Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In All Fairness

The Cherokee Nations should be protecting the rights of its citizens, not racially discriminating against them. And, in all fairness, the Freedmen deserved citizenship and rights, in their respective tribes, as much as, their descendants deserve to know their true past; thus, helping them build and future connected to a unique African American and Indian culture. However, the Cherokee Nation is rooted in racial hatred and controlled by morally weak and greedy people who seek to destroy the rights of a segment of their own society. It is apparent that a great deal of work is needed to create a healthy democracy in the Cherokee Nation.

Freedmen are not just Non-Indian people

Source: Birchfield, D.L. Encyclopedia of the North American Indians Volume IX

Freedmen are not just non-Indian people living in a tribe. They are the former slaves of the Cherokee people, some with no Cherokee blood and others with large percentages of Cherokee blood. These particular Freedmen and their descendants were adopted by the Cherokee Nation; therefore becoming citizens of that nation. For more than a century, Freedmen were Cherokee Citizen, and it is morally wrong for the Cherokee Nation to strip away their tribal identities. There were many Freedmen who made contribution to their tribes despite the disagreements concerning citizenships and rights.

Amended Accordingly

Go to Links: Citizenship Status/Judge Rules

The Cherokee Nation declares that its Constitution was amended accordingly (Citizenship Status)

However, Judge Henry H. Kennedy, a Clinton appointee, in Washington D.C., said “the descendants of former slaves can sue the tribe and its leaders, including Principal Chief Chad Smith. He said the tribe’s sovereign immunity was abrogated by Congress, by treaty, and by the Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery.” Also, noting that “the prohibition of slavery covers private parties such as the Cherokee Nation” and “[T]here is no dispute that the broad sweep of the Thirteenth Amendment doesn’t apply to Indian tribes as well.”

Kennedy states that “a post-Civil War treaty signed in 1866 requires the tribe to treat the Freedmen fairly,” and “despite the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment and Congressional ratification of the 1866 treaty, the tribe has not lived up to its word.” Thus, “almost immediately after the emancipation of the Freedmen, the Cherokee Nation began marginalizing them.”

Kennedy then reveals that “Congress subsequently passed two laws to ensure the Cherokee Freedmen were protected” and that “the U.S. Supreme Court also confirmed the citizenship and property rights of the former slaves.” Therefore, “by repeatedly imposing such limitations on the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation in order to protect the Freedmen, Congress has unequivocally indicated its intent to abrogate the tribe’s immunity with regard to racial oppression prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment.” (Judge rules)

The Cherokee Nation Fails to Acknowledge their own offenses

Go to Link: History of Freedmen/Briefing:Why........Not Eligible for Citizenship/Cherokee By Blood

The Cherokee Nation feels the need to point out " decades of U.S. policy that tried to terminate Indian Nations" (History) and strip "the identity of their tribes." (Briefing) However, the Cherokee Nation fails to acknowledge their own offenses against their own citizens, in which, they wrongfully try to strip away the tribal identities of their Cherokee Freedmen and their descendants.

Black Indians and Freedmen left a legacy of records after the signing of the Treaty of 1866. Black Indians and Freedmen still practice their customs of their Indian nations and many contribute to their nations as Interpreters, Politicians, and more. (Cherokee by blood)

Freedmen Rely on the 1866 Treaties

Go to Link: Cherokee By Blood

Even if the Cherokee people were forced to give Citizenship and rights to their Freedmen, the Cherokee Nation should continue providing the descendants of the Freedmen citizenship's and rights in the Cherokee Nation; yes, based on the 1866 treaties that all the Five Civilized Tribes signed, which provided tribal citizenship to all persons of African descent who were formerly associated with those tribes.

The Freedmen and their descendants, rightfully rely on the 1866 Treaties, which did entitle them to Cherokee citizenship and all its benefits. However, the treaties are being disregarded, by the Cherokee Nation;even though, the Judicial Appeals Tribunal (JAT), the Cherokee Nations highest court, in March of 2006, ruled that their new law was unconstitutional. And still, the Cherokee Nation tries to further disenfranchise the descendants of Freedmen, by trying to pass an amendment to change the non-requirement for certified degree of blood to a requirement needed to become a citizen.

Five Civilized Tribes Act Superseds the 1866 Treaties

Go to Links: History of Freedmen/Briefing:Why......Not Eligible For Citizenship

Determined to restore cultural identity and heritage, the Cherokee Nation seeks healing for damage don by federal policy designed to destroy Native Americans, terminate tribal governments, and strip tribal identity (Briefing). Therefore, to rejuvenate the nation, in 1975, the Cherokee Nation approved a new Constitution, granting citizenship to only descendants with an Indian ancestor listed on the original Dawes Roll, excluding descendants of Freedmen and Intermarried Whites (History). The Cherokee argues that they exercised their rights of determining it citizenship. These requirements fully complied with the 1866 Treaty and the Five Tribes Act of 1906 that superseded the Article IX of the 1866 Treaty, which is exercised by Indian Tribes Throughout the United States (Briefing).

