Saturday, April 5, 2008

Is the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus Acting like the KKK and Custer over Indian Nation vote?

Is the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus Acting like the KKK and Custer over Indian Nation vote?

Mike Graham
March 27, 2007

Over two dozen members of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus have taken it upon themselves to fuel racial hate toward the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation over its special election vote determining their official tribal citizenship. The issue covers a group of individuals called Freedmen and Intermarried Whites who want to include their descendants as members of the Cherokee Nation. These Freedmen are not related to a Cherokee citizen by blood as listed on the nation's official rollbook.

It should be noted that the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus itself is a "Black race only" segregated caucus. They're made up of 43 federally elected representatives. Members of the caucus state that the group should remain "exclusively black." According to sources, Congressman Pete Stark, D-Calif., (who is White) tried and failed to join the caucus in 1975. He was reportedly denied membership because he is not Black. Stark still serves today in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Fast forward to 2006. Now freshman Rep. Stephen I. Cohen, D-Tn, who is White, pledged to apply to the Black caucus for membership during his election campaign to represent his constituents, who are reported to be around 60% black. It was reported that although the bylaws of the caucus do not make race a prerequisite for membership, former and current members of the Caucus agreed that the group should remain "exclusively black."

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, without consultation with Cherokee Nation elected representatives, have signed and sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Interior, demanding the department intervene over the sovereign Cherokee Nation special election citizenship vote. Without hesitation the U.S. Black Congressional Caucus called into question restrictions of federal funds and appropriations to the American Indian community to include the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation. In doing so, the U.S. Congressional Black caucus members are going straight for Indians' jugular veins, specifically targeting their economic well being as U.S. citizens and concerning their sovereign nation's voting rights.

Not only did the U.S. Congressional Black caucus fail to correspond with Cherokee Nation leaders, they did not consult on the issue with the U.S. Congressional Indian Caucus, which has over 100 racially mixed members. They also failed to request input from the National Congress of American Indians, which represent over 300 American Indian Nations, concerning their sovereignty rights.

The Congressional Black Caucus is pandering to the Freedman group concerning their rights to full citizenship within the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Nation was forced to sign onto an 1866 treaty written by and for the federal government. Part of the treaty covered runaway black slaves associated with Cherokee people. The treaty gave members of the so-called Freedman Group full citizenship within the nation whether they had Indian heritage by blood or not. This action amounted to one nation dictating to another sovereign nation. History shows that the federal government went out of its way to trash and forget the 1866 treaty.

The federal government abandoned the 1866 treaty completely when it dissolved the Cherokee Nation Government and other tribal nations. In 1906, in anticipation of Oklahoma statehood, the federal government unilaterally dissolved Indian Nations' sovereign governments. This action from the federal government brought about the U.S. takeover of Indian Territory land now called the state of Oklahoma. Later, Indian nations reestablished their sovereign government, and tribal citizenship was set up on the Dawes Rolls Act 1887. The Freedman Group and intermarried Whites were set up on a separate roll list. Indian nations maintained their own sovereign official rollbook by blood quantum.

Indian descendants today have to prove their tribal citizenship through a family member listed on the official tribal nations' rollbook by blood linkage. Anyone of another race claiming Indian heritage today has to prove their blood linkage to a family member listed on the official Indian nation rollbook.

In my opinion, the Congressional Black Caucus has chosen to revisit past U.S. Holocaust policies used against the American Indian community. The caucus members are overstepping their elected positions in threatening to cut funding of Indian health programs, housing, Indian children's educational programs and Indian elderly programs. This is a flash back to the dark days of Custer and Black Buffalo Soldiers raging across America destroying Indian men, women and children any way they could. The caucus should remember what happened to Custer!

Government bounties were offered for scalps of American Indians. A "savage" pricing scale was set up covering prices to be paid for the scalps of Indian men, women and children. It's not a stretch to say those taking part in the government's Indian scalping policy were the true founding fathers of anti-American hate groups, such as the KKK.

