Saturday, May 31, 2008

Unethical?

Prince: We're imitating the enemy
Posted: May 16, 2008
by: Shannon Prince

...pseudo-scientific belief that ''one drop'' of black blood negated all others - a fact that shows the nonsense of the claim that the removal of the freedmen from the Cherokee Nation is based on the desire to allow only those with Indian blood to be Indians. .. (Freedmen requirements would be all those who speak Cherokee can be citizens - dropping the citizenship down to a few hand fulls)

While these scholars have brilliantly argued that the removal of the freedmen from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is illegal by the nation's own laws, I argue that beyond being illegal, the removal of the freedmen is also unethical. (emphasis added) Those who support freedmen removal are irresponsible heirs of Cherokee history and have internalized colonial expressions of sovereignty. (Cherokees had sovereignty long before the colonials came - we adapted, now she wants us to go back? what next!)

(Added Note: Ethics
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ethics is a major branch of philosophy, encompassing right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong. A central aspect of ethics is "the good life", the life worth living or life that is satisfying, which is held by many philosophers to be more important than moral conduct[citation needed].)

(So it's right conduct (ethical) to force those without a Cherokee Ancestor onto the Cherokee Nation? So she would support open US borders as well? "the good life", I seriously doubt the Freedmen's life will change one way or the other)

As Cherokee, we should ask how our ancestors could turn from our teachings of duyukduh (wish I knew what that meant), which emphasizes balance, interrelatedness and respect for all peoples. We should ask how our leaders and Beloved Women could condone such injustice - and why Smith continues to do so. (apparently the Cherokee are the only one with these attributes - where is the respect for the Cherokee - we hear all the time about how the Cherokee respect others - when do they respect the Cherokee)

As Cherokee people, we have to decide the right way to handle history, the honorable way to exercise sovereignty, and the correct way to bring forth justice and healing. We have to celebrate the beauty in our culture, soothe our wounds of oppression as well as the oppression we dealt out to others, and practice gadugi with all members of the community. We have a long road ahead of us, and recognizing the citizenship of the freedmen is the first step. (history has already been handled, you can't go back - we dealt no one an injustice - Congress and the Dawes Commission has done all this - the injustice today is once again the CBC using force again to impose their will on the Cherokee people and when will others start practicing ga.du.gi toward the Cherokee people - what the Freedmen and their supporters do not understand is that the sword cuts both ways - every argument they use to support the Freedmen also supports the Cherokee people - but the bottom line comes down to as a sovereign people - the Cherokees can today conduct their own internal affairs without Congress as the *Guardian*; the Freedmen argument however, goes one step further by taking assimilation into the 21st century and soon the Cherokee Nation will not be a Nation of 250,000 people but of 3/4 of the US, since all those *claiming* Cherokee Ancestry will also clammer for citizenship - we see that with our US border problems today, so now the Freemen wish to start a *border* problem for the Cherokee Nation)

Shannon Prince, Cherokee (Aniyunwiya), is a Presidential Scholar, Inaugural Scholar, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and junior at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. (well sure looks like she is taking advantage of some of that "colonial expressions of sovereignty")

for the rest of the story:

http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096417307



Will the BIA Implode?

Backlogs bring Dorgan thunder down on BIA

Posted: May 30, 2008
by: Jerry Reynolds
Indian Country Today

http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096417383

WASHINGTON - In Carl Artman's final appearance before Congress as head of the BIA, Sen. Byron Dorgan treated him to a controlled explosion of anger at the bureau.

He didn't exempt Artman either, reminding him that it took a roll call vote of the Senate to get him confirmed as Interior's assistant secretary for Indian Affairs. ''But we got it done.''

By contrast, Artman, who greeted his confirmation with distinctly high spirits in a speech on the occasion, resigned from his brief tenure with a great deal undone - as just about anyone in the position would, judging from various testimonials May 22 to the backlog at the Interior Department and its subsidiary agency, the BIA, of applications for everything from probating estates to land appraisal and leases, from fee land acquisitions to environmental impact statements.

''I'm terribly disappointed by that,'' Dorgan said of Artman's resignation. In view of the probable delay, during a presidential election season, in getting another permanent BIA leader confirmed, he added, ''I think this is undermining tribes across the country.''

He went over the recent history of brief-tenured BIA chiefs, including two who felt stymied by the BIA bureaucracy. ''In your case,'' he told Artman, ''I think you've made some progress. But frankly, I think it's less than you suggest.''

As if in proof, he confronted Artman with two instances of applications that seem to have gone astray for years now in the BIA bureaucracy. ''If they exist, you can't find them.'' In Dorgan's view, Artman hasn't righted the ship on their account, despite a fall 2007 SCIA hearing that found a shortage of functional tracking systems in place at the BIA. One instance involves the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the North Dakota Democrat's own home constituency, the other the Shakopee Mdewakanton in Minnesota.

Artman strove to put the best face on matters, but Dorgan was having none of it. A tracking system to keep tabs on applications, requests, etc., is a basic of doing business, he insisted, recounting his own experience when just out of college.

''How do you keep track of anything without a tracking system?''

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Dorgan has blasted the BIA before. But his May 22 outbursts were in a league of their own, coming from him, and among the fuel that produced them were two examples of how he says BIA delay has cheated tribes.

On a recent weekend visit to a lucrative oil field extending from western North Dakota into eastern Montana, Dorgan said, he learned that 18,000 barrels of oil are pumped there a day, but none from tribal lands. When he asked why, a non-Indian in the oil industry told him, '''You gotta go through a hundred hoops.'''

Once again, Dorgan remarked at the hearing, bureaucrats are denying tribes a chance to develop economically.

''They're popping up all around the reservation,'' he said of oil drilling rigs and wells. ''But not on the reservation.''

Similarly, he produced large-format aerial photographs that showed economic development before the tribe at Shakopee applied to acquire land in trust, and after - 11 years after. By that time, non-tribal development on non-trust land encircled the tribal trust holdings. ''And this tribe is, in my judgment, cheated of a chance to develop its lands.''

Though he has argued hard for more BIA staff and funding at past hearings, Dorgan didn't seem to credit them as sufficient solutions May 22, despite some of the testimony before him.

''I sometimes think maybe I should just abolish this agency and start over from scratch. ... You know, it seems to me that we have a terrible mess down there. ... How do you penetrate this bureaucratic mess? And it is a mess. It has been a mess for a long, long time.'' (Yikes, start over? let's discuss the replacement first)

Artman responded in part, ''There has been some chaos and havoc over there, but we're beginning to get a handle on it.''

After the hearing, Artman said agency ''entrepreneurism'' outside the central Washington headquarters of the BIA has produced manifold system inconsistencies. He added that the BIA has been caught unprepared in changing times, unable to move at the speed of business.

Interior announced May 27 that it has appointed George Skibine, an Osage citizen with a varied portfolio in Indian affairs within Interior, as acting BIA director.

(this is the result of years of neglect - think of what Indian Health Care is like)

Freedmen have opened the Flood Gates

Banished Snoqualmie file civil-rights lawsuit

By Lynda V. Mapes

Seattle Times staff reporter

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004449414_snoq31m.html

Nine banished members of the Snoqualmie tribe have filed a federal lawsuit in the latest round of an ongoing fight for control of the tribe, poised to open one of the state's most lucrative gambling casinos this fall.

Tossed out in April, the banished members, including the tribal chairman, several council members and a minister of the Indian Shaker Church, filed suit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, claiming violation of their civil rights.

Named in the suit are the Snoqualmie council members who banished them, stripping them of their tribal identity; barring them from tribal lands, and cutting them off from any tribal benefits, including health-care services.

"This is a sad, sad time," said banished tribal member Lois Sweet Dorman. "This was supposed to be a time to celebrate together; the promise of prosperity to enable us to provide for our people. We worked so hard for our sovereignty. Most of us are elders of this tribe; this action is unbelievably harsh and cruel."

In the suit, attorney Rob Roy Smith of Seattle said the banishments should be overturned because his clients' liberties were illegally restrained by violation of the Indian Civil Rights Act. Passed by Congress in 1968, the act is intended to safeguard the fundamental civil rights of tribal members, such as their right to due process, free speech and peaceable assembly.

The banished had no opportunity to confront their accusers or exercise their right to free speech, and were unlawfully accused of "treason" and meeting as an "illegal shadow government" in violation of their right to peaceable assembly, according to the suit. They are also denied their liberty in being barred them from tribal lands and services, the suit stated.

Matt Mattson, tribal administrator, declined to respond except by e-mail on Friday: "The tribe is not aware of the suit and really cannot comment without knowing more details. As a general matter, however, it is a settled principle of federal law that membership is an internal sovereign matter over which the courts do not have jurisdiction."

