Opinion: Disinformation on Cherokee Freedmen
"In June 2007, legislation was introduced in Congress that would undermine the collective human rights of an Indian nation, by allowing Congress to determine citizenship in an Indian nation.

California Rep. Diane Watson framed her legislation, House Bill 2824, as ''the treaty rights'' to citizenship of ''black freedmen'' vs. the sovereign right of the historically racist Cherokee Nation ''to expel their black citizens.''

Watson has portrayed her cause as ''the most significant civil rights movement of this century.'' She claimed the Cherokees ''equaled if not surpassed the most vitriolic attacks against African Americans in the once segregated South.'' Considering the condemnable history of slavery and the harm the legislation could cause Indian nations, her statements appear extreme and uninformed.

Regrettably, the press supported her claims - discrimination by lawless Indians against oppressed blacks. Good people, including respected members of Congress and national civil rights organizations, believed the story.

An intensive investigation to determine the facts has revealed that Watson re-wrote huge portions of Cherokee history to make her damaging claims. ''The past actions of the Cherokee Nation belie its commitment to the rule of law,'' she told Congress.

The investigation suggests a campaign of disinformation. Misinformation may result from carelessness, and may benefit either side. Disinformation is created. It uses errors and omissions to obscure truth and to influence public opinion."

Get the Story:
Suzanne Jasper: Disinformation campaign undermines Cherokee rights (Indian Country Today 11/30)

Cherokee-Related Legislation:
H.R.2786 | H.R.2895 | H.R.2824 | H.R.3002

BIA Letters:
August 9, 2007 | July 11, 2007 | June 22, 2007 | May 21, 2007 | March 28, 2007 | August 30, 2006

Sovereign Immunity Court Decision:
Vann v. Kempthorne (December 19, 2006)

Cherokee Nation Judicial Appeals Tribunal Decision in Freedmen Case:
Allen v. Cherokee Nation (March 7, 2006)

Relevant Links:
Cherokee Nation - http://www.cherokee.org
Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes - http://www.freedmen5tribes.com
Freedmen Conference - http://www.freedmenconference.com

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