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The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeaste rn United States (principally Georgia, North

Carolina, South Carolina, and East Tennessee). Their language is an Iroquoian language. In the 19th century, histor ians and ethnographers recorded their oral tradition that told of the tribe havi ng migrated south in ancient times from the Great Lakes region, where other Iroq uoian-speaking peoples were located.They began to have contact with European tra ders in the 18th century. In the 19th century, white settlers in the United States called the Cherokee one of the "Five Civilized Tribes", because they had assimilated numerous cultural and technological practices of European American settlers. The Cherokee were one of the first, if not the first, major non-European ethnic group to become U.S. citizens. Article 8 in the 1817 treaty with the Cherokee stated Cherokees may wi sh to become citizens of the United States.According to the 2010 U.S. Census, th e Cherokee Nation has more than 314,000 members, the largest of the 566 federall y recognized Native American tribes in the United States. However several groups claiming Cherokee lineage that are not federally recognized make up some of tha t 819,000-plus people claiming Cherokee blood. The Cherokee Nation is the largest of three Cherokee federally recognized tribes in the United States. It was established in the 20th century, and includes peop le descended from members of the old Cherokee Nation who relocated from the Sout heast due to increasing pressure to Indian Territory and Cherokees who were forc ed to relocate on the Trail of Tears. The tribe also includes descendants of Che rokee Freedmen and Natchez Nation. Over 299,862 people are enrolled in the Chero kee Nation, with 189,228 living within the state of Oklahoma. According to Burea u of Indian Affairs (BIA) head Larry EchoHawk, the Cherokee Nation is not the hi storical Cherokee tribe but instead a "successor in interest." Headquartered in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation has a tribal jurisdict ional area spanning 14 counties in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma. These ar e Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Delaware, Mayes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Nowata, Ottawa, R ogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner, and Washington Counties. The tribe has a democratically elected government, led by a Principal Chief, Dep uty Chief, and Tribal Council. Bill John Baker was inaugurated as Principal Chie f for a four-year term on October 19, 2011 after a special election in which Che rokee Freedmen were allowed to vote, while issues related to their membership in the nation are being resolved.