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Cherokee Nation honors MLK amid tensions

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Cherokee Nation says Principal Chief Bill John Baker decided that the tribe should honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year because of ongoing racial tensions nationwide and because the tribe is seeking to make amends with slavery.

Cherokee Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said Monday that the tribe is working to come to terms with its own history with African-American slavery and is welcoming descendants of former slaves, known as Freedmen.

A federal court ruled last year that the Freedmen had the same rights to tribal citizenship, voting, health care and housing as blood-line Cherokees.

Hoskin visited the Martin Luther King Community Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma and emphasized how King’s message of civil rights resonates with Native Americans.

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