I have bumped this to the top, as it's still pertinent
From RACHEL's TAVERN: http://www.rachelstavern.com/?p=581
Seven Reasons Why You Should Care About the Cherokee Tribal Elections
Filed Under Black/African American Issues, Original Essays and Analysis, Politics, Race and Racism by The Local Crank
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from The Local Crank. He is a Cherokee, a lawyer, and a Stacy Leeds supporter. You can usually catch him at his site.
1) Judge Stacy Leeds is a progressive candidate with a plan to diversify the tribal economy (ending its current dependence on Federal hand-outs and casino revenues), and to better serve the 260,000 Cherokee by forming a tribal credit union and an insurance company, pro-active uses of tribal sovereignty. She wrote the opinion the re-affirmed the Freedmen’s status as Cherokee citizens and wrote the dissent criticizing the petition drive to kick them out.
2) That petition drive was riddled with fraud, “painfully obvious” forgeries and a “conscious and deliberate…disregard for following the law.” Not to mention some of the truly ugly racist attacks that were launched against the Freedmen in the ensuing election.
3) The Tribal Council took just 35 seconds to add another Constitutional Amendment to the June 23rd election in an attempt to keep the Freedmen out, even though all absentee ballots have already been sent out and some have already been returned.
4) Chad Smith accepted a $1,500 donation from Jack Abramoff (in violation of tribal election law). Later, Cherokee Nation Enterprises paid Abramoff $120,000.
5) Chad Smith, a Republican, is nevertheless financially supported by prominent white Democratic politicians, including Governor Brad Henry and Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins (though they both ran for cover when Oklahoma’s black leadership was suitably appalled). If Chad Smith is receiving financial support from outside the tribe, then failing to support Stacy Leeds is the moral equivalent of standing by and watching someone get mugged.
6) The Freedmen are getting screwed. They are being kicked out of the tribe for not having “Indian blood,” yet many can prove they do; they are simply being denied the right to do so through a legal Catch-22 based on 19th Century racist notions that “one drop” of “negro blood” made you a “negro.”
7) If a federal judge or the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs)delays or (worse yet) voids the June 23rd election, thereby establishing the precedent that the Federal government will intervene in tribal enrollment disputes, it will be a devastating blow to the sovereignty of all tribes, a sovereignty which is already under nearly constant assault.