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Politics
NCAI opposes bill to cut Cherokee funding


The National Congress of American Indians opposes legislation to cut federal funds to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, President Joe Garcia said on Tuesday.

Garcia said the bill, H.R.2824, would "terminate" the second-largest tribe in the U.S. "Not since the Termination Era of the 1950's, when the official policy of the federal government was complete destruction of indigenous peoples, have we seen such a piece of legislation," he said.

Garcia said Congress should wait until the tribal and federal courts have resolved the issue of Cherokee citizenship for the Freedmen, the descendants of African slaves. "A decision by the courts will shed a lot of light on the legal and historical questions," he said. "We urge Congress to allow the parties their opportunity to have the issues considered in an orderly fashion."

The bill was introduced by Rep. Diane Watson (D-California) last week. It requires the Interior Department to ensure the tribe does not receive any funds from any federal agency until the Freedmen are restored to citizenship in compliance with an 1866 treaty.

The bill also revokes federal approval for the tribe's gaming operations. It does not remove the Cherokee Nation from the list of federally recognized entities nor does it end federal supervision of the tribe.

NCAI typically stays out of intra-tribal disputes. However, the organization did not take a stand on the Cherokee Nation's litigation to remove the Delaware Tribe from the list of federally recognized entities, the Cherokee Nation's attempts to deny the United Keetoowah Band a share of the Arkansas Riverbed settlement or the Cherokee Nation's opposition to the UKB's land-into-trust applications.

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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