The Cherokee Nation next week will mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official holiday for the first time.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker recently signed an executive order declaring next Monday as a Cherokee Nation national holiday. The decision comes months after a federal court ruled that descendants of black slaves, known as freedmen, who were owned by members of the nation have a right to tribal citizenship.
Baker said the declaration was both a tribute to King's contributions and a call to play a part in continuing his work.
He asked Cherokee Nation citizens to dedicate a day of service to their communities.
Baker called King a "remarkable advocate" for all people of color in America, "including Indian country."
The principal chief noted that King wrote about colonization and the injustices committed against indigenous peoples.
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