Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When people speak of things they know nothing about

Native Truth

By Sara Hoklotubbe, 5/20/2008 10:11:37 AM

James Dellinger and Phil Brand must believe if they tell a lie long enough, people will believe them. In their article, "Don’t Free Hawaii!" they have used erroneous information to bolster their argument against not only the Native people of Hawaii, but Native people everywhere.

It may come as a shock to these two writers, but not everyone in the world wants to be a white American. The American Indians led the fight against terrorism in 1492. They were driven by force to give up their homelands to satisfy the greed of the encroaching white settlers. The tribal governments eventually had to enter into treaties with the United States, but their tribal sovereignty remained intact. That government-to-government relationship still endures today.

The Hawaiians weren’t so lucky. If Dellinger and Brand really believe that the Hawaiians welcomed the overthrow of their government by the United States with open arms, they are sadly mistaken. The Akaka bill would restore Native Hawaiians only part of their sovereignty. It is long overdue and needs to be passed.

However, in their argument against Hawaiian sovereignty, Dellinger and Brand introduced inaccurate information, specifically about the Cherokee Nation and their relationship with the Freedmen. Freedmen are black descendants of former slaves. The Freedmen were never “registered as tribal members during the early 20th century...” They were given land rights in Indian Territory after the civil war by the Treaty of 1866, not tribal citizenship rights. They were free and immediately became U.S. citizens. ...

Dellinger and Brand stated that the Freedmen have been left living as “second class citizens” on their own land. I guess these writers do not know that the Cherokees do not have a reservation. If the Freedmen owned property within the boundaries of the current day Cherokee Nation, then they still have it, and they still live there the same as before.

Native Americans, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians have one thing in common. We are indigenous peoples, with cultures that reach back thousands of years. We have ceremonies that non-Native people wish they had so bad they will do anything to try to become part of a tribe. As Native people, we have survived attempted genocide of unparalleled proportions for centuries. We know who we are and no one can take that truth from us.

Sara Hoklotubbe is a Cherokee citizen and former Hawaii resident. Reach her at

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