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Extended History (3 of 4)


After the Civil War, the Cherokee Nation sought to resume treaty relations with the United States. Three distinct Cherokee Nation Bands sent delegations to Washington to negotiate a new treaty. The Southern Cherokee attended at the invitation of the United States Government. The "Southern Cherokee Delegation" consisted of John Rollin Ridge, Saladin Watie, Cornelius Boudinot, W.P. Adair, and Richard Fields. After the United States negotiated with the Southern Cherokee, the Western Band (Old Settlers), and members of what had been the Ross Party, Congress ratified the Treaty of 1866. In that Treaty, as discussed in its specific negotiations with the Southern Cherokee, the United States set aside a separate jurisdiction within the Cherokee Nation for the Southern Cherokee with legal and local governmental systems separate from that of the Ross Band (present day Cherokee Nation).

Cherokee delegation members to 1866 Treaty

The Southern Cherokees, like the Cherokee legend of the Lost Community of Kana'sta Cherokees, sought refuge with friends but still existed side by side with their brothers of the Eastern and Western Bands. The United States recognized them as a Separate Band of the Cherokee Nation with separate rights and jurisdiction. The Southern Cherokees operated within the dictates of the 1866 Treaty in their Set-Aside District defined in Article 4 of the Treaty as a loose knit organization in the Canadian District of the Cherokee Nation (Webbers Falls OK) as well as in the other States where other members of the Ridge Band resided.

The Southern Cherokee maintained their Separate jurisdiction in the Canadian District, including representatives on the Cherokee National Council. Numerous Federal cases in the Western District Court of Arkansas continuously upheld this separate jurisdiction as required by the 1866 Treaty.

Prior to Statehood in 1901 Congress again recognized the separate jurisdiction of the Southern Cherokee Canadian District with an Act of Congress (21 Stat 846, Article 74) which recognized the limits of the Cherokee Nations lands as North of the Arkansas East of the Grand River, and North of the Arkansas, North of Spavinaw Creek west of the Grand River.

Following Statehood a Presidential appointed Chief represented ALL
Cherokees. One of these Appointed Chiefs, W.W. Keeler, reported in his 1970 submisson to Congress that he represented the Old Settlers, Eastern Emigrant Cherokees, and the Treaty Party (Southern Cherokee) and that all three (3) groups comprised the then Federally Recognized Cherokee Nation. Five years after his report (1975) the present day Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) organized under a new Constitution, Article 3 of that Constitution requires Dawes descendency as a membership requiresment. This did not however affect the Treaty Rights of the Southern Cherokee as they are a Congressionally Recognized Band of the Cherokee Nation under an Act of Congress at 14 Stat.799. This Act of Congress combined the "Treaty Party" and "Freedmen" together as the "so-called Southern Cherokee", and required the Southern Cherokee to vote, under a Presidential called for election to Abrogate their Treaty Rights in order to become members of the Cherokee Nation.


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