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Opinion
Editorial: Ouster of Freedmen a sign of elitism, fear


"Cherokees vote Saturday in a special election that won’t end a controversy within the nation, but it could disenfranchise those whose citizenship only was recognized last year by a tribal Supreme Court decision.

What Cherokees decide Saturday is their decision, but of course, what happens within the nation affects us here in eastern Oklahoma. So we feel a duty to comment, and two Phoenix editorial board members are of Native American descent.

We understand some Cherokees fear a loss of identity in allowing non-Indians whose ancesters were placed on the rolls long ago to be considered Cherokees. The fear of identity loss is what drives some Americans to fear immigration. That’s a ridiculous fear because America is about diversity, and diversity is not a bad thing.

The Cherokee Nation is about diversity, too, not racial purity, whether you’re talking about the last 300 years of history or the last 3,000 years. It’s about change, cultural change. Change does not deny the past. It enriches the present and future. If Cherokees vote yes in Saturday’s special election, they are voting for elitism and fear, both of which do not make a stronger people.

Vote no on the ballot proposal, which is actually a yes vote for greater citizen inclusion."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Cherokee vote about fear (The Muskogee Phoenix 3/1)

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

Cason Letter:
Cherokee Nation Constitution (August 30, 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

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