Friday, August 24, 2007

'Congresswoman Watson' Judge, Jury & Executioner Of Cherokee Nation

Oklahoma State Government will face a human crisis over termination of Cherokee Nation. Oklahoma state government would be hit with a social economic melt down with passage of Congresswoman Watson's bill H.R. 2824, to include Freedmen that are citizens of the Cherokee Nation.

Congresswoman Watson's bill would stop two hundred and seventy million dollars of federal funding going to the Cherokee Nation each year. In no way, does that funding come close to covering the nations funded programs to its’ some three hundred thousand citizens.

Mike Graham
August 23, 2007

Watson Trip to Oklahoma

I'm not sure which paper this was in, might have been the Tulsa World:

Editor:

Diane Watson, a California congresswoman, brought her dog-and-pony show to Tulsa and Muskogee this past week to recruit supporters for her legislation to sever government-to-government relations with the Cherokee Nation. (See "Congresswoman rips citizenship revocation," Aug.21)

However, her grandstanding may have cost her more than she planned. Her credibility began to suffer when she could not answer simple questions nor discuss the details of the Treaty of 1866, the treaty on which she based HR 2824, the house bill she is trying to sell to the rest of Congress.

Watson has hung her reputation on a misinterpretation of that treaty that gave freedmen land rights, not citizenship rights. She also failed to explain how she decided which group ofAfrican-Americans to discriminate against.

Currently, there are more than 1500 Black Cherokees who are tribal citizens who will suffer, along with the rest of the tribe, the consequences of her proposed legislation to cut off funding to the Cherokee Nation. Why is she giving preferential treatment to those African-Americans who cannot show they have Indian ancestors over those who can?

Watson's credibility continued to crumble when she was questioned about a recent NPR radio interview in which she declared she was a descendent of Pocahontas. When questioned, Watson did not even know the name of her supposed tribe.

During the Oklahoma meetings, Watson declared to be Cherokee, and then later declared she was a freedman (descendant of slaves). So, Diane, which is it? And, what happened to being Powhatan?

In another recent NPR interview on Native America Calling, Watson got her facts incorrect again when she declared that the Cherokee Nation has hundreds of casinos. Wrong. The number is seven.

The good thing about the fifteen minutes of fame Watson got from the half-page spread in the Tulsa World is that the public that used to be sympathetic to her cause is now seeing the truth and turning their backs on her and her followers. Once the rest of Congress sees the videotape of these two meetings, they, too, will see the truth about her and her ridiculous legislation. By the way, wonder who paid for her and her entourage (that included three congressional police officers) to travel from Washington to Oklahoma? Do you suppose her constituents in California don't care how much tax money she throws away on frivolous trips?

There is one thing Watson should have learned when she came face-to-face with fluent Cherokee-speaking Cherokees in Muskogee. We are a proud people and we do not succumb to blackmail-type threats, i.e., make the non-Indian freedmen citizens or I will cut off your federal funding.

For the record: Indian people have persevered and survived for centuries, long before the white man brought slaves to this continent. And, we will continue to survive now.

Sara Hoklotubbe
Cherokee citizen

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Watson uses Race to Strong Arm Cherokee Nation

She still doesn't get it....purchase of land in Oklahoma doesn't make one Cherokee or give one any understanding of the Cherokee Nation...

I'm a tax payer and she sure isn't protecting my tax dollar! She can protect my tax dollar by allowing it to go to Cherokees not non Cherokees!!

Cherokees vote just like any other elections that are held in the states, what's to understand?

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OKLAHOMA CITY—A California congresswoman and a Cherokee leader held dueling news conferences at the state Capitol on Tuesday on a bill to strip the Cherokee Nation of federal funding.

Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., said Cherokees broke an 1866 treaty when they voted March 3 to deny tribal citizenship to more than 2,000 descendants of black slaves, known as Cherokee freedmen.

She has introduced a bill to cut off federal funds to the tribe unless it rescinds the vote. She said her legislation would cost the tribe about $300 million that is distributed through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"It's a bill to eradicate the legal existence of the Cherokee Nation, to terminate all assistance and funding," Cherokee Principal Chief Chad Smith said. Smith said the legislation would cost the tribe 6,500 jobs and many of its poorest citizens would lose health benefits.

The Cherokee Supreme Court has ruled freedmen can continue to receive benefits until the issue is determined in the federal court system.

Smith maintained Congress should let the court process play out.

"The Congress is not judge, jury and executioner," he said.

Watson, who said she has Indian blood in her family and is a descendant of Pocahontas, argued Cherokees forfeited their right to benefits by voting to disenfranchise the freedmen.

"You cannot break the law and then receive benefits. This bill is about the rule of law," she said. "That is taxpayer money. I don't understand how that vote was taken," she said. She said Cherokees accepted the freedmen as "a protected class" in 1866.

Mike Miller, a spokesman for the tribe, said tribal officials do not believe they have broken the law.

Miller said 1,500 descendants of black slaves who can document some degree of Indian blood on the Dawes Roll will continue to receive benefits and were not denied tribal citizenship in the March vote.

In an earlier statement, Smith said while Cherokees voted overwhelmingly to "return to being an Indian tribe composed of Indians, they also recognize that it is fair and right that the 2,867 people who made an effort to become citizens in the last year should remain citizens with full benefits during the litigation."

In a town hall meeting in Tulsa on Monday, Watson characterized the tribal status of the freedmen as the "most significant civil rights movement of this century."

The freedmen were considered tribal members from 1866 until 1975, when a vote of the tribe denied them citizenship. The Cherokee Supreme Court decided in 2006 that vote was in error and restored the freedmen's rights.

The 2007 vote was the result of a petition drive to amend the Cherokee Constitution and once more remove freedmen who could not document that they had Indian blood.

Some freedmen have said they can document their tribal ancestry, but they were not on the original Dawes rolls.

In her remarks, Watson suggested the tribe could use revenue from Cherokee casinos to pick up the cost of social services that would not be paid for by the federal government under her legislation.

Miller, however, cited a section of her bill that would prohibit the tribe from engaging in gaming.
Watson, who represents a district in Los Angeles, said her bill defends all taxpayers in the country.

She said her interest in the issue was piqued because of Indian ancestry and her ties to Oklahoma. She said her grandfather bought land in Oklahoma and her mother's siblings were born in the state. "We have roots here," she said.