The Congressional Black Caucus members have disgraced themselves as elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Without regard to their American Indian constituent’s well-being as citizens of this country by federal law, they are focused on putting Indian Nation's governments back in their 1800's place. All of this is happening because American Indians are exercising their right to self-govern themselves under their Tribal Nations' sovereignty rights. Who can and cannot be a member of an Indian Nation is up to the people of that Indian Nation, not the federal or state governments. American citizens are united in telling the federal government's elected members to stop threatening to eliminate Indian Nations' sovereignty rights and social program funding! They are U.S. citizens and voting tax-payers too!

The U.S. Congressional Black Caucus is missing in action when it comes to "real" national American Indian issues. Where is their "Black caucus anger and outrage" concerning the Indian Land Trust Fund issue? Over "100 billion dollars stolen". The federal government says it's just missing and has been looking for it for over 100 years. A lawsuit case has been before a U.S. Court for over a decade. The federal government controls the Indian trust fund money. The federal government today is offering individual Indians involved in the lawsuit around 8 billion dollars and call it even. There's been no jail time or accounting over the years of where the other "92 billion dollars" went and to whom.

A resolution has been before the U.S. House of Representatives for years calling for an official apology from the federal government over its misguided policies against American Indians. The word Holocaust was not allowed on the resolution, and to date the resolution has not passed. The U.S. Congressional Black Caucus is missing in action again.

The caucus was silent in past years when the Native Hawaiian government's recognition bill failed to pass. There was no press release from the group stating their outrage. For several years a resolution has been before the U.S. Congress calling for a federal Native American Day holiday. It has been passed over each year. Health, education and poverty issues concern Native Americans. Again the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus is missing in action.

The Caucus’ knee-jerk reaction to the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation's citizenship voting issue has fueled numerous national media reports and Internet postings calling Indians "racist and bigots." Their action plays into the hands of anti-Indian groups like One Nation United, and KKK members. Their tactics are one and the same one way or another, fear mongering, and calling for an end to Indian Nations sovereignty rights. Indian children are having to deal with this racial hate being directed toward them.

Some African Americans have made it a point to frame the Cherokee Nation's citizenship issue as racist. Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith has stated his willingness to discuss the facts and merits that brought about the special election vote. The nation's citizen's vote set a start and correct equalized tribal citizenship for all that proved their Cherokee blood line to the Nation’s official rollbook. Tribal council members were available as well for information concerning the vote. Federal and state representatives and heads of organizations around the country chose not to speak to Chief Chad Smith and tribal council members, they went straight to the nation's media groups blasting Indian people over their nation's citizenship vote.

The 2008 election is on its way. Presidential candidates and their staff members better take American Indian History 101. American Indians will be at the voting booth in severe large numbers.

As a citizen of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation I have called and discussed the issue of the Cherokee Nation's citizenship vote with U.S. Congressional Black Caucus representatives' staff. I can tell you their knowledge of American Indian issues can be compared to the ABC TV show "Lost".

America! The country will not come full circle till the people elect an American Indian as president of this U.S.A. America's history began with the American Indians!

More Cherokee Nation history: Long before the treaty of 1866 there was this one.

The treaty of 1785 between the Cherokee people and the Confederation Congress of the United States in 1785: This treaty sought to end hostilities between the Cherokees and the U.S. government and establish exclusive territory on which the Cherokee people would reside.

Ely S. Parker: Seneca-Iroquois Indian, was born in 1828. The U.S. Civil War surrender documents are in his hand writing. Lieutenant Colonel Ely S. Parker was present when General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, and the surrender documents are in his handwriting. Grant was bad at spelling and penmanship. After exchanging small talk, Lee and Grant began drafting the articles of surrender for the Confederate Army. Once the generals had agreed on conditions, Parker was directed to draft two copies of the articles of surrender for signatures. Then General Lee while shaking hands with Parker said "I am glad to see one real American here." Parker accepted the proffered handshake, responding, "We are all Americans here."

Although Ely Parker is best known for his role in drafting the terms of surrender that ended the U.S. Civil War, his life's work was far greater than that single act. He attained the rank of brigadier-general and during Grant's presidency, served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo NY.

Mike Graham, Citizen Oklahoma Cherokee Nation

Founder United Native America