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Opinion
Letter: Cherokee Nation and treaty negotiations


"The Dawes Commission did a lousy job. One cannot put the blame on the Indians. Having “And Still the Waters Run” on staffers’ desks may be of some help. They then may join Dennis N. Cooley, commissioner of Indian Affairs, and play God with the swipe of a pen and declare, “Freedmen, you are now Indians.”

Cooley was the treaty (1866) chairman. He should have been defending the rights of his Indian charges for which he was being paid. Instead, Cooley engineered the biggest coop of his career while those negotiating state slaveholders got nothing for the freed slaves.

Even though Chief John Ross is listed as a delegate to the Washington, D.C., negotiating meetings, he was not able to participate because of illness. Cooley had a field day with six Cherokees and seven Delaware delegates with little or no experience in treaty matters.

In fact, five members of one group could not even sign their names. What kind of a match was this? The most capable leader, Ross, was not present to lead his people for the last time.

With their chief dying, negotiations dragged on for weeks in a hostile environment thousands of miles from home with devastated homes and farms with stock either killed or stolen. I am certain it was easy to convince them to sign the treaty, even if they understood the terms."

Get the Story:
John Ketcher: What is it with the Muskogee Phoenix? (The Muskogee Phoenix 6/21)

BIA Letters:
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)

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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