Graham: Cherokee Nation tarred with 'racist' label

Mike Graham, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is the founder of United Native America.

It seems the American Indian community has been hit with another disease brought to our home land: Racism! Blacks are lining up to tell news groups that Indians are racists and bigots over the 1866 treaty between the Federal Government and Oklahoma Cherokee Nation. In each one of their reports it's clear that they do not know what it means to be an American Indian. It's all over the Oklahoma Cherokee Nations citizenship vote.

The nations people voted to exclude people of non Cherokee blood. This action affected two groups of people that were given citizenship under an 1866 treaty between the federal government and the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation. One group was called Intermarried Whites and the other one was called Freedmen. The Freedman group Has gone on the war-path over the nations citizenship vote. Cherokee Nation officials state: They have always held that to be a citizen of the nation, you had to have a Cherokee blood quantum linkage to a citizen on the nations roolbook.

No matter what side you're on in the Cherokee Nation's citizenship vote, one thing still remains a fact! There are people of another race with Indian blood quantum heritage that have proven their blood linkage to the Cherokee Nation's rollbook, and they will always be citizens of the Cherokee Nation! The Cherokee Nation's citizenship vote did not change that in any way.

If you acknowledge that the Cherokee Nation is a sovereign nation and all that comes under the definition of the word, you have to acknowledge the Cherokee Nation can conduct its governmental duties without interference from another government. The question should be: "What part of government sovereignty do people not fully understand?" The Cherokee Nation's citizenship vote issue should only be dealt with by the Cherokee Nation's government and it's registered citizens, not the U.S. government or any other government to include treaties forced on them.

The Cherokee Nation is not going around telling the federal government who can and cannot be a U.S. citizen. The Cherokee nation is not going around telling people what race they are and what racial group they belong to. The Cherokee Nation is saying, if you can prove your Indian heritage blood linkage to a citizen of the nation that's listed on their rollbook, you can become a citizen of the Cherokee Nation regardless what other race blood you have in you.

Have you ever "not" met an American and not heard these words: "I have Indian heritage?" The next question you ask is: "What tribe?" If the treaty of 1866 can make an African American, without Indian blood heritage, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, then today anyone proving by DNA test they have Indian blood heritage should be able to join the Indian nation of their choice. Because DNA tests do not, and cannot, tell you what Indian Nation you're part of.

Could you see the federal government enforcing DNA tribal nations citizenship? Why not? At this time you would be hearing these words from the federal government: "What in God's name have we done!" Indian Nation's citizenship would swell into the hundreds of millions. The federal government would have to allocate vast amounts of federal funds to Indian Nation governments just as they are required to for state governments and their citizens! Now the term "we're all Americans" comes into play big time, but the meaning of the words "government sovereignty" will never change.

Those crying racism, racist, and calling American Indians bigots, need to take a good look in the mirror and see themselves for what they really are. Wolves even have a social order. No wolf from another pack is allowed to join a wolf pack without their permission.

American Indians and African Americans respect and acknowledge what each group had to deal with in forming America, the country. Calling one another derogatory and hurtful names is totally out of line and needs to stop! The American Indian community has a history of thinking of themselves as a people, not a race of people. It's sad in today's times that if you do not like what someone else is saying or doing, the first words out of their mouth is: "You're a racist."

The American Indian community will not stand for or accept being branded as racist from any racial group! It's past time for all Americans to get off the "race-hate-name calling" and just agree to disagree on social and government issues. Then we can deal with each other through respect.

The American Indian community question to the Congressional Black Caucus is: "Are you ready to "demand" that the federal government "fully honor" the treaty of 1866? If so, when will all the land that constitutes the state of Oklahoma be given back to the American Indian people, plus all the tax revenue generated on that land?"

The U.S. government supports other world governments that restrict their citizenship through race and blood quantum with U.S. tax dollars. Where is the Congressional Black Caucus outrage?

The American Indian community respects all nationalities of other people. In return all they ask is that they be respected as a sovereign people of their nations

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 -
Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes -
Freedmen Conference -

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