Letter: Rep. Watson wrong on Cherokee Freedmen
"In a recent opinion piece by Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., she criticized Sen. Barack Obama for being “wrong” on the freedmen issue. Sadly, it is Watson, not Obama, who lacks a complete understanding.

Politicians like Obama need to not only reject HR2824, but to also acknowledge the mistaken notions and faulty premises on which it is based.

Tribal governments retain the integrity of their culture and heritage by establishing guidelines for tribal membership. In the case of the Five Civilized Tribes, the final rolls of the tribes and freedmen are used as the principle documents for citizenship.

The tribes require that an individual be able to trace their lineage to an ancestor listed on the by-blood rolls in order to be a member. The only time in Cherokee history membership has been opened to non-Indians was between 2006 and 2007, when a court case in effect granted citizenship rights to descendants of the freedmen and intermarried whites listed on the Cherokee rolls.

A 2007 vote by the Cherokee people reiterated citizenship was for by-blood descendants, thereby revoking those memberships. Watson’s implication that “citizenship [was] suddenly removed because they were descended from slaves” is dangerously misinformed. "

Get the Story:
Hannah Flanagan-Flores: Obama knows what Watson’s bill tries to do (The Muskogee Phoenix 6/12)

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)

Related Stories:
Rep. Watson: Speech at Freedmen conference (6/11)
Cherokee Nation starts two more Freedmen websites (6/5)
Letter: Cherokee Nation chief's 'grandstanding' (6/5)
Letter: Stop 'bullying' of Cherokee Nation (6/4)
Senate approves NAHASDA reauthorization (05/23)
Opinion: Freedmen were never Cherokee citizens (5/21)
Mike Graham: The Cherokee Nation's Wounded Knee (5/20)
Opinion: Unethical removal of Cherokee Freedmen (5/16)
Rep. Watson: Obama wrong on Cherokee Freedmen (5/14)
Cherokee chief praises Obama as 'good president' (5/12)
Opinion: Freedmen victimized by Cherokee Nation (5/12)
Obama wants courts to resolve Freedmen dispute (5/9)
Letter: A solution to Cherokee Freedmen issue (5/8)
Appeals court hears Cherokee Freedmen dispute (5/7)
Appeals court to hear Cherokee Freedmen case (5/6)
Campbell: Congress destroying the Cherokee Nation (5/2)
Artman's tenure marked by Freedmen dispute (4/30)
Artman resigns after a year as head of BIA (4/29)
Opinion: Cherokee Nation's boat of federal funds (4/25)
Cherokee Freedmen dispute a threat to NAHASDA (4/24)
Opinion: The history of the Cherokee Freedmen (4/23)
Rep. Frank backs Freedmen in Cherokee funding fight (4/22)
Freedmen issue weighs heavy on Capitol Hill (4/14)
Tim Giago: CBC goes after Cherokee Nation (4/14)
Cherokee tribes denounce Freedmen legislation (4/10)
Cherokee chief to address Freedmen at conference (4/7)
Black lawmakers press Senate on Freedmen (4/4)
Cherokee Freedmen dispute up for hearing (3/27)
Opinion: Being Cherokee more than the blood (3/26)
Lawmakers press Artman on Freedmen issues (3/19)
Freedmen protest outside of Rep. Boren's office (3/3)
Black lawmakers to meet with Artman over Freedmen (1/23)
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