Cherokee Nation's Freedmen Descendants have an MLK Day for the record books

Posted at 6:58 PM, Jan 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-15 19:58:33-05

MUSKOGEE, Okla. - Throughout the country Monday people celebrated the work and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but in Green Country Monday morning there wasn't only a celebration but a demonstration of Dr. King's hopes for America. 

The history of the Cherokee Nation's Freedmen descendants is complicated

"We need someone to acknowledge all and not just certain ones," Freedmen Descendant Rodslen Brown-King told 2 Works for You years ago. 

The men and women born of the Cherokee Nation's slaves have fought for years for tribal citizenship. 

"God made us all, we're all the same, we have the same blood, he just made different colors," said Freedmen Descendant Anna Nicholson. 

This summer they got it, and Monday they felt it. 

"We want everyone - the tribe to accept us, and we don't have any hard feelings toward them, we love them," she said.

The tribe's chief signing a proclamation declaring it recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a Cherokee Nation holiday for the very first time. 

"We wanted to make sure that we were able to, on this particular day, come and join our brothers and sisters and share in this particular celebration," said Kimberly Teehee of the Cherokee Nation.

The Nation not only a sponsor of the event, but its chief front and center.

"They're accepting us, and that's what's so fulfilling," Brown-King said.

Monday, Muskogee was proud the only community center in the state bearing Dr. King's name is now bringing a new meaning to an old dream. 

"Today was very significant as far as them even reaching out to us to help bring unity and bringing the community together," said the center's Director Derrick Reed. 

Rodslen who's been vocal throughout a painful journey remembers her mother, who never got to see it happen. 

"From the start it was a little bit of anger, and hurt and pain, suffering, and now it's excitement, happiness, joy." 

And a man who dared to dream. 

"He was a strong man and he fought for us all, and that's what this is about, unity."

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