Opinion: Cherokee Nation's boat of federal funds

The following is the opinion of Steve Osburn, a Cherokee/Delaware from Oklahoma.

When it comes to the Freedmen, Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith keeps saying "Let the courts decide this case," when they already have. The Cherokee Supreme Court ruled that the Freedmen are Cherokee citizens. But he ignored that decision because it didn't go the way he thought it would.

Smith strips other tribes of their federal funding and recognition, like he did to the Delaware Tribe. So what's the big deal -- are Indian leaders only outraged when it happens to the Cherokee Nation? They never stood up and scolded Smith for doing for doing this to the Delawares.

Smith doesn't care if another tribe's federal funds or recognition are taken away but he expects everyone to jump up and down and throw a fit when it's happening to his tribe because he doesn't want the federal government to cut off his flow of money.

He's already ruined the Shawnee Tribe when they separated from the Cherokee Nation, and he's attempting to do even more damage to the Delawares with promises of regaining our federal recognition if he can control all of our federal funding. We said "NO!" to that idea.

Other tribal leaders are jumping on Smith's bandwagon because he's using scare tactics and telling them similar legislation will be attached to everything Congress does in the future for all Indian tribes. The bill sponsored by Rep. Diane Watson (D-California) does not even mention terminating the Cherokee Nation -- it only threatens to cut federal funding to the Cherokee Nation. Smith is afraid of being in the very same boat he put the Delawares in. A boat with no federal funds!

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)

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