In earlier written statements, the new leadership of the council said that some of the banished council members did not have the necessary blood quantum to be Snoqualmie tribal members, and that there were "serious irregularities" with the election in which the four took office last May.

Some 43 members of the tribe — many related to those council members — have since had their enrollment status "clarified" in letters sent by the tribal enrollment officer, stating they don't have the necessary 1/8 Snoqualmie blood to either hold office or vote, though they are still eligible for tribal benefits.

The Snoqualmie are a small tribe with fewer than 700 members. It was federally recognized in 1999 and obtained a reservation in 2006.

It intends to open what promises to be one of the most profitable casinos, located just off Interstate 90 — an enterprise the banished were also accused of not supporting.

The dispute flared up after the banished went to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in March, declaring the tribe was in constitutional crisis because its government had been illegally taken over last September by the new leaders of the tribal council.
"They are the shadow government," said Sharon Frelinger, one of the banished council members.

"They are the ones who have acted illegally and inappropriately. We have continued to meet, and we are going to continue to look at what our options are. We don't have any intention of dropping it. They are an illegal government and acting as such. I think they should be stopped."

Frelinger said she felt she had no choice but to file suit. "It's kind of like a Third World country where you get new leadership, and they kill off the old. That is exactly what they have done, and I just find that horrid."

Lynda V. Mapes: 206-464-2736 or lmapes@seattletimes.com

Friday, May 30, 2008

CA Tribes under Public Law 280 Report

Well this is a welcome site:

Breaking News! Nation-wide Study of Law Enforcement under Public Law 280 Published

Final Report: Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Under Public Law 280

Professors Carole Goldberg and Duane Champagne are co-principal investigators for a research grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct the first nationwide study of law enforcement under Public Law 280. This two-year, $300,000 grant collected crime and victimization data, and carried out more than 300 intensive interviews with law enforcement officers, tribal officials, criminal justice personnel, and tribal members at 16 different reservation sites in Public Law 280 and non-Public Law 280 states. This report analyzes positive and negative aspects of state criminal jurisdiction in Indian country, and recommends strategies for improving law enforcement for reservations currently subject to Public Law 280.

Much more info there on CA Tribal Sovereignty as well:

http://www.law.ucla.edu/home/index.asp?page=1984

See what no Cherokee Funding ENDS

Cherokee Nation News Release
(918) 453-5378 FAX (918) 458-6181
Cherokee Nation Director of Communications@cherokee.org
© Cherokee Nation - All Rights Reserved

Cherokee Nation to Host Cultural Camp in Vinita

VINITA, OK — The Cherokee Nation will host a Cultural Camp from Monday, June 2 to Friday, June 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.., at Cowboy Junction in Vinita.

The camp will be hosted by the Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center and is open to 100 students who attended Kindergarten through eighth grade during the 2007-2008 school year.

Participants will receive instruction on how to make baskets, corn husk dolls, miniature stickball sticks, key rings and how to work with clay. Traditional games will also be taught and will include: marbles, stickball and blow guns.

Instruction and art supplies will be provided by the Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center. For more information about the camp, call (918) 453-5151.

Cherokee Nation Helping to Secure the Borders

Cherokee Nation News Release
(918) 453-5378 FAX (918) 458-6181
Cherokee Nation Director of Communications@cherokee.org
© Cherokee Nation - All Rights Reserved

Cherokee Nation Helping Recruit for U.S. Border Patrol

TAHLEQUAH, OK — The Cherokee Nation will be hosting a recruitment event for the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency on Monday, June 9, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., in the conference room of Talking Leaves Job Corps, located at 5700 Bald Hill Road, south of Tahlequah.

The event is being hosted by the Cherokee Nation Career Services Group, whose mission is to develop and encourage individuals to achieve and maintain work habits and skills that promote employability and self-sufficiency through programs that encompass education, training, rehabilitation and supportive services.

Applicants for the U.S. Border Patrol must be a U.S. citizen and have been a resident of the United States for the past three years, be between the ages of 18 and 39, and be able to pass a federal background investigation. For more information on the recruitment event, call (918) 453-5555.

Cherokee Nation again Helping Kids

Cherokee Nation News Release
(918) 453-5378 FAX (918) 458-6181
Cherokee Nation Director of Communications@cherokee.org
© Cherokee Nation - All Rights Reserved

Cherokee Nation Contributes Funds for Car Seats

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith presents a check to Lynne McAllister of the Cherokee County Safe Kids organization. The group will use the funds from the tribe to purchase car seats for low income families.

TAHLEQUAH, OK — The Cherokee Nation recently contributed $5,000 to the Safe Kids Chapter of Cherokee County to purchase car seats for low income families.

“In the spirit of ga du gi, we want to work with other local organizations to ensure the safety of all children,” said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “This is a way we can work together to help community members in need.”

The local Safe Kids organization was originated in June of 2002 by community citizens with an interest in health safety, education and child advocacy. According to Safe Kids literature, each year more American children die from injuries than all childhood diseases combined. In Oklahoma, car accidents are the leading cause of death in children from birth to four years of age.

“We are dedicated to making all of Oklahoma a safer place for children,” said Lynne McAllister, Chapter Chairperson of Cherokee County Safe Kids. “Tragedy can strike in a matter of minutes, leaving a child seriously injured. Parents oftentimes don’t realize how critical it is to have their child properly secured in a child passenger seat. Thanks to the generous assistance from the Cherokee Nation, Safe Kids will be able to have car seats on-hand for families in need.”

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Confront Black Caucus

Confront Black Caucus

http://www.tahlequahdailypress.com/letters/local_story_149093147.html

Editor, Daily Press:

At last, a true American has stepped up to confront and challenge the Black Caucus regarding their ambition to force the Cherokee Nation to accept all Freedmen – who have no Cherokee blood quantum – as citizens.

Representative Tom Cole, of Oklahoma, reacted and called the plan “legislative blackmail” in reply to statements made by the chairman of the House Finance Committee, Barney Franks. Chairman Franks told a Washington newspaper he would not take the bill to the house floor again without the provisions that required the Cherokee Nation’s acceptance of all Freedmen, with or without blood quantum.

At issue is language added to the house bill last September, which in essence, states that unless the Cherokee Nation accepts all Cherokee Freedmen as citizens, the Cherokees would be denied federal funding in all areas. The Black Caucus want to make all Freedmen citizens of an Indian Nation.

Can our government make us something we aren’t?

There are blacks with Cherokee blood who are now citizens along with Irish, Scotch, German, Mexicans and other tribes who make up the Cherokee Nation. I have a strong suspicion that the Freedmen leadership promised a large block of votes to certain Cherokee candidates in the last election.

The Cherokee Freedmen should remember their Confederate Freedmen received freedom. The Cherokees and their sister tribes agreed to give large tracts of land to their ex-slaves, and they were also included in the money claims. Just because the Black Caucus can out-shout their colleagues in Congress and intimidate the news media, businesses and corporations with threats of boycott, or of having individuals fired for uttering words they themselves invented and used, is blackmail.

This form of bullying has to stop. Our Chickasaw friend has fired the first shot. All Indian nations and their state representatives should get very serious about the matter. If the congresswoman from California is successful in her pursuit, and cuts off funding to Indian tribes, we all will be without federal monies to spend in our respective states. Each of us should contact our elected representatives and voice your opinion, just as loudly.

John A. Ketcher

Tahlequah

Basic Cherokee Government Lesson for Rep Watson

This is the way the Cherokee Nation Government Works:

1. A legislative branch which passes laws; the Cherokee Council;

2. A judicial branch; our court system - which by the way is very sophisticated for a Native American Court system;

3. A Chief - same as the US President, only he's called a Chief;

Hmmm, surprise, surprise, works just like the US Government; including trying to blame the Chief for that which the Cherokee People via a democratic vote asked for *that we be a Tribe of Cherokees who can trace our family back to a Cherokee Ancestor on the Cherokee Base Dawes Roll*

So quit vilifying our Chief, Chad Smith, he's done an excellent job in pursuing this matter, for something the Cherokee people VOTED for.

Hmmm, I guess there is one difference - our Government listens to it's people.

Basic US Government Lesson for Rep Watson

This is the way the US Government Works:

1. Congress makes the laws; in some cases the law isn't clear; in some cases congress' intent isn't clear; in some cases subsequent laws are passed that modify prior congressional laws;

2. The Courts are suppose to interpret those laws; in some cases judges get into social engineering; sometimes they get into legislating by finding things in the laws that aren't expressly stated;

3. The President - I'm not sure exactly what he does - enforce the laws is a good guess; leader of the Free World etc...

These THREE branches of the US government are INTERDEPENDENT, and are suppose to work together as the federal unit of 50 states, the ties that bind, so to speak - the major problem with all three branches is: they seem to think that they are the MOST IMPORTANT BRANCH - three branches makes us a democracy - one branch acting alone makes us a dictatorship.

