Opinion: Cowards and the Cherokee Freedmen
"With his reaction to the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, President Obama diverted attention from his ill-formed healthcare agenda by throwing racism into the mix. We all know how that turned out and since the American people were not silenced, Obama’s fans in Congress and media are trying to brand us as bigots. But when will pundits at the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and MSNBC question Obama’s part in a real federal case of racism? p>

Lest we forget, Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, condemned the United States as “a nation of cowards” who discriminates against its black citizens. In that Black History Month speech, Holder also promised, “[T]his Department of Justice, so long as I am here, must and will lead the nation to the new birth of freedom so long ago promised by our greatest president.” However, under Holder the Justice Department is helping the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) to expel its own black citizens, the descendents of Cherokee slaves known as “Freedmen.” p>

According to our 1866 Treaty with the Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Freedmen and their descendants “shall have all the rights of native Cherokees.” These rights include voting in tribal elections, per capita representation in Cherokee government, as well as assets and benefits bestowed by the U.S. Department of the Interior through its Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). p>

Since the treaty can be abrogated only by an act of Congress, in 2007 Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA) introduced a bill to cease federal funding of the Cherokee Nation until the Freedmen’s rights would be restored. She also requested support from presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL.). As reported in The Hill, Obama refused in 2008. In part, he replied, “Discrimination anywhere is intolerable, but the Cherokee are dealing with this issue in both tribal and federal courts.” Watson’s bill died with the 110th Congress. Nevertheless, Obama’s golden opportunity has arrived. The 1866 Treaty, a supreme federal law, says the president of the United States “is hereby authorized and empowered to correct such evil.”"

Get the Story:
Anita Crane: Who's the Racist Now? (Spero News 8/21)

Related Stories:
Cherokee Nation court hears Freedmen dispute (7/27)
Cole opposes latest Cherokee Freedmen bill (6/16)
Cherokee Freedmen bill introduced in House (6/15)
Opinion: Treaties and the Five Civilized Tribes
Freedmen protest honoring of Cherokee Nation chief (6/5)
Editorial: 'Shameful' posturing on Freedmen issue (5/7)
Boren and Cole oppose Freedmen investigation (5/6)
African-American lawmakers seek Freedmen probe (5/5)
Cherokee Nation seeks to end Freedmen dispute (2/4)