indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
GOP candidate says Cherokees aren't real Indians
Friday, September 17, 2004

A conservative Republican in a highly competitive race with a Cherokee Nation tribal member is coming under fire for claiming that Cherokees "aren't Indians" and for suggesting that tribal sovereignty is a "joke."

Tom Coburn, a former Congressman who won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate over rivals who had the backing of party leaders, told a town hall meeting in Altus, Oklahoma, recently that the Cherokee Nation wants to enroll more members in order to receive more federal funds. He questioned the legitimacy of the tribe's heritage and said "the average Cherokee [blood] quantum is 1/512."

"Alright, listen, I know the tribal issues," he said on August 21. "I was a congressman where most of the Indians are in this state. The problem is, most of them aren't Indians."

Coburn went on to criticize attempts by several Oklahoma tribes to assert environmental authority over their lands. He then blasted opponent Rep. Brad Carson (D), a Cherokee member, for sponsoring a bill that would prevent land owned by Cherokee and other citizens of the Five Civilized Nations from falling out of trust.

"I mean this is a joke," Coburn told the audience. "It is one thing for us to keep our obligations to recognize Native Americans, but it's a totally different thing for us to allow a primitive agreement with the Native Americans to undermine Oklahoma's future and that's what they're talking about doing and it's big money."

The remarks largely went unnoticed until the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is making a big push on behalf of Carson, began circulating them. Previously, only Coburn's characterization of the race against Carson as "the battle of good versus evil," also made at the Altus meeting, ended up in the mainstream press.

But now, tribal leaders who are firing back at Coburn for his "divisive" comments. Even though some are registered Republicans, they say they aren't going to support him.

"I'm a Republican and it is hard to understand why Tom Coburn takes pride in dividing Oklahoma and ridiculing people," said Chad Smith, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. "If you disagree with him, you are evil. There's no discussion, no room for understanding."

"I've been a Republican all my life and Tom Coburn is an embarrassment to the Republican party," added Bill Johnson, a tribal council member.

The battle between Coburn and Carson is a significant one for several reasons. Carson would be the only Native American in the Senate since Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana, is retiring.

The outcome of the race also will help determine which party controls the Senate. Democrats and Republicans are hoping to pick up seats in order to shift the balance of power in what is now a one-member Republican majority.

Polls currently show the two candidates neck-and-neck. A television poll released this week put Carson in the lead but only by two points. Nearly one in five voters was undecided. The Senate seat up for grabs is being vacated by Republican Don Nickels, who is retiring.

Smith has said in the past that the Cherokee Nation does not endorse candidates for public office. But he has actively encouraged tribal members to vote. The tribe counts more than 200,000 members.

Former principal chief Wilma Mankiller is supporting Democratic candidates, including the presidential ticket of Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards. She characterized Coburn as a radical who is out of touch with America.

"Tom Coburn's extremist views on the basic rights of women and outrageous views of tribal citizens and their governments are shocking and simply too far out of the mainstream for him to serve as our United States Senator," she said.

Carson won his party's nomination in July with 80 percent of the vote. He was elected twice to the U.S. House, serving the 2nd Congressional district, which has the highest percentage of Native Americans anywhere in the country.

Listen to Coburn:
Remarks at Altus Town Hall (August 21, 2004)

Relevant Links:
Cherokee Nation - http://www.cherokee.org
Tom Coburn - http://www.coburnforsenate.com
Brad Carson, campaign site - http://www.bradcarson.com
Brad Carson, U.S. House site - http://carson.house.gov

Related Stories:
Senate candidate Coburn denies malpractice (9/15)
Senate race pits tribal member against conservative (07/28)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Appeals court hears slew of Indian cases amid focus on nominee (3/23)
Internal tribal disputes continue to trip up federal court system (3/23)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care gains ignored in political debate (3/23)
Native Sun News Today: Young fighters maintain Lakota tradition (3/23)
Ivan Star Comes Out: America loses its self-respect and humanity (3/23)
Rosalyn LaPier: Why water remains sacred to indigenous peoples (3/23)
Winona LaDuke: North Dakota spreads filth about water protectors (3/23)
Harold Monteau: Tribal governments are abusing their own people (3/23)
Alex Jacobs: Donald Trump in middle of the 'deep state civil war' (3/23)
Secretary Zinke announces 'doggy days' for Interior Department (3/23)
Keystone XL Pipeline route crosses Ponca Tribe's forced removal (3/23)
Indian lawmaker resigns after being charged for child prostitution (3/23)
Pinoleville Pomo Nation buys site of long-delayed casino project (3/23)
High court pick acknowledges poor treatment of 'sovereign' tribes (3/22)
Dakota Access submits another status update entirely under seal (3/22)
Court allows claim for alleged underpayment in Cobell settlement (3/22)
South Dakota tribes continue to extend Class III gaming compacts (3/22)
Cowlitz Tribe secures approval to offer liquor as casino debut nears (3/22)
Native Sun News Today: Community project continues at Pine Ridge (3/22)
Cronkite News: Copper mine on sacred site complains about delays (3/22)
Mary Annette Pember: Awareness for missing and murdered sisters (3/22)
Stacy Pratt: Visiting the gravesite of Andrew Jackson in Tennessee (3/22)
Murder charge filed for fatal shooting of Navajo Nation police officer (3/22)
Muckleshoot Tribe still seeking answers for fatal shooting by officer (3/22)
Hopland Band submits claim for county raid of marijuana operation (3/22)
Chukchansi Tribe sued for $21M by gaming development company (3/22)
Seminole Tribe accused of breaking contract with outlet at casino (3/22)
Indian Child Welfare Act survives attack from conservative groups (3/21)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on diabetes (3/21)
Ponca Tribe hosts 282-mile walk to retrace trail of forced removal (3/21)
National Indian Gaming Association honors Native casting director (3/21)
Native Sun News Today: Whiteclay liquor sales up for review again (3/21)
James Giago Davies: It's time to take a trip to the Great Upstairs (3/21)
Smith and Wakefield: Obamacare repeal is bad for Indian Country (3/21)
Steve Russell: Domestic status of Indian nations invented in 1831 (3/21)
Steven Newcomb: Pope Francis must address domination legacy (3/21)
Tulalip Tribes install 1st leadership board with women in majority (3/21)
Osage Nation passes referendum to legalize same-sex marriage (3/21)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe returns to court to seek federal recognition (3/21)
Lawmakers pushing for federal recognition of six tribes in Virginia (3/21)
Cowlitz Tribe casino seen as impacting lottery revenues in Oregon (3/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.