After reading the Briefing on Freedmen ineligibility by the Cherokee Nation, it was clearly obvious that the information was put together in a way to benefit their arguement against the Freedmen. I believe that for the Five Tribes Act to supersed the 1866 Treaties ,which demanded the Cherokee Nation to treat their Freedmen fairly, it would have to specificly state that the Cherokee Nation was able to disenfranchise their non-Indian citizens or any of their citizens, for that matter.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Citizenship Status of Non-Indians

Go to Link: Citizenship Status of Non-Indians

The Cherokee Nation affirms that they "embrace their mixed-raced heritage." However, even when they signed the new treaty of 1866, they never really wanted to embrace the Freedman's into their tribe. Why sign the treaty if you wanted to keep your nation made up of only Indians? From the very beginning, the Indian Nations agreed to give citizenship to Freedman's and their descendants, and now, because the Cherokee Nation feels they have the right, they feel the need to shut out the descendants of Freedman's. Why? Its not going to change the historical past that bonds the Freedman's to the Cherokee people. These Freedmen are apart of the Cherokee Nation, whether they like it or not. Freedman's should be acknowledged, not cast out.

We all know that Freedman's are African-American slaves, and in the Cherokee Nation there are Freedmen citizens. Not giving citizenship to the descendants of Freedman's is not going to take away from the tribes roots, as a Indian Tribe, made up of Indians. But, the Cherokee Nation is also made up of Freedman's(African-American slave of Cherokee Indians) and all the other "citizens who share African-American, Latino, Asian, Caucasian and other ancestry."

"This Constitutional vote of the Cherokee people now faces scrutiny from non-Indians who may disagree with the way the Cherokee people decide the citizenship of their Nation." Of course, the Cherokee Nation is going to face scrutiny, and yes, we know they might be "non-Indian," but they(Freedmen desendants) still have the right to become citizens. The Cherokee Nation should not be allowed to take their rights away, all of a sudden, because they feel like it. Cherokee Nation: "Oh, we just want to return to a Indian tribe made up of only Indians; lets not let any more descendant of Freedman's become a citizen of our Nation." You can not do that, its just not right!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Birchfield, D.L. "Freedmen".Encyclopedia of North American Indians. Volume IV.

Europeans were not the only people who owned slaves. Indian tribes such as Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole were also partakers of slave holding. While some tribe members owned fewer slaves other owned a large amount of slaves. Robert Jones, a mixed-blood Choctaw, owned a plantation with over five hundred African American slaves.

Call me senseless, but I never knew that Indians had slaves or maybe I was just not fully aware of it. Coming from a known blood line of Cherokee ancestry, on both my grandfather and grandmothers side, I am somewhat disappointed and I am starting to see the prejudice views that Cherokee people can have against African Americans, through my own families negative personal encounters with Cherokee Indians, regarding our own citizenship's.

History of Freedmen Descendants

Go to Link: History of Freedmen Descendants

The link above offers a timeline of court rulings pertaining to ("descendants of original enrollees under the Freedmen and Intermarried White categories of the Dawes Rolls"). In 1975, Cherokee Nations also expressed the need ("to return to its roots as an Indian tribe made up of Indians") and approval of a New Constitution that redefines its requirements for Cherokee Citizenship. Declaring, ("To become a citizen the Cherokee people decided that one must trace one lineal ancestor (specifically Cherokee, Shawnee or Delaware) listed on the Dawes Rolls. Descendants of original enrollees in Non-Indian categories on the Dawes Rolls (the Freedmen and Intermarried Whites categories) would not be eligible for citizenship.") (1975)

This timeline is a very valuable piece of information for those who may not know the background of the court rulings pertaining to the Freedmen descendants. However, until you become familiar with the history of Freedmen's you can't really understand or take sides. I started this research with a somewhat made up mind about who's side I would take, siding with the Cherokee Nation. The information they presented seemed reasonable and why should a person without a Cherokee ancestor be allowed to become a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. I made a mistake of not researching both sides before choosing. Through research and gaining a clearer understanding about the Freedmen, I have decided to argue against the Cherokee Nations New Constitution that excludes ("descendants of original enrollees in Non-Indian categories on the Dawes Rolls"). (2006, March)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You might be wondering why I chose this topic.

Briefing: Why Freedmen Descendants without an Indian Ancestor Listed on the Base Rolls Are Not Eligible for Citizenship in the Cherokee Nation.

First, I would like to tell you a little about myself, I'm a African-American/Cherokee Indian. If you still haven't figured out why I have chosen this topic, then maybe saying that I have Cherokee and Freedmen(African-American Salve) ancestry will help you see it more clearly. Who's side do I take in this situation?