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Opinion
Opinion: Racism exists within Cherokee Nation


"What some people do not know, or have seemingly forgotten, is that long before that, hundreds of Black slaves escaped into the Cherokee nation and lived among the tribe. Some unfortunately became slaves there.

Others became freedmen. Most intermarried. Their descendents number in the thousands today.

When I was a young man and learned that my ancestry included Cherokee blood, I was proud. I also knew that in all likelihood, that meant that I may also have Black genes in me. That thought made me even prouder.

But none of this was spoken of openly in my extended family in the South. There were no proud tales or information of that era or kinship. It was never mentioned. When I asked about it, I was ignored and shut up.

Obviously, they were ashamed of any connection to that part of our past. They were racists.

But evidently that’s okay. Once again, because a person looks Black, even though they have proof of a great deal of Cherokee ancestry, they are no longer acceptable. All is not lost.

Those voted out will not immediately lose their benefits. That’s probably because the Cherokees know the Seminole nation tried the same thing several years ago and eventually lost in the Supreme Court.

Those who cast this terrible vote are guilty of the worst kind of racism and hypocrisy. Perhaps their family connections within the nation that are called clans should now be spelled with a “K."

Get the Story:
Ed Barber: Sad to say, racism exists in Cherokee nation (The High Springs Herald 3/15)

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

Jim 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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