Letter: Cherokee Nation risks sovereign rights
"The Cherokee people in Oklahoma know that Chief Smith and his administration called for and pushed the Freedmen legislation through our tribe. Smith, along with his paid “Team Cherokee” slate, carried petitions and organized rallies against the Freedmen, throughout the 14 counties. What did not happen was an informed presentation of both sides of the issues and any discussion of consequences was ignored.

Sovereignty is based on retained rights. By signing the Treaty of 1866, we treated away the right to exclude the Freedmen. The consequences of such an action has already been litigated twice in the Seminole I and II cases. The Seminole went unrecognized for three years and they are still hurting from the federal cost.

The people’s voice is of the utmost importance in any democracy, but what leadership ignores standing law and puts their people’s jobs and livelihoods at risk? There are legal ways to accomplish the same goals: passing a bill through Congress first, like the Osage, or passing a blanket blood quantum similar to the Eastern Band of Cherokees, at 1/16th by blood.

Cherokee cultural preservation is no answer to exclude the Freedmen and only raises more questions. Why would Smith’s administration allow adopted whites for eight years? Why terminate the Delaware and make them Cherokee? We have culturally accepted many people into our tribe, based on the tenets of God’s law, which is inclusive of all his creation. We must stay on God’s white path."

Get the Story:
Sean Nordwall: Tribe's actions risky (The Tahlequah Daily Press 6/20)

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)

Related Stories:
Obama meets Congressional Black Caucus (6/20)
Letter: Rep. Watson wrong on Cherokee Freedmen (6/13)
Sen. Obama claims Democratic nomination (6/4)
Rep. Watson: Obama wrong on Cherokee Freedmen (5/14)
Cherokee chief praises Obama as 'good president' (5/12)
Obama wants courts to resolve Freedmen dispute (5/9)

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