Saturday, June 21, 2008

Not a Risk - the Right Way to Resolve the Issue

Published June 20, 2008 09:44 am

Tribe's actions risky

Editor, Daily Press:

The Cherokee people in Oklahoma know that Chief Smith and his administration called for and pushed the Freedmen legislation through our tribe. (it was put to a vote, for heavens sakes, we didn't *have to vote* one way or the other - but the vote was democratic - so again he's blaming the Chief - this is just so ridicules) Smith, along with his paid “Team Cherokee” slate, carried petitions and organized rallies against the Freedmen, throughout the 14 counties. What did not happen was an informed presentation of both sides of the issues and any discussion of consequences was ignored. (Say, what? - What part of *they are not Cherokee* doesn't Sean understand?)

Sovereignty is based on retained rights. By signing the Treaty of 1866, we treated away the right to exclude the Freedmen. (What is it that folks can't get about *Congress with subsequent acts, modified that Treaty, which they could do and which they did!) The consequences of such an action has already been litigated twice in the Seminole I and II cases. The Seminole went unrecognized for three years and they are still hurting from the federal cost. (I agree this is outrageous, but it was Congress that did this not the Seminole - this is not necessary or right or *God's white path* to treat people like this...and don't' forget, these are all US Citizens as well - of course we don't treat our US Vets much better - not to mention when ever congress does this type of thing, they themselves violate treaties as well - you see, the Tribes were promised to be *taken care of* by the US when they lost all their land and were moved onto reservations, except the Five Tribes whose land was parcelled out among the individual Indians, who were later swindled out of it) (we are not the Seminole's by the way)

The people’s voice is of the utmost importance in any democracy, but what leadership ignores standing law and puts their people’s jobs and livelihoods at risk? (so what part of the people's voice did the Chief ignore - there was a democratic vote on the issue - the Chief followed that vote) There are legal ways to accomplish the same goals: passing a bill through Congress first, like the Osage, or passing a blanket blood quantum similar to the Eastern Band of Cherokees, at 1/16th by blood. (so is Mr. Nordwall saying what we've done is not legal? This is just shear nonsense - and yes, another good way to terminate the tribe is with this blood quantum nonsense - Mr. Nordwall supports total control by Congress into the internal affairs of the Cherokee Nation - this is contrary to court opinions and current congressional acts - Congress has spoken on the Freedmen issue, they just don't like the result.)

Cherokee cultural preservation is no answer to exclude the Freedmen and only raises more questions. Why would Smith’s administration allow adopted whites for eight years? (*adopted* is only used on the Dawes Roll and it used in reference to those that had intermarried - so there was a Cherokee married to a white and they were considered Cherokee by Intermarriage, that is the way they are referred to on the Dawes cards) Why terminate the Delaware and make them Cherokee? (Congress did this by lumping the Delaware with the Cherokee, they are however, still a separate Tribe even today - Congress may not recognize that, but the Indians do) We have culturally accepted many people into our tribe, based on the tenets of God’s law, which is inclusive of all his creation. We must stay on God’s white path. (God's white path doesn't include cutting off funds to thousands of Cherokee's to force them to include non Cherokee onto their rolls. Congress is not God, by the way)

Smith’s administration and slate members are quick to blame others for issues they can resolve today, if they wished. Instead, they showboat and put Cherokee jobs, health care, social services, housing and education programs at risk by pursuing their legislation, right to the end. They are gambling with your jobs, against 100 years of precedent. (Earth to Sean! Where is the risk of waiting for the outcome of a court decision? This isn't anymore riskier than going to the market - then we all know what to do, once the courts have decided - until then we've got two competing theories that just keeps going and going and going and going at least for the length of my life time - should we not get it settled before our grandchildren need to deal with it? )

I believe this issue speaks volumes about Smith and his slate’s leadership. Tribal preservation is more important than a chief’s political aspirations. Your jobs and the economy of northeastern Oklahoma shouldn't be put at risk by political theater orchestrated by Smith and his paid slate. (The Cherokee Nation has the right to govern their internal affairs - so are the Chief's aspirations any different than any other member of the Congressional Black Caucus? Give it a rest Sean! Let the Courts decide.)

Sean Nordwall, Cherokee citizen Scottsdale, Ariz. (and apparently part time in San Clemente, CA - Sean quit being part of the problem and bring some solutions to the table)

Editor’s note: Chief Smith has written a letter responding to these and other issues, which will be published in the Sunday Press.

(The real problem with those of us that live outside the Cherokee Nation is and I think Sean's letter shows this to be a prime example, we're always trying to fit in with those in the 14 counties of the Nation in Oklahoma, although because we have moved away or at least our parents moved away from Oklahoma, many back there consider us traitors - what the Chief has done for those of us outside the 14 counties is helping us to develop communities within our areas and giving us a voice on the council - I don't know about Sean, he's rather young, but traveling back and forth to Oklahoma, like many back there prefer that we do, to *be Cherokee* is just unreasonable and at the current price of gasoline practically impossible; or to move back to the 14 counties to *be Cherokee* and even then many reject those that do so - SO THANK YOU, CHIEF SMITH, FOR GIVING US OUR CULTURE WHERE EVER WE LIVE! I don't know how all this will turn out but at least for the time being we can be Cherokee even if we don't live in Oklahoma or speak Cherokee)