Chief Smith: Cherokee vote on Freedmen not racist
"The Forum piece "'Black' Cherokees fight for heritage" wrongly accused the Cherokee Nation of racism because it voted to require all citizens to have an Indian ancestor on the federally authorized base roll of our people.

It ignored the fact that we are one of the most diverse Indian tribes. We have thousands of black, Latino, Asian and white citizens. The Nation also will help any descendants of Freedmen, or the name commonly referring to black Cherokees, to find out whether they have Indian ancestry. Contrary to the column, money was irrelevant to the Cherokee people's vote. The Nation doesn't distribute gaming revenue to individuals. Instead, it reinvests in public works for our citizens and communities beyond the Cherokees.

The piece omitted the fact that the issue of whether the U.S.-Cherokee Treaty of 1866 gave citizenship to the Freedmen or their descendants is being litigated. We believe the treaty never granted them citizenship. In 1906, Congress passed the Five Tribes Act, which clarified that today's Freedmen descendants neither have rights to property nor citizenship. Even so, the Cherokee Nation supported a court order giving disenrolled Freedmen descendants critical social and health services and the right to vote until all litigation is resolved."

Get the Story:
Principal Chief Chad Smith: Cherokee Nation's vote is not racist (USA Today 10/23)

Cherokee-Related Legislation:
H.R.2786 | 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:
Opinion: Playing the nation card over Freedmen (10/19)
Opinion: Ross Swimmer to blame for Freedmen (10/18)
Letter: Anger and disgust at Cherokee Nation (10/18)
Cherokee Nation lobbyist was Black Caucus official (10/17)
Opinion: Cherokee Freedmen dealt a cruel blow (10/17)
Opinion: Bill cuts health care for Cherokee Nation (10/12)
Letter: Chief Smith brings down the Cherokee Nation (10/2)
Cherokee Nation faulted on Freedmen (10/1)
Congressional Black Caucus to host Freedmen panel (9/26)
Cherokee Nation hurt by Freedmen dispute (9/24)
Chief Smith: Cherokee Nation helps UKB members (9/17)
Editorial: Wait for courts on Freedmen dispute (9/17)
Editorial: Common sense in Freedmen dispute (9/11)
House approves NAHASDA reauthorization (9/7)
Column: Cherokee citizenship about sovereignty (9/6)
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)
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Rep. Watson holds forums on Cherokee Freedmen (8/21)
Graham: Facts and fiction on Cherokee Freedmen (8/16)
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BIA opposes Congressional oversight on Freedmen (8/13)
Opinion: Cherokee Nation punished for ancestry (8/13)
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Opinion: Cherokee Nation can't win on Freedmen (8/10)
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Rep. Boren claims agreement on Cherokee funding (8/2)
Graham: Bill seeks to terminate Cherokee Nation (8/2)
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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)
Letter: Cherokee citizenship not about blood (6/20)
Editorial: No reason to remove Cherokee Freedmen (6/18)
Bill would cut funding to Cherokee Nation (6/18)
Chad Smith: Cherokee Nation exercises sovereignty (6/15)
Federal court won't halt Cherokee election (6/14)
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Letter: Change in leadership for the Cherokee Nation (6/12)
Chad Smith: Cherokee sovereignty at stake (6/11)
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Editorial: The Shame of the Cherokee Nation (6/8)
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Letter: A new leader for the Cherokee Nation (6/6)
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Cherokee Nation blasts BIA over constitution (5/23)
BIA rejects 2003 Cherokee Nation constitution (5/22)
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Cherokee Freedmen protest ouster from tribe (5/14)
Cherokee leader: Freedmen case not winnable (5/11)
Cherokee Freedmen back in court over ouster (5/11)
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Freedmen protest removal at BIA office in Oklahoma (4/11)
Rolo: Cherokee Nation blasted for ousting Freedmen (4/4)
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)
Opinion: Racism exists within Cherokee Nation (3/15)
Congressional Black Caucus backs Freedmen (3/14)
Tim Giago: Cherokee Nation votes out Freedmen (3/12)
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Column: Cherokee Nation loses moral ground with vote (3/9)
Editorial: Ouster of Freedmen a low point for Cherokees (3/8)
Freedmen to challenge ouster, Cherokee funding (3/7)
Commentary: Cherokee blood spread far and wide (3/7)
Slate: What's so good about being Cherokee? (3/6)
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Cherokee Nation heads to polls to decide on Freedmen (3/2)
Chad Smith: Cherokee Nation not based on race (3/2)
Editorial: Ouster of Freedmen a sign of elitism, fear (3/2)
Voice of America: Cherokees to vote on Freedmen (2/27)
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Freedmen in court to halt Cherokee Nation vote (2/21)
Freedmen ask federal court to halt Cherokee election (2/5)
Cherokees in California want to be part of community (01/16)
Ouster of Cherokee Freedmen an issue in California (1/15)
Election to oust Cherokee Freedmen delayed (1/3)
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