Rogers County Cherokee Tribal Council representative, Cara Cowan-Watts, joined the vote to amend the Cherokee Nation Constitution to require Indian blood for enrollment in the tribe.

Cowan-Watts also supported the failed call for a special election on the matter.

Unless an initiative petition now being circulated throughout the Nation is approved, voters may not be able to vote on the issue until July 2007 during the tribe's scheduled elections.

The Indian-by-blood controversy was brought to the forefront in March when the Cherokee Nation Judicial Appeals Tribunal ruled descendants of black Freedmen (freed slaves who lived with the Cherokee Tribe during the 1800s) must be recognized as having full rights to tribal membership and services.

Cowan-Watts has vocalized her support for an "open vote" on the matter. She stated publicly at the June meeting of the Rogers County Cherokee Association that she does not support Freedman's rights to tribal citizenship.

Contact Clarice Doyle, cdoyle@cnhi.com