The Cherokee Nation disagrees with the way the Freedmen are trying to interpret the 1866 treaty - so the Freedmen sued, let's not forget who brought this suit by the way - then the Freedmen enlisted Rep Watson, from whom the CBC got into the act - so now we have one view from the Freedmen, which has been adopted by Rep Watson and the CBC and another view from the Cherokee Nation; so that's why we have courts, to settle these types of disputes.

So let's stick with the US Constitution and let the Courts have their say on interpreting the laws which gives the Cherokee Nation their due process rights or is the CBC going to circumvent that Constitutional provision as well?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another Retreat from Treaty Obligations by the US

Warne: Tribes' healthcare coming up short

By DONALD WARNE

Progressive Media Project

http://www.star-telegram.com/245/story/667387.html

How long you live should not depend on how rich you are. But recent studies show that the richer you are, the longer you live.

For American Indians, this is not news. Nearly a third of our people live in poverty, compared with 12 percent of the rest of the country, and we suffer alarming gaps in life expectancy. In Arizona, where I live, the average age at death is 72.2 years for the general population and 54.7 years for American Indians. Even people in Bangladesh and Ghana live longer.

Death rates from preventable causes such as diabetes, alcoholism and mental illness are dramatically higher among American Indians than in the rest of the population. Despite this gross inequality, American Indians are the only population born with a legal right to healthcare in this country.

The treaties between the tribal nations and the federal government involved exchanges of vast amounts of Indian land and natural resources for federal guarantees of social services, including housing, education and healthcare. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service were established to administer the federal government's trust responsibility to provide healthcare and other vital services to American Indians. But today, the Indian Health Service is underfunded to the tune of $2 billion.

Relative to the entire federal budget of $3.1 trillion, $2 billion is a tiny investment in Indian health. This is not a question of money. It's a question of priorities.

We can rapidly spend $150 billion to send taxpayers a $600 rebate to stimulate the economy, and we can spend about $2 billion per week on the war in Iraq. But we can't fulfill our responsibility to honor our treaties with the country's first inhabitants, even though that additional $2 billion could make life-and-death differences.

Opponents of this funding claim that tribal casinos make it unnecessary. But most tribes do not have casinos, and most casinos are not making significant profits. And even if that argument were solid, successful tribal economic development does not fulfill the federal responsibility to provide healthcare to American Indians.

Other opponents argue that successful casinos should fund the other tribes. Is this not advocating socialism? Until the rest of the nation is willing to socialize medicine and other services, tribes should not be held to a higher standard.
Each tribe is a sovereign entity, and it is not the tribes' responsibility to provide healthcare to one another. It is the federal government's responsibility.
It ought to live up to that.

Dr. Donald Warne (Oglala Lakota) is president and CEO of American Indian Health Management & Policy ( www.aihmp.com) in Phoenix. pmproj@progressive.org

There is no such thing as a Cherokee by Adoption or an Adopted Cherokee

The word adoption like reservation is a white man's word. This is a term and concept unfamiliar to the Cherokees.

The only time I've seen that term used is on the Dawes Roll. Whites who were married to Cherokee spouses were Cherokee by Intermarriage and the Dawes Commission considered them *adopted* apparently because that term was then stamped on the enrollment card.

These white terms apparently conferred on them the right to obtain land allotments in their own name prior to about 1870, after 1870 the Commissioner decided intermarried could not obtain land allotments in their own names.

Whites intermarried with Cherokees were "accepted" so to speak but it is only in the white literature you will find any terms like adoption or that whites not intermarried were *adopted* by Indians.

Watson Wrong on Freedmen Issue - more of her same ole, same ole

Presidential candidate wrong on freedmen

Muskogee Phoenix
Muskogee, OK
05/22/2008

On the same day that African American voters went to the polls to cast their ballots in North Carolina and Indiana, descendants of the former slaves of the Cherokee Nation (known as freedmen) fought in the federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to enforce their treaty rights guaranteeing (again she reads more into that treaty than is there) them equality and voting rights in the tribe.

Attorneys representing the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma have filed to have the case dismissed on the grounds that only U.S. Congress can enforce the treaty because the Cherokees have sovereign immunity (Supreme Court has ruled tribes have sovereign control over their membership - sorry, now who appears to be NOT following the law - Watson argues apparently that the Freedmen don't have to follow this ruling). Yet the Cherokee Nation on that same day held a conference in the U.S. Capitol on why the freedmen matter should be left to the courts.

Without a clear understanding of the issue, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has weighed in on the side of the Cherokees by publicly opposing my legislation, H.R. 2824, which suspends U.S. relations with the Cherokees until the rights of freedmen are restored. (Oh, Obama understands this - Rep Watson just wants to use her *power* to force the Cherokee Nation to accept non Cherokees as citizens)

Obama also takes exception to a recent Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) letter in which the caucus declares its opposition to Native American housing legislation if it does not include a provision that would prevent the Cherokee Nation from receiving any benefits or funding under the bill if the freedmen are expelled from the tribe. (Apparently the CBC hasn't paid any attention to him either - which makes one wonder how effective he's going to be as president)

Obama’s argument mirrors the Cherokees’ justification for freedmen termination — the freedmen issue is a matter of tribal sovereignty and should be arbitrated in the courts and not Congress. (Obama doesn't mirror anyone except the courts or at least he's willing to let the courts interpret first, no arbitration in the courts, it's interpreting the treaty and subsequent acts of congress that modified that treaty)

But what Sen. Obama fails to understand is that the freedmen issue is about treaty rights, not tribal sovereignty. What Obama probably has not been told is that the Cherokee freedmen issue tracks the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma’s attempt in 2002 to terminate its freedmen that was squashed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs when it halted all federal funding to the tribe and suspended the Seminoles’ federal gaming authority. (Cherokee's have their own Court System; Watson prefers to deny the Cherokee Nation Due Process in a dictatorial manner by trying to circumvent interpretation of a Cherokee Treaty, not a Seminole Treaty - Note to Watson, all the tribes are different so many of the treaties are different, this isn't a one size fits all type of thing)

Despite a long history of legal precedent favoring the freedmen, Chad Smith, the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, continues to hammer at the notion that Congress should defer to the courts on the freedmen issue. It has become the rallying cry of his supporters and numerous well-paid lobbyists. (I think the only rulings favoring the Freedmen have been out of the Court of Claims and they are early 1900s cases, the most recent court of claims case involving this group of Freedmen was denied as 100 years too late - the Supreme Court has ruled that membership is up to each individual tribe)

Given Smith’s mantra that the freedmen issue should be left to the courts, it is curious that Smith’s lawyers recently argued in U.S. district court that Congress has rightful jurisdiction over the fate of the freedmen. (Chief's lawyers are correct, however, as long as Congress is following the law as interpreted by the courts - what they're trying to enforce now is outdated, ill conceived and failed Indian policies of the past - the Cherokee Nation disagrees with Watson and CBC interpretation of the law - LET THE COURTS DECIDE - if you jerk funding from the Cherokee Nation and you lose, are you going to refund all that funding? - Watson needs a more balanced view on this)

African American voters should think about how they would feel if their citizenship rights were suddenly removed because they descended from slaves. This is precisely what the Cherokee Nation wants to do in violation of its own treaty obligations. (wrong, these folks don't have a Cherokee Ancestor, they are not Cherokee - they are using the 13th Amendment to gain access to the Cherokee Nation, where they don't belong regardless of whether they were slave, pink or purple - we don't know yet if the courts are going to interpret this treaty in this manner - not to mention she left out other acts of congress that have modified this treaty - she gives only half truths - she can't enforce something that isn't clearly expressed in the treaty, without a court interpretation - the CBC is wrong to circumvent the courts ruling on these issues)

U.S. Rep. Watson, D-Calif., is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform, and Foreign Affairs, committees.

(what Rep Watson doesn't get, is the fact that we are not living in the 1830s or 1950s when she supports failed Indian policies of the past - she would place Black Human Rights over Indian Human Rights - this is not a 13th Amendment issue, it is an INDIAN issue)

Meet the Cherokee

Why Freedmen Descendants Without an Indian Ancestor Listed on the Base Rolls Are Not Eligible for Citizenship in the Cherokee Nation

http://www.meetthecherokee.org/

Cherokee Nation Response to Watson

Cherokee Nation response to Watson Dated May 22, 2008:

http://www.jalagi.org/watsonletter.pdf

(this link is from the United Cherokee Nation website - a faction within the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and not recognized as a separate entity by any one outside their group)

It's OK to be Multiracial

Multiracial Americans surge in number, voice

Obama candidacy focuses new attention on their quest for understanding

By Mike Stuckey
Senior news editor
MSNBC
updated 4:46 a.m. CT, Wed., May. 28, 2008

If you want a good glimpse of the multiracial experience in America, get inside Louie Gong’s skin.

