WASHINGTON (DC) – The Cherokee tribe is immune from a lawsuit from former African slaves who were denied the right to vote in tribal elections, the D.C. Circuit ruled.
However, while sovereign immunity applies to the tribe, individual tribal leaders do not enjoy such immunity.
The lawsuit, led by Marilyn Vann, falls within the Ex parte Young ruling, which protects the tribe but allows lawsuits against tribal leaders.
Members of the Cherokee Nation owned slaves until the tribe abolished in the practice by signing the Treaty of 1866.