Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Cherokee proud to live.."

I find THIS fascinating and would like your input.  Have you heard of this case?  Here's the whole article:

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A federal order for one of the nation's largest American Indian tribes to restore voting rights and benefits to about 2,800 descendants of members' former slaves threw plans for a special election for a new chief into turmoil Tuesday.
The federal government sent the sternly-worded letter to the Cherokee Nation after it sent letters last week kicking the descendants out of the tribe and stripping them of benefits including medical care, food stipends and assistance for low-income homeowners.
The tribe also barred the descendants from voting in a Sept. 24 special election for principal chief. The Cherokee Supreme Court ordered the special election after it said it could not determine with certainty the outcome of a close and hotly contested June election between incumbent Chad Smith and longtime tribal councilman Bill John Baker. The results had flip-flopped between the two during weeks of counts and recounts. Baker had twice been declared winner, but so had Smith.
The federal government said that unless the descendants, known as freedmen, were allowed to vote, the upcoming election wouldn't be valid.
"I urge you to consider carefully the nation's next steps in proceeding with an election that does not comply with federal law," Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk wrote in letter Friday to acting Chief S. Joe Crittenden. "The department will not recognize any action taken by the nation that is inconsistent with these principles and does not accord its freedmen members full rights of citizenship."
Crittenden said the special election would take place as scheduled.
"The Cherokee Nation will not be governed by the (Bureau of Indian Affairs)," he said. "We will hold our election and continue our long legacy of responsible self-governance."
The election has drawn national interest because while the tribe is based in Tahlequah, many of its 300,000 members live outside Oklahoma.
The freedmen have asked a federal judge to restore their voting rights before the special election, and a hearing is planned next week in federal court in Washington.
The tribe never owned black slaves, but some individual members did. They were freed after the Civil War, in which the tribe allied with the Confederacy. An 1866 treaty between the tribe and the federal government gave the freedmen and their descendants "all the rights of native Cherokees."
More than 76 percent of Cherokee voters approved a 2007 amendment removing the freedmen and other non-Indians from the tribal rolls, but no action was taken until the tribe's Supreme Court upheld the results of that special election last month. Cherokee leaders who backed the amendment, including Smith, said the vote was about the fundamental right of every government to determine its citizens, not about racial exclusion.
But the Department of the Interior said Tuesday that it still believes the expulsion is unconstitutional because it violates the 1866 treaty.
Marilyn Vann, president of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, said she hopes the federal order will result in the election being delayed.
"The freedmen people still have rights in the tribe such as voting," Vann said Tuesday. "We'll have our day in court."

Z: Think this is really about VOTING?   What are your thoughts?



beamish said...

As an unrecognized Cherokee (although I meet the "quarter-blood" quantum requirement and could "join") I say they ought to tell the Bureau of "Indian" Affairs to go back to Delhi and leave the affairs of a native American protectorate well enough alone. ;)

Always On Watch said...

I looked up the 1866 treaty. I also found THIS at Wiki; the entry is about the controversy and indicates that the controversy is not a new one.

Excerpt from this part of the Wiki entry:

On May 22, 2007, the Cherokee Nation received notice from the BIA that the Cherokee Nation’s amendments to the 1975 Cherokee Nation Constitution were rejected because they required BIA approval, which had not been obtained. The BIA also stated concerns that the Cherokee Nation had excluded the Cherokee Freedmen from voting for the 2003 (1999) Constitutional amendments, since they had been improperly shorn of their rights of citizenship years earlier and were not allowed to participate in the constitutional referendum. This is considered a violation of the 1970 Principal Chiefs Act, which requires that all tribal members must vote.

According to Chief Smith, the 1975 Indian Self Determination Act overrode the 1970 Principal Chiefs Act and removing the Freedmen descendants was in accordance to the former act....

The Cherokee Nation is a separate nation, albeit under the oversight of the BIA.

Now, in the 1970s (Remember Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee? Remember what happened at Alcatraz Islam?), many liberals felt that the Cherokee Nation should have the right to more self-determination. If so, then the Cherokee Nation can decide who should be a part of the tribe.

Anyway, the freedmen issue has been a troubled one in the Cherokee Nation ever since the 1866 treaty.

Racial in origin? Yes. But also cultural as the Cherokee view of slavery has been that of enslaving the conquered ones.

One reason for the 1866 treaty was that the Cherokee Nation supported the union during the American Civil War. Once the North won, the Cherokee Nation sided with the victor -- also quite typical of a tribal culture.

Native Americans do have a lot of benefits -- as alluded to in the article.

Always On Watch said...

Maybe a backlash against Obama with the present controversy?

Z said...

Blogger Always On Watch said...

Maybe a backlash against Obama with the present controversy?"

AOW: I've been wondering the same thing.
Also, the CHerokee didn't own slaves as a nation, individuals did back when, sadly, lots of individuals outside the Cherokee nation had slaves, as well (or not so well, of course)

Elmers Brother said...

