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US Interior secretary approves Cherokee Nation Constitution | National News

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U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland approved a new constitution for the Cherokee Nation on Wednesday, ensuring citizenship for descendants of its Freedmen, the Black people once enslaved by tribal citizens.

“The Cherokee Nation’s actions have brought this longstanding issue to a close and have importantly fulfilled their obligations to the Cherokee Freedmen,” Haaland said in a statement.

The issue of tribal citizenship for Freedmen has long been the subject of litigation for the Five Tribes, known historically as the Five Civilized Tribes: the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee and Seminole nations.

The Cherokee Nation is the only one of the five that has granted full citizenship to its Freedmen, who number about 8,500.

“Our present constitution has long been in effect, but acknowledgment of that document by the secretary of the interior is of tremendous significance,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin. “The U.S. Department of the Interior’s affirmation of

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Minnesota tribes blast Rep. Pete Stauber for opposing Interior nomination | Nation

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MINNEAPOLIS — Leaders of Minnesota’s biggest American Indian tribes are criticizing U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber for his efforts to build opposition to President Joe Biden’s pick for Interior secretary, who is herself a tribal member.

Most egregiously, state tribal leaders said, Stauber — a Republican whose northeastern Minnesota district is home to several of the state’s largest bands — did not even give them a heads-up that he would be trying to sink the nomination of Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico to lead the Department of the Interior.

“We felt like we were blindsided,” Faron Jackson, Sr., chairman of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, said Thursday. “You know, we might not change his opinion or his outlook, but at least give us the consultation.”

Several groups of tribal leaders sent angry letters to Stauber last week, after learning that he had been circulating his own letter to

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Haaland nomination to Interior Department ‘an unprecedented nod to Indian country’ | Nation

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As the chief executive officer of Ho-Chunk, Inc., the economic development corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Lance Morgan says he knows who makes the big decisions in an organization.

That’s why he was pleased Thursday to learn Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., will be nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as the first Native American to lead the Interior Department.

After all, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, located within the department, answers to the person sitting in the secretary’s chair.

“We’ve never had somebody who’s given the orders before,” Morgan said.

A member of Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico, Haaland’s role as Interior secretary could mark a turning point for an agency that has often had a fraught and, at times, bitter relationship with federally recognized tribes. Haaland would assume the helm of a massive bureaucracy that manages federal land, offshore drilling and leasing, endangered species, mining cleanup,

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