Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The descendants of Indian Territory Freedmen, the former slaves of the Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole Indians have an enormous task in preserving the known and unknown burial sites of their ancestors. What I'm puzzled by is the eargerness these descendants have for asserting their rights as citizens in these nations but show no such energy when it comes to preserving these sacred sites.
When you couple the fact that none of the five slave holding tribes have a program to help preserve these sacred sites with the clear possibility that there are "Indians" interred in these "burial grounds" is perplexing!
If their sole aim is to become citizens of these five tribes based on their rights obtained through adoption and treaty, why is there no program organized to preserve this history?
If the tribes one day have an attack of honesty and somehow realize their history is part of the "Freedmen" history will they establish a program to clean up and preserve these sites?
If the tribes never adopt the descendants of their former slaves as citizens in accordance with the Fort Smith Treaty of 1866 following the Civil War, will the freedmen descendants totally abandon the gravesites of their ancestors?
We need to address these issues now and begin to establish what is important.