Leaders and representatives of five Oklahoma-based tribes have told a U.S. Senate committee they have followed treaties and court rulings regarding the citizenship of Freedmen and that the federal government should respect their sovereignty. Freedmen were the freed Black people enslaved by the Cherokee, Seminole, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Chickasaw nations. They were guaranteed the rights of tribal citizens under separate 1866 treaties with the United States. Many say only the Cherokee recognize the citizenship of Freedmen descendants. Senate Indian Affairs committee chair, Democrat Sen. Brian Schatz, says the goal of the committee is to begin conversations and educate the committee and public about the issue.