“I’m Nooksack, I’m Chinese, I’m French and I’m Scottish,” Gong tells viewers of a multimedia piece he placed on YouTube to help spark discussion of multiracial issues. “... When I was a kid, I drank my Ovaltine with real milk, and my cousins and I liked our fried rice with salmon.”

At the same time that the nation’s growing diversity and changing social attitudes are helping to swell the ranks of multiracial Americans at 10 times the rate of the white population, the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama, son of a black man and a white woman, has brought new attention, curiosity and discussion to their experiences.

for the rest of the story:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24542138

Friday, May 23, 2008

Anniversary of the Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears was trail of betrayal

By Mark Anthony Rolo, May 22, 2008

for the entire story:
http://www.progressive.org/?q=node/6463

The Trail of Tears began 170 years ago this week. We should recall it not as an aberration but as a logical outgrowth of an inhumane policy. And we should insist, in its memory, that Indian treaties and Indian sovereignty be honored. . . .

Cherokee homes were raided, crops ransacked, livestock and land stolen. At gunpoint, nearly 15,000 Cherokees were forced into concentration camps to await final orders to trek, mostly on foot, for nearly 1,000 miles. While many would die on that trail through snow and mountains, others would never even make the journey. Sordid conditions in the camps left many, especially the elderly and children, vulnerable to exposure, disease and starvation. . . .

Years before the Cherokee were forced out, Congress paved the way for land theft with the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Other tribes such as the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole were forced off their lands in the Southeast. More than 100,000 tribal people were driven westward. . . .

Throughout the past 200 years, tribes have learned all too well that recognition of their sovereignty starts from scratch with each new presidential administration, each new Congress, every new face on the Supreme Court.

On this anniversary of the Trail of Tears, may the next group learn fast. (emphasis added)

Mark Anthony Rolo is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

A Must See Native American Movie

For a Preview of:

Older than America:

http://olderthanamerica.com/

Thursday, May 22, 2008

more news on Indian Health Services (IHS)

New IHS director shares his vision

Posted: May 21, 2008
by: Rob Capriccioso

http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096417297

WASHINGTON - Robert McSwain, who was sworn in as director of the IHS May 7, begins his reign at a difficult time. Budget cuts are having immediate impacts, new health issues in Indian country are on the rise, and the federal climate in which he's trying to make his goals a reality is as complicated as ever. And still, McSwain, a member of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, feels more than up to the job. Now in his 22nd year with IHS, he shared his vision with Indian Country Today.

Indian Country Today: What are your immediate challenges?

Robert McSwain: I think the main challenge is much the same as what we've been dealing with, which is certainly a very limited budget outlook because of the president's vision about the deficit reduction budgets ... and of course that means that the discretionary programs are very, very limited. ...

I think the other challenges are the continued progress of self-determination, and working with the tribes on their decisions to assume the programs. Over half the program is currently contracted to tribes under self-determination, but I'm also reminded that there's still a significant - a little less than half the program - that's still direct. So we must provide direct care, and the biggest challenge is going to be the balancing of the two, ensuring that the tribes who choose to have us deliver the care are not treated any less than the tribes that have decided to take over their programs. ...

And the fact that we're dealing with some new health challenges in health care. We're dealing with the behavioral health issues. While we have the old issues of alcoholism and substance abuse, we have some new issues. ... On the behavioral health side, the health challenges are about methamphetamine abuse, certainly suicides amongst our youth - those are challenges that we didn't have 20 years ago, so those are the new challenges as we move forward. Plus, how do we continue to work smartly in the system, how do we become more effective and efficient?

I think the challenge is, given the budget constraints, how do we continue to expand the program through quality improvement in the health care delivery?

ICT: How do you feel about President Bush's proposed 2009 budget?

McSwain: ... It's a budget that is flat. But ... if you look inside at the detail of the changes, you'll see that the budget demonstrates maintenance of the program for basic primary care on Indian reservations. And less on infrastructure, less on those populations like the urban Indians that are in the cities, and it's a focus on and a shift in the program towards those folks who do not have alternate resources out on or near reservations in more isolated parts of the country.

ICT: But many urban Indians could be hurt by this budget ... (emphasis added)

McSwain: I am concerned about the urban folks - approximately 600,000 Indians are estimated to live in urban areas, and we're only in 34 of those urban sites. And I guess the overarching concern is that those Indian people in urban areas are not a different kind of Indian. They are, in fact, American Indian and Alaska Natives who had to leave their reservations for a lot of reasons, probably chiefly is where they can find work. They've either gone to school, and they've decided that's where their careers are for those that have left their reservations. So it is a difficult issue. (or in the 1950s were encouraged to leave or were transported to urban areas by the Federal Government)

The bottom line is it's a matter of choices, and if you choose to continue providing care to the reservation on or near folks, or do you want to try to spread it to taking care of both groups; and when you have to maintain one, it's not an easy choice. It's the most difficult choice, but it's the choice that we've made. (no, the US Governments Trust Responsibility is to all Indians, period, regardless of where we live.)

ICT: How do you deal with a lack of facilities funding?

McSwain: We've had a pause in construction for about three years now. What's helped see us through the pause is our robust joint venture program, whereby we partner with tribes who can build and replace facilities, and we agree to staff the facilities. We're sort of weathering the storm with the tribes that have been able to step forward.

ICT: What about the many tribes that can't afford to build facilities?

McSwain: A lot of it depends on hope. We hope to get through this particular pause in construction soon. Our average facility age is 33 years. The bottom line is that if we can't build it, then we do all we can to maintain our maintenance and repair budget.

ICT: What are your thoughts on the Indian Health Care Improvement Act?

McSwain: I see the Indian Health Care Improvement Act as a framework that really proscribes the special relationship that the federal government has with Indian tribes. It's a complex bill, clearly; but the fact is that fundamentally, it is a very important legislation that proscribes that special relationship. I've been around the country and I know that tribes have articulated that this law is really the backstop for many of the treaties that were signed about health care. ... It hasn't been reauthorized for a period of time, and it needs to be to continue that special relationship, particularly as it pertains to health matters. There are certainly other pieces of legislation that are important to Indian country, but for our mission, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act is vital.

ICT: Do you think the IHCIA will be reauthorized anytime soon?

McSwain: I was very optimistic at the beginning of the year when the Senate was able to, Sen. [Byron] Dorgan was able to marshal his energy and forces, if you will, to get it passed by, and rather overwhelmingly passed by, the Senate. And so then it moved to the House, and there are issues in the House that folks have. It's a bigger body ... so you have more views to be expressed, more committees of jurisdiction, and those issues, it seems to bog down a bit.

I guess my optimism goes from one week to the next to the next - one week it's very high, and the next week it's very low as I begin to hear that some issues are dragging it on. Now, this is an election year and Congress' attention is going to turn to the general election in November, and that means that if it doesn't get done soon, unfortunately it could wind up not getting reauthorized this year and what then happens is, I'm advised, that the process will have to begin totally anew in January again. And so that special relationship is still there under current law, but it's so important and vital to Indian people that it be done.

ICT: What do you think the holdup in the House is?

McSwain: I think there are just a lot of other things going on in such a tight legislative agenda ... I think we may be just getting lost in the shuffle on the House side.

ICT: In your mind, what's the drop deadline for reauthorization?

McSwain: I'm gauging it's either June or July at the latest.

ICT: Are tribal officials telling you that IHS needs to be doing more in terms of prevention?

McSwain: They are very vocal about it. ... Prevention is a forefront issue. The tribal leaders are there, and we listen very closely to them as to what they think will work.

ICT: Is it important for the director of IHS to be Indian?

McSwain: I believe it's very important. Half have been non-Indians, and now half have been Indians. What it really signifies is the maturation of the Indian health system. Today, all of our senior-level professionals are Indians, and about 70 percent of our work force is Indian. It's appropriate that the leadership of Indian Health Service be an Indian person. It has linkage back to the tribes we serve. I think it's another form of self-determination, although we're all still federal employees.

ICT: You've been confirmed for a four-year term, but this fall, you will see a transition to a new president. Does the change concern you?

