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The Cherokee Nation and Black slaves, Cherokee Freedmen and now Cherokee Freedmen descendants have a nearly 300-year history.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A group seeking to further reduce the state's high incarceration rate says it has enough signatures to qualify the question for the ballot and filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to force the secretary of state to accept the signatures.

TULSA (AP) -- Oklahoma voters may get to decide whether to amend the state constitution to bar people convicted of non-violent felonies from having to serve extra prison time because of previous convictions for non-violent offenses.

The Cherokee people have spent generations surviving and persevering through a series of federal policies that conspire to destroy our government, break up our families and relegate our people to the pages of history. As most of us know, it has been going on a long time. In 1835, the Treaty of New Echota led to the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from our homelands in the southeast to Indian Territory, while at the same time ceding vast amounts of traditional and prosperous homelands. Thankfully our leaders, while at the table negotiating with the federal government, had the foresight to insert into the treaty a long-term provision they knew would serve in our best interest for generations to come. They bargained with the federal government, as mutual sovereigns, for the guaranteed right to have a Cherokee Congressional delegate, so that we would always have a voice in Washington, D.C.