Life in Possum Holler

Saline County, Arkansas, United States
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31 August 2008

Arkansas Cherokees Strive For Recognition

Times Record, (Fort Smith, Arkansas) Tuesday, 26 August 2008, by Hicham Raache

In its quest to gain federal recognition, the Arkansas Cherokee Nation tribe visited Fort Smith Saturday and helped residents toward claiming their Cherokee heritage.Members of the Arkansas Cherokee Nation, aka Chickamauga Cherokee, met with community members and visitors from afar at Creekmore Park’s Azalea Room Saturday afternoon and advised them on how to become official members of the Cherokee Nation.

The Conway-based Chickamauga Cherokee has been striving since December 2007 to be officially recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, thus becoming Arkansas’ first federally recognized American Indianorganization, according to Principal Chief Harold Helton.“We need to prove we existed as a community,”

Helton said to the handfuls of community members in attendance. “We can’t (be recognized) just by filling out an application and getting an Indian identification card.”While they are currently in the process of petitioning the Bureau of Indian Affairs for tribal recognition, Chickamauga Cherokee members are traveling throughout the state and educating anyone who may have Cherokee ancestry on how to become a federally recognized Cherokee and gain benefits.

“If you have one drop of Cherokee blood, you’re Cherokee as far as I’m concerned,” Helton said.Guiding Cherokee descendants in registering with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Helton said, helps build his tribe’s base roll, which he said is based on all of the Cherokees who were in Arkansas in the 1800s. . . .

For information about the Arkansas Cherokee Nation, contact Smith at (501) 963-3713 or visit on the Web. {For complete story, click on link]