McSwain: I look at it as an opportunity. You go into it with the notion that they don't know much about IHS. But, in consultation with tribal leaders, we plan to be more proactive, getting our issues lined up and presenting a strong face to the new administration. We will teach the new group. And we can tell them not only what our needs are, but the kind of system we have.

ICT: Which candidate in the running for president could best help IHS?

McSwain: I think it's up to tribal leaders to decide. After all, I've got an agency to run.

Barack Obama in Crow Agency, MT

Some lofty promises here - however, will he follow through, no one will know, unless he is president and then it's too late. I didn't hear any specifics here either - he's going to get to the bottom of the Indian Trust Accounts, however, he doesn't say how and the DOI and Courts have been working on this issue, with no resolution, for over 10 years now...this by the way is the Obama YouTube site, so there are other videos here as well...he also told a group in SFO, CA that in the mid west folks during hard times *cling* to their religion and guns...which was a serious disconnect from them...so does this translate to Native Americans *cling* to their culture?

More Land into Trust Problems- Temecula CA

TEMECULA: City questions transfer of federal land to Pechanga
Bill handing over the property is making its way through Congress
By NICOLE SACK - Staff Writer Tuesday, May 20, 2008 10:24 PM PDT


Dale Neugebauer, chief of staff for Issa, said Temecula had not previously expressed concerns about the legislation, and the extent of the issues raised in the letter were jarring.

"This legislation has been around for four years. It has been written about extensively by the media. And its goal is to transfer undevelopable, steep and surplus land from the (Bureau of Land Management) to the Pechanga," Neugebauer said. "Given that, it is surprising to hear concerns that are this extensive at this late of an hour."

He added, "With that being said we take the city's concerns seriously and I will be meeting with city officials next week and address the concerns that they have raised."

Neugebauer said the two main concerns raised by the city, the restrictions on the use of the transferred land and the prohibition on building roads on it, are addressed by provisions in the bill that will have the "force of law" behind them to ensure compliance.

Pechanga's recent construction of an 18-hole golf course expected to open this summer, in an area eyed by city officials as the possible pathway for a bypass road to Interstate 15, was done without notification to the city or county, Nelson said in his letter.

The letter cites the golf course development as a reason why further assurances need to be written into the bill to discourage further developments.

for the rest of the story:
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2008/05/21/news/californian/temecula/zbd8d914296ab214b8825744f008095bf.txt

North County, Escondido, CA letter to the Editor

North County Times

Escondido, CA
05/18/2008

I have always been and will always be, against Obama for Pres. Any Native American with a thread of Intelligence will be against Obama, for he is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Native Americans across the country are getting fed up with the double talk coming from Barack Obama saying he supports the sovereign status of tribal governments while supporting the Congressional Black Caucus on several bills that include terminating federal recognition of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation.

The CBC Caucus members are beating their chest on capitol hill demanding that Congress and Senate members back them in denying federal health care, school and housing funds for citizens of the Cherokee Nation. The CBC Caucus is upset over Cherokee citizens voting to reinstate its' Cherokee blood quantum heritage as a requirement to be a citizen of their Indian Nation. (not exactly blood quantum as in an amount, only that you have a Cherokee Ancestor on the Cherokee Base Roll - some difference there - since the Eastern Band requires a 1/4 or 1/8 blood quantum for enrollment, the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma only requires an ancestor)

Cherokees are stating 'the federal government broke all treaties made with their nation, no federal treaty can dictate who can or cannot be a citizen of any Indian Nation!'

Cherokees are claiming the Freedmen group and CBC members are falsely framing the Cherokee issue as racist toward an Oklahoma Freedmen group. Fact is, Blacks with proven Cherokee heritage are citizens of the nation. The only so called Freedmen that have not to date proven their Cherokee blood heritage to the nation were affected by the Cherokee Nation's citizenship vote last year(which was passed by more than a 70% vote). (this not only meant Freedmen but all those claiming Cherokee Heritage etc, who do not have an ancestor on the Cherokee Base Dawes Roll...NOT just Blacks! and yes, we do have Black Freedmen as citizens of the Cherokee Nation...they have a Cherokee Ancestor on the Dawes Roll. This roll was made so the Cherokee Removal Land could be alotted to individual Cherokees)

All Citizens of the Cherokee Nation have to prove their blood qauntum (that you have a Cherokee Ancestor on that Cherokee Base Dawes Roll, not a qauntum per se) and lineage (back to the Cherokee Base Dawes Roll) to be a member of our Tribe, myself included. Why should blacks who can't prove it get special treatment?

The funniest part is that a group that is based on race and admits NO ONE from another race(The Congressional Black Caucus) is crying racism by us Indians, all the while using an Indian word in the name of their group. And guess what?

The word 'Caucus' is derived from the Algonquian Indian language. Talk about a bunch of hypocrites. And the biggest hypocrite is the one behind this bill, Congresswoman Diane Watson Dem-Ca, of the 33rd District. And of course she is Black.

Cheers, Nick.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Cherokees don't have a problem

Ruling could mean transformation for region
Experts debate impact of trust decision

By ELIZABETH COOPER
Observer-Dispatch
Posted May 21, 2008 @ 09:17 AM
Last update May 21, 2008 @ 09:39 AM

But Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said the loss of tax revenues and the jurisdictional checkerboarding of Indian and non-Indian parcels would harm local communities.“It could literally hinder the ability of governance,” he said.

The case is likely headed back to the courts that spawned it. The land-into-trust effort stemmed from a suggestion in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2005 over Sherrill's efforts to tax Oneida Nation businesses. . . .

The Cherokee Nation has more than 45,000 acres of trust land in Oklahoma, some for more than 100 years. It is thriving, a tribal leader says.

Linda Donelson, the tribe's director of real estate services, said the Cherokee didn't have any problem getting along with local and state government officials.

“Cherokee is one of the largest employers in northeastern Oklahoma,” she said. “Most of the people in the political organizations work with us (because) we put so much money into the local economy.”

Donelson said having trust lands made it easier for the tribe to deal with its own issues.

“We have our own court system, our own marshals,” she said. “If we have juvenile delinquents, we can deal with them ourselves, or if there are children who are deprived or in need.

”The law center's Anderson said in Washington state, it was difficult for local governments to adjust when land was put into trust. But once leaders became used to the situation, relations became easier.

“I've seen a lot of this initial opposition followed by recognition that these tribes are doing a lot,” he said. “It helps the whole area.” . . .

for the rest of the story:
http://www.uticaod.com/archive/x934427710/Ruling-could-mean-transformation-for-region

When people speak of things they know nothing about

Native Truth

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

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?ea506470-6e54-4a64-ae5e-90107d66dbd8

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 sara.hoklotubbe@yahoo.com

for the rest of the story:
http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?ea506470-6e54-4a64-ae5e-90107d66dbd8

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

And Watson has the nerve to complain

Time Magazine Snubs Indians Again
Posted May 19, 2008 06:19 PM (EST)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-giago/emtimeem-magazine-snubs-i_b_102529.html


Every Native American can probably name 10 Indians that deserve to be on Time's list of most influential people. The problem is nobody asks them. Out of sight out of mind does not lead to a cohesive means of communications. White and black editors see who is around them in their own little world and Native Americans are not a part of their world. I could name a hundred influential Indians, but because of space I will name just a few.

For every century there comes a man or woman that is in the right place at the right time. Ernie Stevens, Jr., Wisconsin Oneida, is such a man. As head of the National Indian Gaming Association he has come along at a time when Indian gaming is bringing in billions of dollars in revenues to many once impoverished Indian tribes. As a strong willed and powerful spokesman for the interests of the gaming tribes, his voice was, and is, essential to the continued success of Indian gaming. Stevens has managed to pull the gaming tribes together in a coalition that has stood as one to protect their rights. I would say that his influence is much more consequential to a people than say that of a Miley Cyrus. ...

I would strongly advise the editors of Time and the production managers of CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and of all the major newspapers and magazines in America that the First Americans are here and are newsworthy and pushing them into the role of the "Forgotten Americans" should not be allowed or tolerated. Time editors, next year when you compile your list, look beyond the end of your nose to find and include one or two influential Native Americans. It's the fair thing to do.

Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, was born, raised and educated on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He was the founder and first president of the Native American Journalists Association. He can be reached at najournalist@msn.com or by writing him at P.O. Box 818, Rapid City, SD 57709

(Amen! Amen!)

Big difference here

Watson writes:

Imagine yourself as an African American and resident of the State of Alabama in 1964, the year that President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the historic Civil Rights Act. And again imagine in 1964 that Alabama Governor George Wallace, in an act of defiance that not even he considered, introduced legislation to expel all African Americans from Alabama.

