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From the time she was a bit of lady, Marilyn Vann knew she was Black and she or he was Cherokee. But when she utilized for citizenship within the Cherokee Nation as an grownup, she was denied. What adopted was a journey right into a darkish a part of Cherokee historical past that not many individuals learn about and even fewer perceive: Vann and her household are descended from individuals who had been enslaved by the Cherokee Nation. They had been freed after the Civil War, however that wasn’t the top of their wrestle. In 1866, the Cherokee Nation made a promise—a promise of citizenship for these “freedmen” and their descendants. But within the years that adopted, that promise could be on the heart of a battle between civil rights and sovereignty.
Related Viewing: Will Congress Fulfill a 184-Year-Old Promise?
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This episode was produced by Tracie Hunte, with assist from Gabrielle Berbey. Editing by Jenny Lawton and Julia Longoria. Fact-check by Will Gordon. Sound design by Joe Plourde with extra engineering by Jen Munson. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Special due to Gregory Smithers and Will Chavez.