Monday, June 25, 2007

More on the Watson bill

She also cites a Court of Claims case dated 1895, Whitmire, Trustee for the Cherokee Freedmen vs Cherokee Nation, 30 CT CL. 138, 180 (CT Cl. 1895) which again is an old case that stated the Freedmen were entitled to share the tribe's land sale proceeds and the Cherokee Nation sovereignty could not be exercised in a manner that breached this treaty obligation. However, this Whitmire case which is a court of claims case, did in fact limit Freedmen rights under the 1866 Treaty.

Again she cites a 1906 Supreme Court cases noting the Freedmen were citizens of the Cherokee Nation and entitled to the same property rights as other Cherokee Nation members under the 1866 Treaty (Red Bird vs United States, 203 U.S. 76, 84)

And finally the December 19, 2006 ruling in Vann v Kempthorne which found there was a Cherokee by Blood Dawes Roll and a Freedmen Dawes Roll.

She then goes into how the Cherokee Nation voted on and passed a constitutional amendment removing federal approval of it's Constitution in May of 2003. (and now in June of 2007, in which the Freedmen did vote) Although she refers to this *unapproved Constitutional Amendment*, she does not mention that the BIA literally sat in this amendment for over 3 years and not until the current Federal Case, in which the judge ruled that the amendment not acted on by the BIA did not mean they had approved the amendment, at which point the BIA informed the Cherokee Nation that the amendment was not approved.

The Cherokee Nation labors under a failed BIA which has inadequately and incompetently exercised its authority to the detriment of the Cherokee Nation.

All this she claims is to the detriment of the U.S. and the Cherokee Nation relationship and calls for termination of U.S. relations with the Cherokee Nation.

The June 23 vote was held according to the rules of the Cherokee Nation without consideration of the May 2003 Amendment.

She also cites a Principal Chief's Act - which I'm not familiar with so will have to check on that.

She also calls for *reports from various agencies on all Federal programs that provide financial assistance and other services to the Cherokee Nation* and the *Status Reports* by apparently the Secretary of Interior.

The Cobell, Individual Indian Trust account case has been going on for well over 10 years with the Interior Department, it still isn't settled and the Interior Department has yet to make a full accounting of those trust accounts.

The Watson bill goes on to request public reports from all the tribes with Freedmen, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muskogee (Creek) and Seminole Nations of Oklahoma. No evidence the other tribes are not in compliance but this appears to be more of a blanket retaliatory knee jerk reaction to force the Cherokee Nation to comply.

And then the bill states that both houses of congress must approve by vote the Secretaries certification that the Cherokee Nation is in full compliance. So where was she when the plaintiff's in Cobell needed this kind of help?

Then on page 12 of her bill she requests suspension of the right to conduct gaming operations. The growing source of revenue among all Indian Tribes.

Then in her definitions she states: Cherokee Freedmen, Freedmen and Black Cherokees refer to individuals who can trace their ancestry to individuals listed on the 1906 Dawes Commission Roles for the Cherokee Freedmen but Other Freeman Indians refers to those who can trace their ancestry to the 1906 Dawes Commission Rolls who are members of the other tribes.

I suspect the term Cherokee Freedmen, the Cherokee in that phrase was merely to indicate which Tribe they were to be associated with, not that they had a Cherokee Ancestor; this is indicated by the term Cherokee Delaware, since we all know the Delaware are a separate tribe of Indians, which the BIA has refused to recognize since the 1830s as well. Where has she been when they were looking for separate recognition?

There is no mention of recent court cases, where Indian Tribes membership rights have been considered the sovereign right of the Nation to determine. In fact there are several Tribes within Congresswoman Watson's own state that have indeed exercised this right. Some disenrolled members have pursued litigation in the courts and in each case the court has granted dismissal as against a sovereign nation. If Congresswoman Watson were indeed concerned about the Indian Nations, why have these concerns been left undressed.

However, she prefers to pursue a blatant civil war relic steeped in the tinge of slavery, the Treaty of 1866. With this treaty in hand, she seeks to punish not only all Citizens of the Cherokee Nation but also those Freedmen that currently receive benefits from the Cherokee Nation, with a bill filed the 21st of June, on the eve of the 23 of June Cherokee Election to scare the Cherokee people and influence their votes.

She also seems to forget that each of those Cherokee Citizens are also Citizens of the United States.

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