Now fast forward to the year 2007, over four decades later, when the citizens of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma voted last March to expel their black citizens in a manner that equaled if not surpassed the most vitriolic attacks against African Americans in the once segregated South.

for the rest of her comments:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-diane-watson/jim-crow-in-indian-countr_b_69927.html

(Big difference here between the United States and the Cherokee Nation - first of all the US is indeed a melting pot of immigrants, the Cherokee Nation is made up of Cherokees with set membership requirements, which is among the most lenient of all the Native American Tribes. So she's trying to compare apples and oranges. She apparently doesn't see the Cherokee Nation as a sovereign Nation but as *part of the general US population*. She needs to imagine herself as a Native American who is constantly under the hammer of Congress and subject to the whim of the political winds. Ruled by a conglomerate of rules that may or may not apply depending on how the courts rule. Again she plays on the emotion of *us poor black slave descendants*, get over the slave mentality and move on)

Chief Chad Smith on Scorched-Earth Policy Again

In 1770, 5,000 American militiamen rode through the Cherokee Nation burning villages and crops to the ground driving thousands of Cherokees, young, old and infirm, into the mountains. Today, Congresswoman Diane Watson attempts to repeat history with another scorched-earth policy aimed at hurting the most vulnerable Cherokee Indians: the young, old and infirm.

Congresswoman Watson's blog entry ("Jim Crow in Indian Country," October 25, 2007) misled readers about the Cherokee Nation's March vote to limit citizenship in the tribe to those with Indian ancestry on the federal base rolls of our people.

For the rest of Watson's misleading comments set straight:

Black Slaves found safe haven with Cherokees

WEB Commentary
Contributor Author: Mike Graham, Cherokee Nation member and Native American Army Vet
Bio: Mike Graham Date: May 19, 2008

CBC Demands U.S. Government Commit Another Wounded Knee Against Indians

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has joined with Watson and CBC members stating no federal funding going to any Indian Nation will come out of his house committee without wording blocking Cherokee funding. Oklahoma U.S. Representative Tom Cole calls Barney Frank's statements "legislative blackmail" by threatening to keep an Indian housing bill from a final vote.

Congresswoman Watson of California, (a member of the Congressional Black Caucus that excludes non Black U.S. House members), also supported with tax payers dollars is crying foul play "Civil right's violation" over the Cherokee Nation citizenship vote last March, 2007 to require Cherokee Blood quantum proof to the nations roll books before anyone regardless of race can become a citizen of their Indian nation.

Watson and CBC caucus members are claiming the Cherokees are violating the civil rights of those going by the name of "Freedmen" in saying an 1866 U.S. treaty gave them citizenship whether they had Cherokee heritage or not.

Watson and the CBC has spent the past year enacting new bills and demanding fellow House and Senate members block federal funding going to the Cherokee Nation; to include blocking funds to all Indian nations until the Cherokees reinstate the non-Indian heritage Freedmen as citizens of their Indian Nation.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has joined with Watson and CBC members stating no federal funding going to any Indian Nation will come out of his house committee without wording blocking Cherokee funding. Oklahoma U.S. Representative Tom Cole calls Barney Frank's statements "legislative blackmail" by threatening to keep an Indian housing bill from a final vote.

Former U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell stated "Despite my years in politics, I'm still surprised by Congresses inability to learn from past mistakes and tendency to interfere where it should not." The National Congress Of American Indians representing over 350 Indian Nations support the Cherokees citizenship vote and the nations rights under tribal nation sovereignty without reckless federal interferences. Harmful ramifications on both sides do not warrant federal intrust in subverting the will of Native Americans sovereign rights.

CBC and U.S. House members are fully aware that the federal government today is still enforcing its citizenship termination of Uinta Band Indians of Utah with less than 50 percent Ute Indian heritage. The CBC has seen fit to remain silent on this "federal" Indian termination issue. The Ute's Uinta Band of Indians issue goes to the heart of federal hypocrisy in dealing with Native American issues like the Cherokee Nation's citizenship requirements of Indian heritage.

CBC members have launched a massive "Defaming media campaign blitz," against the Cherokees historical history. In reviewing their press reports one would think Cherokees invented slavery. Slavery was world wide and was coming to an end world wide in the 1800's. While Watson and the CBC rails against the citizens of the Cherokee Nation, it should be noted that In "American Heritage of Feb/Mar 1993, vol 441, under the title, 'Selling Poor Steven', beginning on page 90; the official U.S. Census of 1830 is cited, which shows that there were 3,775 free blacks who owned 12,740 black slaves".

Just over one percent of Cherokees practice slavery, 296 out of a population of 22,000 to be exact. Most of this group were of White mixed blood Cherokees who owned land and were in business for profit for themselves under U.S. laws.

Citizens of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma have every right to vote who can or cannot be a citizen of their Indian nation; no other government has any right to dictate to Indian nations their citizenship laws or requirements to include treaties between governments, nor should the federal government involve itself in an Indian nation internal issue conducted under its sovereignty rights of self rule.

This issue is not about "Red against Black" or who was done more wrong under U.S. laws and its flag. It's about the holocaust the federal government committed against the Cherokee sovereign people in taking their vast amounts of land by force and doing so against it's own U.S. law. The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma government never owned "slaves nor had laws enacting slavery" nor supported it. The Cherokees as a nation denounced human slavery before the U.S. Government during the U.S. Civil War.

The Cherokee Nation citizenship issue is all about the fact that the federal government broke every treaty it made with the Cherokee people. This issue further covers the fact that the federal government completely abandoned it's 1866 treaty obligations to include federally terminating the Cherokee nation government, decades after it's Civil War had ended. This federal act left Cherokees to live a life of destitute poverty, and again taking an unknown number of Cherokees lives all because the federal government wanted to bring about another state under the name of Oklahoma while racially excluding Indians. Native Americans call it, U.S. Manifest destiny Holocaust.

From the days of first contact between Cherokees and Whites until today, the Freedmen issue only rates a footnote in the vast amount of historical events, issues and injustice inflicted on the Cherokee people. This one citizenship issue of the Cherokee Nation today, does not rate the federal government again enacting its slash, burn, and destroy policies against Native Americans.!

Shannon Prince, who claims Cherokee heritage and a Junior at Dartmouth College reported in Indian Country Today that "As Cherokee people, we have to decide the right way to handle history, the honorable way to exercise sovereignty, and the correct way to bring forth justice and healing."

In her reference to the Cherokee citizenship vote requirements, I would hope Shannon Prince would go to the college library and educate herself about who, what and how slavery was set up in America by the federal government and just who participated in human slavery under U.S. laws. She would learn that Indians were the first people forced into slavery in America and throughout the Americas and that Blacks owned Indian slaves as well.

For Shannon Prince to compare the inhuman, injustice acts of the Trail Of Tears committed against the Cherokee people in that Cherokees today are essentially committing the same equivalence of injustice against so called Freedmen is socially and historically wrong to include, just hog wash. What makes an Indian Nation unique unto itself from other Indian Nations is their tribal blood heritage. No U.S. treaty can make someone Indian, or a citizen of an Indian nation, nor should it try to, nor did the 1866 U.S. treaty grant citizenship to Freedmen. It only states, equal rights and protection as to all Cherokees, that wording would cover a Japanese tourist on Indian land, but would not make them a citizen of any Indian nation!

In Shannon Prince's report, she failed to state that Indians are more noted historically for giving runaway Black slaves safe haven from slave owners and turned down bounties offered for their return. Slavery never was seen as or used as an economic commodity of a tribal nations well being. During the U.S. forced removal of Cherokees, no black person was made to go, nor as a slave. During the Indian forced removal slavery was still legal under U.S. laws, the federal government nor its army would allow for runaway slaves to leave the area without being returned to their slave owners. Whites and Blacks that did have Indian heritage living with an Indian family made the Trail Of Tears journey.

American Indians dealt with all that was forced on them by invading forces beyond their control. They were stripped of their land, religion, heritage, language and their tribal governments. The U.S. Government rode from the East coast to the West coast including Buffalo soldiers committing its Holocaust against Indian men, women and children. Now, people like Shannon Prince want people to believe Indians are the racist; inflicting pain and hurt on others unjustly and violating their civil rights over an abandoned 1866 U.S. Treaty; all because Cherokees voted to reinstate their fair and just citizenship laws under its tribal nations sovereignty rights regardless of one's race associated to Cherokee Indian heritage.

