A California Congresswoman will propose legislation on Thursday that would cut off federal funding to the Cherokee Nation.
In a press release sent out Wednesday night, U.S. Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif, announced the measure would cut off tribal funding from several federal agencies and suspend the Cherokees' gaming authority, until the Cherokee Nation restores full rights to the Cherokee Freedmen and fulfills all treaty obligations.
"It is a tragedy that, over 40 years after the passage of the historic Civil Rights Act, legislation has to be introduced to compel the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma to recognize the basic civil rights of the Cherokee Freedmen," Watson said in the statement. "The Cherokee Nation's leadership claims that it has the sovereign right to determine who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. But the sovereign right to discriminate is no right at all."
Back in March, the Cherokee Nation voted to oust the Freedmen as members of the tribe, The Freedmen are black slaves of Cherokees who were freed and married to Cherokees. The children of these marriages, known as the "Black Cherokees" were made Cherokee citizens by the Treaty of 1866.
The Cherokee tribal court recently temporarily reinstated the Freedmen as citizens. They will be allowed to vote in the upcoming Cherokee general election.