Opinion: Being Cherokee more than the blood

"Being an Indian is certainly about blood ties, but it is more than that. It is culture, it is tradition, it is language. To me the Freedmen suffered alongside the Cherokees and even under the Cherokees. To kick them out now is the ultimate insult.

The Cherokee were sent on a genocidal death march by the US Army. That flag was carried by the troops who took the Cherokee to Oklahoma, and that flag flew over the White House where racist President Andrew Jackson defied the Supreme Court and ordered the Indian removals to continue.

But now, the great Cherokee Nation is willing to sell itself out and have their children be used as a propaganda tool in favor of disenfranchising the Freedmen, by playing to the presumed "common values, common ground" between racist pro-exclusion Cherokees and the dominant white culture.

I am proud to be Cherokee (I'm not a citizen though because my Cherokee ancestor wasn't allowed to sign it by her white husband, but that doesn't change my heritage), but I'm not proud of what the Cherokee nation is doing.

I stand with the Freedmen and will continue to stand with them. There is a move by members of the Congressional Black caucus to take away federal funding for the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. I hope it doesn't come to this, but if the Cherokee nation will not back down then I think the funding should be yanked. I don't think it is right for the Federal government to aid and abet racism, and if the Cherokee nation will not live up to its treaty obligations to the Freedmen then I don't see what the alternative is."

Get the Story:
J. M. Branum : Cherokee Nation Sells Out (OpEd News 3/26)

Cherokee-Related Legislation:
H.R.2786 | H.R.2895 | H.R.2824 | H.R.3002

BIA Letters:
August 9, 2007 | July 11, 2007 | June 22, 2007 | 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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