August 26, 2006 -- Posted at 5:00 p.m. CDT
BATESVILLE, AR -- Many of us don't realize it, but there are hundreds of American Indians living right here in Region 8.
The Trail of Tears ran right through Arkansas and Missouri, and on that trail were many different Indian nations.
Arlie Strong is a member of the Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory, and according to him, their primary goal is to be recognized by the American government.
"You've got to have a written history, which we have," said Strong.
In all there are seven steps you have to take to be able to apply to be recognized as an Indian nation. Those seven steps have been completed by the Northern Cherokee Nation of the old Louisiana Territory.
"We have sent in our recognition package, and now we're just waiting for the government to respond," said Strong.
There are many reasons recognition is so important to Indian nations, besides being recognized for being who they are.
"There would be loans and grants available to us that we're not able to get now, and there would be educational benefits for our young people," said Strong.
Strong said he would like to see more of the younger generations get involved in the tribal government to pass the Cherokee heritage on.