Mike Graham Founder, United Native America
Notes: Historical information relating to this issue:
Mixed-Blood Uintas of Utah web site: Their termination history & federal court case.
http://www.undeclaredutes.net/
Anti Indian Jim Crow Laws
http://www.unitednativeamerica.com/bureau/bwa_6.html

Read other commentaries by Mike Graham.
Visit Mike Graham's website at http://www.unitednativeamerica.com/

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Obama and H.R. 2824

Obama Upholds Rights of Cherokees, All Native American Tribes (well not yet, he's just put some rain on the CBC's party - this helped to stop the bleeding of funds from the Cherokee but by no means has resolved the issue.)

By First Americans Advocate, 5/16/2008 6:21:57 AM

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?0d444060-ef5f-4700-a695-3f0d10d116f8

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has stated his opposition to H.R. 2824, an attempt by his fellow Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA) to sever government-to-government relations with the Cherokee Nation of (it's *in*, CN has nothing to do with Oklahoma except it resides inside it's boarders) Oklahoma because of an on-going dispute between the tribe and the "Cherokee Freedmen (non Cherokees)."

In a March 13, 2008 Letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, members of the Congressional Black Caucus stated that "members of the CBC will not support, and will actively oppose passage of NAHASDA" unless the bill contains a "provision that would prevent the Cherokee Nation of (in) Oklahoma from receiving any benefits or funding" until they extended tribal membership to the Freedmen. The letter contained the signatures of 35 CBC members, but not the signature of White House hopeful Senator Barack Obama.

Still, the Native American community began raising questions about an Obama Presidency that could potentially support CBC efforts to undermine the rights of tribal governments to determine their own membership. Asked to clearly state his position on H.R. 2824, Obama's campaign issued the following statement:

"Tribal sovereignty must mean that the place to resolve intertribal disputes is the tribe itself," Obama said. "Our nation has learned with tragic results that federal intervention in internal matters of Indian tribes is rarely productive - failed policies such as Allotment and Termination grew out of efforts to second-guess Native communities. That is not a legacy we want to continue."

With respect to the Cherokee Freedman issue, Senator Obama said that while he is opposed to unwarranted (these aren't really disenrollments, since they've never been Cherokee) tribal disenrollment, congressional interference was not warranted at this point (or any point in this case). "Discrimination anywhere is intolerable (including the Congressional Black Caucus which is a Blacks only Congressional group, they need to clean their own house before they start *forcing* others to do things), but the Cherokee are dealing with this issue in both tribal and federal courts.

As it stands, the rights of the Cherokee Freedmen are not being abrogated because there is an injunction (which the Cherokees agreed to) in place that ensures the Freedman's rights to programs during the pendency of the litigation. I do not support efforts to undermine these legal processes and impose a congressional solution. Tribes have a right to be self governing and we need to respect that, even if we disagree, which I do in this case. We must have restraint in asserting federal power in such circumstances." (He disagrees with having an all Cherokee Tribe but belongs to an all, Blacks only Congressional Caucus - that is hypocritical)

Regarding Sen. Obama also reiterated his support for fulfilling the government's treaty obligations to tribes. "The Cherokee Freedmen issue highlights the larger issue of the unfulfilled treaty promises made by the federal government to tribes."

It is these promises that the Senator is most concerned with as the future president. Sen. Obama understands that the federal government owes a legal and moral obligation to tribes to provide health care, education and other essential services to tribes. "This is not a handout, but compensation for millions of acres of land relinquished by tribes," he said. (no, no, this is a trust responsibility think, Trust here, US is the Trustee and the Tribes are the Beneficiaries - all this forced upon the tribes over a 150 years ago, and the US has been a most neglectful Trustee - this is not a land compensation issue - Indians never lived on reservations until the US came along and rounded them up and put them on specific areas of land - and in the case of some tribes, their people were not allowed to leave the reservation, you couldn't just drive to town for groceries, they were completely dependent upon the US for everything including food, which in some cases came to them spoiled)

Those are the words of Senator Barack Obama, but what about his actions? Native Americans still concerned about an Obama presidency should research the websites of Clinton, Obama, and McCain for an indication of each candidate's interest in their community. Clinton and McCain websites have no specific links or information for Native American peoples or issues, while Senator Obama's campaign has a main page link directly to his website for "First Americans," at http://www.tribes.barackobama.com/.

Further, a look at all three candidates' campaign teams reveal that Senator Obama has a Native American Community Outreach Coordinator and a 30-member Tribal Steering Committee. If Clinton and McCain have a Native American presence on their campaign teams, it is well hidden. (don't applaud just yet, this could mean more government intervention into tribal affairs, not less)

Sen. Obama's opposition to Diane Watson's legislation will undoubtedly be met with unrest by those of his fellow members of the CBC that side with the Cherokee Freedmen, but Obama appears to be no stranger to the CBC's disaffections.

Last year, online political publication TheHill.com reported on the CBC's anger with Obama about rejecting an invitation to debate on Fox News, and added that "Obama has irked fellow CBC members by failing to respond to a request made early last year that he host a fundraiser for the Black Caucus's political action committee (PAC). [Senator Hillary] Clinton received a similar invitation and quickly followed through by headlining a CBC PAC fundraiser in March of 2006." (this could be the result of Obama, not coming from the American Black Slave background)

Perhaps this is why the CBC recruited Hillary Clinton and not Barack Obama to be the Guest Speaker at their 37th Annual Legislative Conference, prompting the Washington Times to speculate that the CBC was quietly trying to endorse her bid for the presidency.

Hopefully to the Native American community it is obvious that Obama and the CBC do not have mutual and unequivocal support for one another. He clearly opposes H.R.2824 that was introduced by Diane Watson, who -incidentally- endorsed his rival Senator Hillary Clinton and now serves as an advisor to the Clinton campaign. (this is for election purposes - but what will happen IF he is elected?) (not to mention Diane Watson is a Rep. from California with no other ties in Oklahoma - in most cases a Rep won't even talk to you unless you're a constituent from their district or area - so how come this very public interest of a California Rep and an Oklahoma issue and constituents?)

(This position does not appear on his Tribal website mentioned above)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Learn more on this issue from these Cherokee Nation websites








Facts on Citizenship

The United States government through its courts has held time and again that Indian tribes have the right to determine their own citizenship. Today Cherokee Nation’s citizenry is bound together by having in common at least one documented Indian ancestor, regardless of what other heritage they may have. Cherokee Nation citizenship is based upon family ties, not color.

http://www.cherokeenationfacts.org/

The Cherokee Nation is the second largest Indian tribe in the United States, the largest in Oklahoma. As a federally recognized Indian tribe, the Cherokee Nation has the sovereign right to self-determination: to determine citizenship, and to exercise control and development over tribal assets. These rights are guaranteed in existing Cherokee, federal and international law. The Cherokee Nation employs more than 6,500 and is a leader in education, health care, vocational training, business and economic development.

http://www.meetthecherokee.org/





It is a sovereign challenge

Smith claims that robbing the freedmen of their citizenship is a sovereign act, but Indian removal was also a sovereign act. Sovereign acts and moral acts are two very different things. Smith claims that the Congressional Black Caucus is challenging the Cherokee Nation's sovereignty. Actually, what the CBC is doing is showing that sovereignty has consequences, and that when nations make refugees of their people by revoking their citizenship, they risk facing economic sanctions. Backlash against a nation's sovereign decision is not denial of that nation's sovereignty. Being sovereign means you can make decisions freely - it doesn't mean others have to agree with those decisions.

for the rest of the story:
http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096417307

(What she fails to understand is: we live and are ruled ultimately by the US Congress - but we have a small group, the Congressional Black Caucus, who is a group within Congress that will allow no other members to join unless they are Black, so that's moral? Does not the US and Congress have some sovereign consequences as well...and again, they always refer back to that one article in the 1866 Treaty without claiming subsequent Congressional Acts, or the fact that this is the only provision they want to enforce in this treaty...cutting off funding to the Cherokee people to *force them* to do something is moral? This sword cuts both ways, whether the CBC likes it or not, Congress made the rules, let them live by them. Times change, folks change, get over it and let the Cherokee Nation govern their own.

Stacy Leeds quit the Cherokee Supreme Court to run for Principal Chief, that left a vacancy on the court which the Chief then filled - the Cherokee Courts have never been dissolved or unavailable for internal Cherokee disputes)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More nonsense

Sen. Barack Obama and the Cherokee Freedmen: Politics as usual

By Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.)

