Opinion: Unethical removal of Cherokee Freedmen
"Many intelligent American Indian thinkers have al-ready pointed out why the freedmen have a legal right to remain in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

While these scholars have brilliantly argued that the removal of the freedmen from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is illegal by the nation's own laws, I argue that beyond being illegal, the removal of the freedmen is also unethical. Those who support freedmen removal are irresponsible heirs of Cherokee history and have internalized colonial expressions of sovereignty.

Cherokee people have historically been both oppressed and oppressors; but so often, that history of oppressing others is ignored or equivocated. It astounds me, as a Cherokee, that our people continued to own slaves after the Trail of Tears. After the Trail of Tears, after suffering and crying under horrendous brutality, the Cherokee knew exactly what dehumanization was: yet we continued to dehumanize others. We didn't have a problem with the unjust hierarchal system that gave some peoples rights at the expense of others; we only had a problem when it was used against us. While we cried on the Trail of Tears, we ignored the cries of blacks and, as a nation, were fine benefiting from the racial hierarchy when it allowed us to enslave others.

In 1831's Cherokee Nation v. State of Georgia, the Cherokee fought not to be under the jurisdiction of Georgia's laws which would have disenfranchised them. Yet in 1839, the Cherokee passed a law forbidding black and Cherokee marriages. The Cherokee also had violently enforced slave codes that further brutalized black people. We simultaneously fought the ways whites abused us as Native Americans while duplicating the abuses whites used against non-whites to subjugate black people."

Get the Story:
Shannon Prince: We're imitating the enemy (Indian Country Today 5/16)

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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