Must be union ties somewhere.

Always On Watch said...


...African Americans lost their Cherokee citizenship last month when the Cherokee Supreme Court voted to support the right of tribal members to change the tribe's constitution on citizenship matters. The change meant that Cherokee Freedmen who could not prove they have a Cherokee blood relation were no longer citizens, making them ineligible to vote in tribal elections or receive benefits....

Joe Conservative said...

My daughter just completed her internship with the FCC Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) advisorsy group researching legal issues associated with radio and communications services on the many reservations. One thing that I learned from her experience, was that US taxpayers spend a lot of money guarantying Native Americans access to cell phones, communications networks, etc.

So I'd say that if the Native Americans wish to continue receiving all the aid and assistance that they currently receive from the federal government, they had best comply with the BIA's wishes. Otherwise, let them ween themselves off the federal welfare spigot... and learn what rugged individualism and independence truly means. And if I were one of them, THAT is what I would try and do.

Joe Conservative said...

I'd imitate the "Wise Men of Gotham".

Silverfiddle said...

As Ronald Reagan said, "Get in bed with big government and don't be surprised if you get more than a good night's sleep.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs have been treating native Americans as a special class (and doing a horrible job). They can't claim special benefits on one hand then go tell the bureau to stuff it on the other hand.

Take money from Uncle Sam and he calls the tune...

Chuck said...

I tend to think that

One, they signed a treaty and should follow it. I will conceded one point here though - historically the government has seen fit to disregard treaties when beneficial to them so this does blunt this argument a bit.

Two, they get federal benefits they live under the federal rules. Make a deal with the devil...

Great Reagan Quote Silverfiddle

Z said...

Ya, there's that, too. They're getting goodies from the BIA, so how can they tell them 'shove off'?

There's the aspect that freedmen have basically been living off the Cherokee goodies they've given them...
Do the Cherokees have a right to tell them they're no longer included?

If AOW's information is the case, and it seems that it is, if freedmen can't prove they deserve the goodies, then what?

Bob said...

As stated before, the Cherokees need to go their own way, or do what the BIA says. Either they respect the treaty or give up their goodies.

From what I have read, Indians have always welcomed other races into their culture. Many of the Seminole Indians that left Florida after the defeat of Spain were a mix of Indian and African heritage. Escaped slaves would go to Florida and become part of the Indian culture.

I have also read that it was not unusual for Indians to have slaves, either. So, I don't know how much race had to do with the situation.

Ticker said...

AOW, Cherokee's were on the side of the South, not the Union. They hated Andrew Jackson who as president ordered the march that became the Trail of Tears. They also were not happy with Lincoln. Seward campaigned for Lincoln promised to open Indian lands to white settlers and that didn't set well with the Cherokee. Yes some did fight for the Union when the Union lied to them, what else is new, and said if they stayed with the Southern forces they were for slavery. Some split and went with the Union.
My ancestors stayed with the South and while they were mainly doing battle against Union forces in East Tennesse, Middle Tn and in the Western part of NC, they were loyal to the south until Lee surrendered.

cube said...

Wasn't it Machiavelli who said that he who dines with the devil should use a very long spoon?

Brooke said...

What a ball of yarn! And where exactly is the MSM on this?

Leticia said...

So, this is the first I have heard about this. I am not really sure what to think at this point, but I think AOW nailed. I would say a definite backlash.

beamish said...

That's pretty much why I haven't "joined" the Cherokee Nation, though by "law" and by family tree I'm hella more "Cherokee" than a lot of the ones recieving BIA benefits.

Then again, the Cherokee relatives I have remained on or near actual Cherokee lands and were descended from people who had taken up arms to stay there rather than stroll down the Trail of Beers, er Tears to Oklahoma.

No government will ever uproot me and tell me where to live. That's "Cherokee" enough for me.

I will say that the Cherokee are moving to restrict the number of people on the BIA dole, so that can't be a bad thing in that light.

Anonymous said...

I was watching....a rundown of Comrade O's appearance in NC.

It was said that from the DNC chairperson that the election hinged upon....the "African hyphen American" turnout!

In other's been assumed in NC...that all blacks MUST...MUST....Without any alternative...VOTE....BLACK!!!

Now...I have to would it go over if let's say Perry.....said that his success depended on all for him in order for him to succeed?

I'm outraged....I'm disgusted that America has already been transformed into...a balkanized...racist society where we al vote...on color.

Bob said...

" .racist society where we al vote...on color."

Doesn't sound like much change since the 1950's. The only difference is that reverse discrimination now dominates.

Always On Watch said...

Apparently, not all of the Cherokee supported the Confederacy:

In 1863, by an act of the Cherokee National Council, the Cherokee who supported the Union abolished the practice of African slavery in the Cherokee Nation.