I have been reading about the Cherokee Freedmen Controversy with increasing interest (and sadness) and finally have to say something.
|When will color stop being an issue?|
Historically, some members of the Cherokee Nation had African American slaves. At first their slaves were more like indentured servants who were either freed after a certain time or adopted into the Cherokee Nation. Sadly, exposure to U.S. settlers changed their views and the slaves became chattel.
Did those African Americans have a choice? No.
Did they have a choice when told to relocate to Oklahoma via the Trail of Tears? No.
About the only choice they seem to have been given was whether or not they wanted to be members of the Cherokee Nation after the Emancipation Proclamation, the end of the Civil War and the signing of the Treaty of 1866:
"All native born Cherokees, all Indians, and whites legally members of the Nation by adoption, and all freedmen who have been liberated by voluntary act of their former owners or by law, as well as free colored persons who were in the country at the commencement of the rebellion, and are now residents therein, or who may return within six months from the 19th day of July, 1866, and their descendants, who reside within the limits of the Cherokee Nation, shall be taken and deemed to be, citizens of the Cherokee Nation."
So now, 145 years later, the Cherokee Nation wants to remove the Freedmen who have no Cherokee blood.
Who cares if their ancestors were essentially adopted into the Nation. How would you like it if your adopted family said you were no longer part of the family and kicked you out?
Sadly, the Cherokee Nation seems to have learned only one thing about treaties in the past 200 years: they are meant to be broken.
I'm not saying anyone should be able to become Cherokee just by wanting to sign up. You need either a blood tie or be the descendant of one of the Cherokee slaves.
Basically, I think this article sums it up. The rights of the Freedmen have been stripped just before the Sept. 24 special election because Chief Chad Smith apposes their membership while incumbent Bill John Baker supports them.