Thursday, July 17, 2008

CN benefits questioned

(Letters like this are most distressing - there is no mention as to whether or not this person or family is a member of the Cherokee Nation - I guess with a CDIB card of 1/4 blood, it is just assumed they are, yep you indeed can have a CDIB card and NOT be a Cherokee Citizen, this is how important that blood quantum is to the Federal Government - this probably has to do with restrictions on the federal funding that is provided to the CN, that this person is not a Cherokee Citizen and he lives outside the 14 counties..."blue-eyed, blonde-haired girl ahead" - this is a reference to *thin-bloods*, usually the same thing - this shows the divisive nature of the Federal Blood Quantum laws - which in most cases aren't accurate anyway - you see at the time of the Dawes, if you were over 1/2 blood your land was given to you under a guardianship - so most folks wouldn't admit they were over 1/2 blood, if you were under 1/2 blood, you got your land in fee simple - not that it made any difference in the long run, the vast majority of Indians lost their land to fraudulent land transactions anyway. However, letters like this are generally vague and misleading, in that there are no specifics. Consider this - even those *blue-eyed, blonde-haired girls* ahead of him if they're living outside the 14 counties don't get any benefits from the Cherokee Nation, so if you really want to be fair, all citizens should be treated equally, regardless of where they live or what their blood quantum is - so the federal restrictions on the funding need to be lifted - if Indian Health Care is indeed a treaty obligation - then Orange County CA Indians should have an Indian Clinic)

CN benefits questioned

Tahlequah Daily Press
Tahlequah, OK

Editor, Daily Press:

We have heard all the hoopla about the Cherokee Nation rejecting the Freedmen. Now, it seems if you aren’t dark enough, your aren’t one of them, either.

My 24-year-old son, Charles Brownell – a quarter Cherokee, according to his CDIB card – lost his job and the home he and his wife were renting. He has had to move into my home and his wife back to her parents. On my son’s first visit to the Cherokee Nation, to ask for emergency assistance, he was told he could get an assistance check and put into some short-term emergency housing until he could get another job and get back on his feet. That is all he needs – not a lifetime handout, just a hand up. He is proud to be a working man and proud to be Cherokee.

On his next visit, they told him they couldn’t help him while he was living with me in Siloam Springs, Ark. So he found three places ready to hire him in Tahlequah. Some friends in Tahlequah offered to let him stay there a short time, until he had a paycheck coming in. Well, these kind folks, who get housing assistance from Cherokee Nation, got told after a single Sunday night stay, that he’d better not be seen there overnight again or they would be out, too.

The job he started was a bust, so he had to go back to the Cherokee Nation and asked for help again. He was told there was nothing they could do for him. My son, replied, “You can’t help me, but that blue-eyed, blonde-haired girl ahead of me just now, walked out of here with a check in her hand?”

Now I – and I am sure, many other taxpayers whose dollars get handed over to them by the federal government, and Cherokees who are not seeing the kind of fair distribution of the government funds, and casino revenue that was also supposed to be distributed with fair and equal treatment among the tribe, like things used to be – are all asking why? Why are some Cherokees who are in positions of power and secrecy – knocking down $100,000-plus a year, and getting rich off the millions the casinos rake in, plus the millions in government funds – supposedly for all in the tribe, while if you are too dark, or not dark enough, or don’t have the right last name, or are not related to one of those names, you don’t rate squat?

I don’t know why the tribe puts up with it; there are more poor Cherokees than there are rich ones. Vote them out of any offices they hold and make them go out a find a real job for once, and elect tribal government that will take care of all its people fairly. I guarantee you those fat cats are not pawning their fishing poles and DVD movie collections, or their kids’ PlayStation games, for a few bucks to put gas in their tanks, and diapers on their babies. A lot of the poor ones are.

Federal assistance to the Cherokee Nation is part of treaties to aid and help all Cherokees equally, not some more than others. I knew when I saw them trying to reject the Freedmen that the too-white-looking ones were next, unless they have the right connections, last name, or relations. Tribal government has become a cross between a soap opera of who is doing what to whom, and micro-replica of our federal government, as to who is doing something similar to the rest of their own people.

If tribal politicians, who seem just like all other politicians to me, can violate their treaty with the U.S. as to the fair distribution of federal funding, and can play favorites, it is time for all federal funds to stop going to the fat cats, who keep most of it for themselves and dole out meager portions.

Help those among you in need, instead of stuffing more millions into the fat cats’ pockets. And only the Cherokees have the power to do this: Get political, attend political and tribal meetings, call for votes and referendums and special elections, and call those fat cats out on the carpet and make them answerable to you, the people of the Cherokee Nation!

And if the answers aren’t honest and fair to all, vote them out on their ears.

Joe Brownell, Oklahoma landowner and proud father of a Cherokee man

Siloam Springs, Ark.