towns across the country are taking down their Confederate monuments. Members of the Cherokee Nation are also grappling with their Civil War history.

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Allison Herrera/PRI 

Marilyn Vann always knew her background and where her family came from. She knew she was a Cherokee Freedman, a descendant of former slaves, and that she deserved to have full tribal citizenship, just like other native Cherokees.

That's why she was surprised to get a rejection letter when she tried to enroll more than a decade ago. After all, her father was an original enrollee on the Dawes Roll, a historical US government record of tribal members. That meant, she said, she was eligible for citizenship into the tribe.

A judge ruled Wednesday that the descendants of enslaved people who were owned by members of the Cherokee Nation — known as Cherokee Freedmen — have citizenship rights.

"The Cherokee Nation can continue to define itself as it sees fit," U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan wrote in his ruling, "but must do so equally and evenhandedly with respect to native Cherokees and the descendants of Cherokee Freedmen."

Allison Herrera

A case that helps determine whether or not the descendants of Cherokee slaves have the full citizenship rights of native Cherokees was decided in United States Federal District Court Wednesday.

After nearly three years, Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan in his ruling said the paramount question to be considered is whether an 1866 treaty between the Cherokee Nation and the United States granted the Cherokee Freedmen, or the descendants of slaves, "all the rights of native Cherokees."

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