Dynamic Homes
ads@blueearthmarketing.com   712.224.5420

Opinion
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 - http://www.cherokee.org
Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes - http://www.freedmen5tribes.com
Freedmen Conference - http://www.freedmenconference.com

Related Stories:
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)
aTim Giago: Cherokee Nation votes out Freedmen (3/12)
Opinion: Cherokee Nation ignores own treaty (3/12)
Opinion: Cherokee Nation takes the lower road (3/12)
Chad Smith: Cherokee Nation tolerant of many (3/9)
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)
Cherokee Nation kicks out Freedmen descendants (3/5)
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)
Judge won't halt Cherokee Freedmen vote (2/22)
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)
Cherokee Freedmen win ruling against tribe (12/20)
Cherokee Chief: Tribe to vote on Indian blood (12/06)
USA Today: Tribes remove thousands from rolls (11/29)
Cherokee court hears dispute over Freedmen vote (11/27)
Cherokee court to consider Freedmen referendum (11/20)
Freedmen descendant sues over citizenship change (11/03)
Cherokee Freedmen to challenge removal (10/10)
Cherokee chief calls vote on removing Freedmen (10/9)
Cherokees defend right to kick Freedmen out of tribe (09/21)
Cherokee chief rejects need to approve constitution (09/11)
Cherokee Nation questioned on Freedmen vote (9/7)
Petition to oust Cherokee Freedmen submitted (08/15)
Petition seeks vote on ousting Cherokee Freedmen (07/31)
Cherokee Nation to vote on blood quantum change (6/13)
Cherokee Nation council debates blood quantum (6/12)
Cherokee Nation's top court approves constitution (6/9)
Cherokee committee approves membership proposal (05/16)
About 800 Cherokee Freedmen enrolled since decision (05/01)
Cherokee chief sued over vacant legal position (04/13)
Cherokee chief criticized for stance on Freedmen (4/6)
Two Creek Freedmen apply for citizenship after ruling (03/22)
Creek Freedmen see opening in citizenship dispute (3/21)
Cherokee chief calls for an 'Indian' Nation by blood (3/20)
Cherokee chief criticized for stance on Freedmen (3/17)
Cherokee chief wants Freedmen out of tribe (3/15)
Editorial: Victory long overdue for Cherokee Freedmen (3/10)
Cherokee Nation to enroll Freedmen descendants (3/9)
Cherokee Freedmen win tribal citizenship lawsuit (3/8)
Cherokee chief wants to sue BIA over constitution (02/15)
Freedmen descendants shut out of Cherokee Nation (11/22)
Trial concludes in Freedmen membership case (09/15)
DNA tests being used to bolster Indian heritage claims (08/30)
Ex-Cherokee councilors fined for Freedmen support (08/23)
Freedmen descendants use DNA to show Indian blood (06/03)
Column: Civilized Tribes owe reparations to slaves (03/11)
Cherokee Nation seeks role in Freedmen lawsuit (02/21)
Cherokee leaders blast Coburn for 'divisive' remarks (9/17)
Cherokee Freedmen caught in high-level dispute (8/20)
Cherokee Nation chief sworn in for another term (8/15)
Seminole Freedmen rebuffed by Supreme Court (06/29)
Cherokee Freedmen sue BIA for disenfranchisement (8/12)
Court tackles Seminole dispute (9/24)
The Seminole Nation's hanging chad (8/8)
Resolution of Seminole dispute sought in court (5/28)
Court decision rocks Seminole Nation (5/8)
Seminole's Chief Haney restored to power (5/7)
Black Seminole appeal planned (5/1)
Black Seminoles dealt setback (4/30)
Opinion: Seminole Nation always black (4/22)
A fight over funds, race (4/4)
Seminole Head Start funds OKed (2/6)
Seminole changes sought again (1/16)
Ousted Seminole leader sues tribe, BIA (12/14)
Black Seminole issue still divisive (10/29)
Suspended Seminole Chief to sue (6/27)
Seminole Chief Haney suspended (6/26)
Race part of Seminole dispute (1/29)
Seminole voters approve changes (7/7)
Seminole vote may affect Freedmen (7/7)