Column: Cherokee citizenship about sovereignty
"It’s safe to say that my fellow Cherokees in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma have a mess on their hands. A referendum to remove membership from descendants of the Freedmen, freed slaves once owned by members of the Cherokee Nation, passed. The result was frequent accusations of racism, along with some misrepresentation in the mainstream media and a proposal from one member of Congress to dissolve the federal relationship.

The vote was one of ensuring an Indian ancestor on the base roll. Being black or any other race doesn’t matter as long as that ancestor is there, but where it gets messy is that these descendants were given citizenship through a treaty. While forced, it’s still a legal document. The Cherokee Nation also successfully fought to revoke recognition of the Delaware, making them subject to the Cherokee Nation, which throws out any Cherokee ancestry argument.

The Cherokee Nation has every right to determine its own citizenship criteria, a cornerstone of sovereignty. U.S. Indian policy stands to return to what it was in the 1950s when the U.S. was trying to wipe out self-governance."

Get the Story:
Joe Martin: Freedmen row is not about racism but sovereignty (The Asheville Citizen-Times 9/6)

Cherokee-Related Legislation:
H.R.2895 | H.R.2824 | H.R.3002

BIA Letters:
August 9, 2007 | July 11, 2007 | June 22, 2007 | May 21, 2007 | March 28, 2007 | August 30, 2006

Sovereign Immunity Court Decision:
Vann v. Kempthorne (December 19, 2006)

Cherokee Nation Judicial Appeals Tribunal Decision in Freedmen Case:
Allen v. Cherokee Nation (March 7, 2006)

Relevant Links:
Cherokee Nation - http://www.cherokee.org
Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes - http://www.freedmen5tribes.com
Freedmen Conference - http://www.freedmenconference.com

Related Stories:
Cherokee chief blasts 'hostile' members of Congress (9/4)
Rep. Watson: Congressional oversight of Freedmen (9/4)
Opinion: Cherokee Nation wrong on Freedmen (8/31)
NAACP denounces Cherokee Nation over Freedmen (8/27)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation takes the heat (8/24)
Editorial: Rep. Watson roars through Oklahoma (8/23)
Rep. Watson, Chief Smith face off over Freedmen (8/22)
Rep. Watson holds forums on Cherokee Freedmen (8/21)
Graham: Facts and fiction on Cherokee Freedmen (8/16)
Rep. Watson schedules meetings on Freedmen (8/15)
Cherokee Nation chief sworn into another term (8/15)
BIA opposes Congressional oversight on Freedmen (8/13)
Opinion: Cherokee Nation punished for ancestry (8/13)
BIA changes course on Cherokee Nation amendment (8/10)
Sen. Coburn backs Cherokee Freedmen citizenship (8/10)
Opinion: Cherokee Nation can't win on Freedmen (8/10)
Cherokee Nation given a month on Freedmen issue (8/3)
Rep. Boren claims agreement on Cherokee funding (8/2)
Graham: Bill seeks to terminate Cherokee Nation (8/2)
Bill cutting Cherokee Nation funds faces vote (7/30)
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Column: Treaty at issue in Freedmen dispute (07/16)
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Letter: Cherokee Nation and treaty negotiations (6/22)
Rep. Watson to introduce Cherokee Freedmen bill (6/21)
UKB Chief: Cherokee Nation can't break treaty (6/20)
Blog: Cherokee chief offers Freedmen a deal (6/20)
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Editorial: No reason to remove Cherokee Freedmen (6/18)
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Letter: A new leader for the Cherokee Nation (6/6)
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Cherokee leader: Freedmen case not winnable (5/11)
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Graham: Cherokee Nation tarred with 'racist' label (4/2)
Cherokee Freedmen protest ouster from tribe (3/28)
Opinion: Ouster of Freedmen is Cherokee business (3/23)
Opinion: Outrage over ouster of Cherokee Freedmen (3/22)
Marilyn Vann: Loss of Cherokee Nation citizenship (3/21)
Website Review: The revolt of the Black Seminoles (3/20)
Column: Freedmen still slaves to Cherokee Nation (3/19)
Opinion: Cherokees have a right to oust Freedmen (3/19)
Opinion: Cherokee Freedmen play the race card (3/19)
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Editorial: Ouster of Freedmen a low point for Cherokees (3/8)
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