Following the Civil War, the Cherokee Nation (plaintiff) entered a treaty in 1866 with the United States promising to end all slavery and involuntary servitude within the Cherokee Nation. The treaty agreed that all freedmen (freed slaves of African American descent) then living in the Cherokee Nation, or who returned within six months, and their descendants would have all the same rights as native Cherokees. The United States Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes compiled a final listing of all Cherokee freedmen at the time, called the Dawes Freedom Roll. A century and a half later, the Cherokee Nation brought a lawsuit seeking a declaration that the treaty did not guarantee present-day descendants of the freedmen a continuing right to Cherokee Nation citizenship. Raymond Nash and other descendants of Cherokee freedmen (defendants) filed cross-claims asserting rights to Cherokee citizenship. Both sides filed cross-motions for summary judgment.