Federal Court dismisses the Vann case

October 03, 2011

Cherokee Nation Seal

Statement from Acting Principal Chief Joe Crittenden:

The Cherokee Nation claimed a victory on Friday evening in the Vann case that has been pending in the Court of the District of Columbia for approximately 8 years. I would like to thank all of the employees, the Attorney General and legal counsel for their efforts in getting this resolved. 

After speaking to the Attorney General and legal counsel, I believe that the injunction still remains in effect because Judge Kennedy entered the injunctive orders in both the Vann lawsuit and the Nash lawsuit. (This means the extra voting days will remain.) If you recall, the Nation filed a similar lawsuit in the Northern District Court of Oklahoma asking the federal court to decide the same issue which is commonly referred to as the Nash case. The Nash case is still active and has been transferred back to Tulsa. 

The Attorney General and legal counsel will work to get the Nash case resolved in which the Nation is now also a defendant in the lawsuit because the Freedmen parties counter-sued. Hopefully, the Nash case will move faster now that it is in the Northern District Court of Oklahoma, and we will have a final resolution to this issue. In the meantime, please encourage your family and friends who have not voted to utilize the extra voting days and to get out and vote. I will continue to keep you updated and I hope for positive movement in the upcoming weeks.

Statement from Cherokee Nation Attorney General Diane Hammons: 

A federal judge dismissed a case brought by Freedmen descendants seeking citizenship in the Cherokee Nation late Friday. Federal District Court Judge Henry Kennedy dismissed the Vann v. Salazar case, which had been pending in Washington, D.C. for eight years. 

"The case brought by Freedmen descendants against the Cherokee Nation has been dismissed," said Diane Hammons, Attorney General for the Cherokee Nation. "The court upheld our arguments we made more than two years ago. Last week's hearing allowed us to bring closure to the case by having oral arguments leading to the dismissal of the Freedmen descendants' claims. The order from Judge Kennedy was exactly what the Cherokee Nation had asked for: a full dismissal of the Vann case and a transfer of the Nash case, brought by the Cherokee Nation, back to Oklahoma where it was filed and where it should be heard." 

Hammons said that based on previous court orders, the Cherokee Nation election currently underway will not be affected by today's rulings and the Freedmen descendants retain citizenship while the Nash case continues in Oklahoma. 

Court Documents 
Judgement in the Vann Case
Order Dismissing the Vann Case
Federal Court Ruling