Sunday, December 18, 2011

This Week in Indian Territory December 18-24

“How much Negro wealth went into the building of Oklahoma?
It is only exceeded by the sweat, toil, and tears of … slaves’ free labor of more than 250 years!”
Buck Franklin COLBERT, “My Life and an Era”

Indian Chieftain December 22, 1898
December 19, 1902
 Vinita: Relative to the first decision in freedmen cases in which the Cherokee Nation scores by the decision of the Dawes Commission, rejecting the applications of Henry C. Hayden, George B. Buckner et al, Ella Huddleston and Andy Rider for enrollment as freedmen citizens of the Cherokee Nation which was affirmed by the Secretary of the Interior.

December 24, 1902
 Ardmore, I. T.: Attorney General Knox has filed in the court of claims at Washington a bill of interpleader against the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations and the Chickasaw freedmen, to determine the rights of 60,000 Chickasaw freedmen.

December 21, 1912
 The right of 7,000 Cherokee Freedmen to participate in the distribution of the lands and funds belonging to the Cherokee Indian nation was sustained today by Judge Anderson of the District of Columbia Supreme Court. The freedmen are the descendants of slaves of the Cherokees and are mixed Indian and Negro blood.

It continues to amaze me just how wrong the Cherokee Nation is in 2011; there is and always will be substantial evidence to the legal status of the Cherokee Freedmen descendants and their legitimate claims of citizenship.

The Indian Chieftain in this editorial was quite clear on their interpretation of the Treaty of 1866;

 "for some years past both the United States and the Cherokee Nation have been struggling with the census of the colored people in the Cherokee nation who were adopted by the treaty of 1866."

This statement makes if clear the freedmen not as "colorfully" as it was stated in the article had been adopted into the nation based on a treaty! For any chief, or Cherokee nation or court to offer any explanation other than that would be ignoring the facts.

Indian Chieftain December 23, 1897 
The article goes on to cement the status of the freedmen and their descendants in more clear language that can only be understood that the Cherokee descendants today are entitled to the same citizenship their ancestor's enjoyed based on the Treaty of 1866.

"the only question that remains to be settle is the number of them who are entitled to citizenship under the treaty."

All of the money and angst over the past ten years could have been spent embracing people who share a history and in some cases blood of the Cherokee Nation. It is the small minded people who continue to use "race" and "blood quantum" as the measurement of citizenship in the Cherokee Nation as well as the other members who comprise the "Five Slave Holding Tribes."

At some point reasonable people will have to sit down and discuss their history together and come up with ways to repair a broken house.

The evidence is overwhelmingly in support of citizenship for the Cherokee freedmen and their descendants. My question is where are the Cherokee citizens who are speaking up for what is right? 

Where are the voices of reason within the "Five Slave Holding Tribes" who understand this history will not go away nor will the descendants of the people held in bondage by those nations?

When will the Five Slave Holding Tribes do for the freedmen what they ask the United States to do for them?

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