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Freedmen descendants ask for citizenship case to be reheard in Muscogee Nation court

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Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band -Black Creeks
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Freedmen descendants and supporters gather outside Muscogee Nation District Court on Thursday.

Two Creek Freedmen descendants were in Muscogee Nation court Thursday, arguing they have a right to citizenship in the tribal nation.

Rhonda Grayson and Jeffrey Kennedy's applications for citizenship to the Muscogee Nation had previously been denied by the citizenship board in 2020. Both are asking the court for a do-over in the case.

Grayson and Kennedy say the Muscogee Nation is not upholding its responsibilities under the tribal nation’s 1866 Reconstruction Treaty, which they say allows them to be citizens. They were joined at the courthouse by their lawyer Damario Solomon-Simmons and dozens of supporters who claim the tribal nation is discriminating against them.

In a statement released to KOSU, Muscogee Nation Attorney General Geri Weisner says she believes the tribal nation followed the law when they denied citizenship for Grayson and Kennedy and the attempt to make this case about race is "legally unfounded and morally reprehensible."

A civil trial on the pair’s citizenship petition is set for April 2023 in Muscogee Nation District Court.

Allison Herrera is a radio and print journalist who's worked for PRX's The World, Colorado Public Radio as the climate and environment editor and as a freelance reporter for High Country News’ Indigenous Affairs desk.
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