Posted: 05/13/08 05:29 PM [ET]

http://thehill.com/op-eds/sen.-barack-obama-and-the-cherokee-freedmen-politics-as-usual-2008-05-13.html

On the same day that African American voters went to the polls to cast their ballots in North Carolina and Indiana, descendants of the former slaves of the Cherokee Nation (known as Freedmen) fought in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to enforce their treaty rights guaranteeing them equality and voting rights in the tribe. Attorneys representing the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma have filed to have the case dismissed on the grounds that only Congress can enforce the treaty because the Cherokees have sovereign immunity. (no the Cherokee Nation said, it should not be a party to the action the Freedmen have filed against the department of the Interior and the BIA - you see Congress already set these rules up, but the Freedmen just don't like them.) Yet the Cherokee Nation on that same day held a conference in the U.S. Capitol on why the Freedmen matter should be left to the courts. (yep, you see there were subsequent actions taken by Congress that changed the 1866 Treaty, which Congress has the right to do. It is these subsequent actions by Congress that the Freedmen want to ignore - again their fight is with the US Indian Policy, not the Cherokee Nation - so what did the Federal Judge do, he added on his own, the Cherokee Nation as a defendant - it is the appeal of this action that was heard on May 6 of this year - we're waiting for the results)

Without a clear understanding of the issue (oh, looks like he has a better understanding than she thinks), Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has weighed in on the side of the Cherokees by publicly opposing my legislation (he's running for president, and looking for votes, smart move on his part), H.R. 2824, which suspends U.S. relations with the Cherokees until the rights of Freedmen are restored. Sen. Obama also takes exception to a recent Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in which the caucus declares its opposition to Native American housing legislation if it does not include a provision that would prevent the Cherokee Nation from receiving any benefits or funding under the bill if the Freedmen are expelled from the tribe.

Thirty-five CBC members signed the letter, including its chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.).

Sen. Obama’s argument mirrors the Cherokees’ justification for Freedmen termination (termination?, say what?, geesshh, tribes have the right to determine who is or is not a tribal member, so no Cherokee Ancestor, no Cherokee Citizenship, where is the problem with that? How do you terminate something they never were?). He declares that the Freedmen issue is a matter of tribal sovereignty and should be arbitrated in the courts and not Congress. But what Sen. Obama fails to understand is that the Freedmen issue is about treaty rights, not tribal sovereignty. What Sen. Obama probably has not been told is that the Cherokee Freedmen issue tracks the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma’s attempt in 2002 to terminate its Freedmen that was squashed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs when it halted all federal funding to the tribe and suspended the Seminoles’ federal gaming authority. (no not quite, Cherokee's have their own tribal courts - Obama is trying to save the CBC from looking like hypocrites - all black congressional club telling the Cherokee Tribe they can't be all Cherokee - not to mention the courts need to interpret that 1866 Treaty in light of the Five Tribes Act and the Curtis Act - Congress terminated the Freedman's rights in the early 1900s and most recently the Court of Claims has denied their claim as being way to late in time, their position was litigated in the early 1900s. Some of the Freedmen apparently aren't even on the Dawes Roll - get over it )

The Cherokee Nation, as many of the other slaveholding Indian tribes, fought on the side of Confederacy during the Civil War. In 1866, the U.S. and the Cherokee Nation signed a treaty to reestablish relations between the Cherokee Nation and the United States. The 1866 treaty forms the new foundation for Cherokee sovereignty that continues to this day. (you know what, that guilt by association again, right - the descendants of the Cherokees today don't have slaves, no slavery in the Cherokee Nation since what 1863 and as descendants we ought not have to pay til the crows come home for what we had no control over. Your fight is with the U.S. Indian Policy not the Cherokee Nation)

Article IX of the Treaty of 1866 states that Cherokee Freedmen shall have “all the rights” of Cherokees. The language in the treaty has been interpreted on more than one occasion by the courts as that “all rights” include the right of Freedmen citizenship. That same year, in 1866, the Cherokee Nation amended its constitution to give Freedmen full rights of citizenship, including land allotments. Federal courts have consistently determined that the treaty abrogated the Cherokees’ sovereign right to legalize slavery or determine the citizenship of its former slaves. (whoa, legalize slavery, say what? we've not had slavery in the Cherokee Nation since about 1863 - these folks aren't slaves - the Cherokees however, are slaves to Congress and are being unfairly vilified by the Freedmen in this case - vilified to the point that they are trying to cut funding to the Cherokee Nation before anyone understands exactly what the 1866 and subsequent Congressional Acts did - don't blame us - we have the right to change our Constitution just like California has that right - don't give us that *oh, poor slave stuff*, look around you in Congress, just exactly how many MEMBERS of Native American Tribes do you see - yeah, right, who's victimizing whom here. Oh, they just love to quote that 1866 Treaty without telling what happened afterwards - our Chief by the way is an Attorney - who better to understand all this, than a Cherokee Lawyer)

Despite a long history of legal precedent favoring the Freedmen, Chad Smith, the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, continues to hammer at the notion that Congress should defer to the courts on the Freedmen issue. It has become the rallying cry of his supporters and numerous well-paid lobbyists. He reminds us that the Cherokee Nation is a nation of laws and will abide by the decisions of the courts. Given Smith’s mantra that the Freedmen issue should be left to the courts, it is curious that Smith’s lawyers recently argued in U.S. District Court that Congress has rightful jurisdiction over the fate of the Freedmen. (You need to quite blaming our Chief, he put it up to a vote of the tribal Citizens - you think we're all a bunch of robots or something - geesshhh, we do have a few brains - and what Sen Watson doesn't know, is this issue has been around for about 60 to 70 years and the tribes have always caved without litigation to the blackmail of Congress - add the Freedmen as citizens or we'll cut the funding. Good grief lady, let's get it resolved. Sen. Watson has bought into the Freedmen story without looking at all sides and all the facts)

Whatever branch of government has ultimate authority, it is clear that the past actions of Smith belie his commitment to the rule of law. (and how do you figure that - everything he's done, has been above board and according to Cherokee law - you need to quite listening to the hate mongers - this is just a blatantly false statement) After the Cherokee Nation’s tribal courts ruled in favor of Lucy Allen, a Freedmen descendant who sued for citizenship, Smith chose to dissolve the Cherokee tribal court (say what? he added another level of review, a Cherokee Supreme Court) and pack the newly constituted court with his cronies, (so what, the president of the US doesn't do this as well? So what else is new - oh, give me a break, the wolf is hollering foul) who proceeded to approve a referendum to overturn Allen’s petition. The decision of Smith’s court laid the groundwork for the March 2007 vote to expel the Freedmen. (and doesn't congress pass legislation all the time to overturn Court decisions - get a grip - apparently the US asks the Cherokee Nation to do one thing and they themselves do another)

The Cherokee Nation lost its sovereign right to engage in slavery upon enactment of the 13th Amendment and to determine the citizenship of the descendants of its former slaves upon ratification of the Treaty of 1866. (What - I repeat, we haven't had slavery in the Cherokee Nation now for what well over 100 years) Over the past several decades, our nation has stood up for the rights of indigenous minorities (well, stand up for us now), as has the U.S. Congress through its Helsinki Commission as well as other congressional forums. Defending any government’s right to commit gross acts of discrimination (no, no, no, you see the Congressional Black Caucus is an all Black Congressional Club that won't allow any other races in, the Cherokee Nation is made up of Cherokee Citizens, those who have a Cherokee Ancestor on the Dawes Roll and they come in all sizes shapes and races, we even have Freedmen who are Cherokee Citizens because they have a Cherokee Ancestor on the Dawes - so this again is just blatantly untrue) under the guise of sovereign immunity is a non-starter. It is as unsupportable in South Africa, China, Zimbabwe and Bosnia as it is in the Cherokee Nation, arguably even more so in the Cherokee Nation since it is located within the continental U.S. and its sovereignty on the issue at hand has already been abrogated by Congress. (Wow, Watson must want all of Indian Country to go with McCain in Nov. - Look, Black doesn't trump our voting rights as Citizens of the Cherokee Nation and while we're on this subject, since the Cherokee Nation was here long before the Europeans, just how does she justify taking a sovereign nations sovereignty - she needs to understand we are a distinct peoples and the US doesn't have the right to run all over us, although you'd sure like to. The Freedman's fight is with the US Indian Policy NOT the Cherokee Nation)

African American voters should think about how they would feel if their citizenship rights were suddenly removed because they descended from slaves. This is precisely what the Cherokee Nation wants to do in violation of its own treaty obligations. It is morally repugnant and legally wrong. (do we tell Africans who they have to allow to vote? and Indian voters need to remember what the European have done to us - for the Five Tribes, moved us all from the East to OK, then took our land - other tribes were rounded up and put on reservations (which is a white man's word by the way) and wouldn't allow us off of them - that's right, once they were on the reservations they weren't allowed to leave - not to mention 200 years of discrimination by the US - oh, don't get me started - I got no pity here - let us run our own tribe, we don't need guardianship anymore - what we need is protection from all these self ID Indians that are running amuk)

Watson is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform, and Foreign Affairs, committees.