Opinion: The history of the Cherokee Freedmen

"The Cherokee Freedmen are the descendants of African slaves who played an integral role in the Cherokee Culture during the 1700's and 1800's. Many of the Cherokee Freedmen Descendants of today are Cherokee by blood, many with actually more than the Thin bloods White Cherokee that are trying to eliminate them from the Membership of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (CNO).

However, the Freedmen were listed on the Dawes Commission Rolls during the enumeration of the Cherokee Nation by the Dawes Commission by an Act of Congress in 1893 and ending and the final Roll Closed by the U.S. Congress in 1906, in a Section called the Freedmen Roll that did not classify them as Cherokee by Blood, BUT, simply because their features displayed characteristics of African traits, i.e. black skin and nappy hair...it must be noted they were NOT classed any less Cherokee than any of the other enthnicities or classes of Cherokee on the other sections of the Rolls, which has led to modern controversies, or it should be said the outright lie and fabrication of misinformation by Chad Smith and cohorts, as to whether or not the Freedmen can claim they are Cherokee.

However, near the end of the civil war in 1863 the National council of the Cherokee knew what loosing the war on the side of the southern States would mean, and many of the slaves were actually Cherokee family members, and to protect them as family, the Cherokee Nation freed their slaves by an emancipation act and under the reconstruction Treaty of 1866 and by amendment to the 1839 Constitution in the same year of 1866 See "Article III, Section 5", made them Citizen of the Nation by these two acts of law, irregardless of blood. And the Cherokee Freedmen were classified by the United States as Indians, and lived along side their bretheren as Cherokee through the good an bad times into the the early years of Oklahoma Statehood...In 1880 the Cherokee decided there needed to be an enumeration of the people to show who was a Citizen, and how they were classified, a fact that Chad Smith attempts to negate with lies an mis-information, the black Cherokee at the time of this census that were blood family members were simply listed as Cherokee, and the Black freed slaves that the 1866 Treaty had made citizens were classed as ADOPTED NEGRO or COLORED, absolutely none the less Cherokee, than the other adopted Tribal members and White People."

Get the Story:
John Cornsilk: History of the Cherokee Freedmen (The American Chronicle 4/23)

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:
Rep. Frank backs Freedmen in Cherokee funding fight (4/22)
Freedmen issue weighs heavy on Capitol Hill (4/14)
Tim Giago: CBC goes after Cherokee Nation (4/14)
Cherokee tribes denounce Freedmen legislation (4/10)
Cherokee chief to address Freedmen at conference (4/7)
Black lawmakers press Senate on Freedmen (4/4)
Cherokee Freedmen dispute up for hearing (3/27)
Opinion: Being Cherokee more than the blood (3/26)
Lawmakers press Artman on Freedmen issues (3/19)
Freedmen protest outside of Rep. Boren's office (3/3)
Black lawmakers to meet with Artman over Freedmen (1/23)