OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A judge has dismissed one of two lawsuits over whether black slaves once owned by members of the Cherokee Nation have the right to tribal citizenship.
U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy in Washington ruled Friday that a lawsuit brought by the slaves' descendants could not proceed because the tribe was not a defendant in the case and couldn't be compelled to abide by the court's ruling. The tribe's chief and federal officials were named as defendants.
Kennedy transferred a related suit brought by the tribe to the federal court in Tulsa, Okla., where it was initially filed.
The slave descendants claim the tribe had no right to strip them of tribal citizenship because an 1866 treaty guaranteed their tribal rights.
The tribe contends that the treaty's provision no longer applies.