Saturday, February 23, 2008

Congress once again contradicts its self

The following article can be located at:

Congress May Apologize to American Indians
by Associated PressFeb 20, 2008, 11:58


A resolution that formally apologizes to American Indians for years of government mistreatment and abuse will be part of an Indian health care bill expected to pass the Senate later this month.
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, who has pushed the measure since 2004, said he hopes the measure``helps heal the wounds that have divided America for too long.''

``For too much of our history, federal-tribal relations have been marked by broken treaties, mistreatment and dishonorable dealings,'' said Brownback, a Republican. ``We can acknowledge our past failures, express sincere regrets and establish a brighterfuture for all Americans.''

(I guess as soon as they pass this, they then turn to the Watson termination bill)

Watson Bill violates Cherokee Human Rights

(my comments in green or whatever color it shows up on your monitor)

Congresswoman takes heroic freedmen stance (heroic - congress has been doing this for 200 years)
Muskogee Phoenix
Muskogee, OK

By Marilyn Vann
Guest Columnist

Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith and his supporters denounced HR 2824 by U.S. Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif. The bill is designed to strip federal funding from the tribe if it denationalizes Cherokee freedmen citizens. (for the 21st Century this is a draconian measure in order to allow the Freedmen to continue their slave status under a Civil War Treaty and to continue to enslave the Cherokee people to a Civil War Treaty; denationalize? you're already US citizens, that's your nation, why do you want to be Cherokees, something you're not?)

An ethics complaint against Watson states the bill oversteps her authority. Smith called the congresswoman an outsider who misrepresents facts, and stated that the 1866 Treaty was forced on the Cherokee Nation. Some Cherokee leaders even called HR 2824 a “termination” bill. Smith supporters stated Cherokees want only “Indians” in the tribe. Smith stated that Cherokee freedmen who received land allotments (this was by the way the purpose of the Dawes Commission to give away the Cherokee land) received “reparations.” (all true statements)

The U.S. Supreme Court upholds Congress’ right to pass laws affecting Indian tribes, including federal funding. Cherokee leaders never classed congressional members as “outsiders” who supported bills they requested — including an act which removed United Keetoowah Band’s federal funding. (so the Freedmen against slavery support slavery of the Cherokee People to Congress?) ( I think the biggest question of all here is *Why do you want to be Cherokee when you clearly are not??)

In 1866, to re-establish relations with the United States, the Cherokee Nation signed a reconstruction treaty granting “the rights of Native Cherokees” to slaves and free blacks living within the tribe in 1861 and their descendants. Federal cases (Redbird, Whitmire) have held that Cherokee freed-men were granted citizenship by treaty and that freedmen citizenship was not forced on the tribe. (whoa, which treaty is this: treaty granting "the rights of Native Cherokees" to slaves and free blacks? were not the slaves freed by the Civil War or are they rewriting history here? Ms Vann, you are now free, you need to assimilate into the rest of main stream America - Congress has already taken our land and now you want them to take away our resources, which would include health care - so you figure this isn't termination? I guess you can spin anything to justify your conduct)

Chief Smith states the treaty agreement was forced. Does he believe in the Confederate’s policy of slavery and that the tribe should still have that right? (sounds more like this is what you believe?)

Smith falsely states that Cherokee freedmen received tribal allotments as reparations. Historically Cherokee citizens owned land in common. Cherokee freedmen received shares of common lands just as other Cherokee citizens — which is no different than that of freed slaves of Confederates who received U.S. citizenship and could receive federal land under the Homestead Act. (no quite a bit different - this merely shows your lack of understanding of what actually happened to the Cherokee Lands - I don't think the Homestead Act (which I understand has now expired) quite *gave* you land like the Dawes did - so you think Cherokee Land was really Federal Land? another good spin)

Clearly, Cherokee freedmen, whose ancestors came across the Trail of Tears on foot, carrying baggage, shackled and who toiled unpaid for generations, receiving the same equal rights as native Cherokee was reasonable by both the Cherokee Nation and the United States. Both Cherokee Indians and freedmen received U.S. citizenship in 1901. (so walking the Trail of Tears makes you Indian? Hmmm, that's an interesting spin. I suppose living in Ireland makes you Irish?)

Smith’s references to Cherokee freedmen as “non-Indians” are misleading. Cherokee freedmen, regardless of “Indian ancestry” or lack of, have legal citizenship guaranteed by the tribe and America. The Dawes rolls listed Cherokee tribal members living between 1902 and 1906 for land allotment purposes and were not simply lists of Indians and non-Indians. (the good old Dawes folks listed Cherokees with a Blood Quantum but the Freedmen had no Blood Quantum to list and are listed as Freedmen - so now being listed on the Dawes makes you Indian, hmmm, another interesting spin)

HR2824 is not a termination bill. If passed it will not shut down the tribal council or courts, or remove the chief. The tribe is not forced to continue freedmen citizenship. But if passed the tribe loses federal funding and casino operation rights if not in compliance with the 1866 Treaty. Funding and casino rights will continue after legal compliance. (oh, this is the best spin of all - so just exactly how do you suppose the tribe provides services to our people - on eloquent but empty speeches? You can not possibly be this naive or else you clearly do not understand how the Cherokee Nation functions?? So how long do you figure Congress would last if they had no money? - you have got to be kidding! and you didn't even mention this isn't the first time or the first Tribe this type of action has been taken against for the sake of the Freedmen! again you need to assimilate into main stream America where the rest of the slave descendants have gone - why do you wish to force yourselves on us - I'm a bit puzzled by this - perhaps the Cherokee Nation provides better services than the state of Oklahoma?)

Cherokee freedmen have treaty rights of federal intervention to protect our tribal citizenship. The Cherokee Nation, which annual receives $300 million in federal funding, has spent millions lobbying Congress under Smith’s leadership to denationalize its slave descendants. (you're not denationalized - you're just trying to force yourself on the wrong nation, you are indeed free and it is time you look for you place within the United States not the Cherokee Nation....)

Congresswoman Watson’s brave decision to help the freedmen is like members of Congress who helped black citizens of Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. She is a heroine for justice of people who have been overlooked and discarded. (yep, nothing short of that *old thumb screw* for the Cherokee - not even the descendants of former slaves are subject to this type of treatment)

If Smith succeeds in breaking the treaty agreement for freedmen citizenship, he will send a termination message to those who desire to have the United States end tribal governments by declaring all Indian treaties void. (I seriously doubt it - more scare tactics here?)

No tribe will be safe. (no tribe is safe from this now or ever has been - so what's new?)

Marilyn Vann is president of the Descendants of Freedmen Association

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Not a Termination Bill? hmmmmm

Watson has introduced legislation that would strip the Cherokee of $300 million in federal funds and suspend the tribe's authority to operate a casino until the status of the Cherokee freedmen is settled to the satisfaction of Congress. Penal amendments have been prepared for other funding bills, again pending court decisions. Watson criticized the nation sharply for characterizing her bill as a ''termination'' bill (a reference to the mid-20th century ''termination era'' of congressional policy toward tribes). The word does not appear anywhere in the bill, she said, repeating several times that it is nothing of the sort.

(when you cut off the revenue sources, you have terminated us!!)