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Cherokee Nation's HUD funding frozen over freedman decision

By WAYNE GREENE - Tulsa World Modified: September 8, 2011 at 6:42 am •  Published: September 8, 2011
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Federal housing officials have frozen funding to the Cherokee Nation in response to a tribal court decision terminating citizenship for about 2,800 descendants of former slaves.

"HUD has suspended disbursements to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma while we seek additional guidance on an unclear statute involving the Freedmen," Deputy Assistant HUD Secretary Jereon Brown said in an email to the Tulsa World. "The funding can be restored once this issue is resolved."

On Aug. 31, Cherokee officials attempted to draw $33 million from the tribe's account with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but HUD rejected the draw, according to a Sept. 2 letter from tribal Attorney General Diane Hammons to HUD administrator Wayne Simms.

A Tuesday news release from HUD announced $52.6 million in awards to tribes around the nation, including 13 tribes in Oklahoma. No funding for the Cherokees was included in the announcement.

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