Friday, June 13, 2008

Cherokee Freedmen: Historical Facts Clarify Citizenship Issue

Study of historical facts clarifies Freedmen citizenship issue
By Dr. Dan Littlefield
Director of Sequoyah Research Center

The controversy over Freedmen citizenship in the Cherokee Nation has led to misunderstanding & misstatement of historical facts. These misrepresentations come from various sources: citizens who are simply unlearned in Cherokee history, politicians who tend to rewrite Cherokee history to serve their own purposes and out-and-out racists.

No matter who causes the misunderstanding or makes misstatements, all promote a distortion of the historical facts, which must be clarified ifCherokee citizens are to make informed decisions. It is time for them not only to face the facts, but honestly to re-evaluate their positions in light of them. Because so much attention focuses on the work of the Dawes Commission and the Dawes rolls, they should consider the background for making Cherokee rolls and what the Dawes Commission did.

The argument that the Freedmen never had full citizenship rights in theCN prior to the Dawes period is spurious. In 1866, for the first time, theFreedmen gained the first citizenship they had ever held. It was the only citizenship they would have until 1901, when the United States made all of the citizens of the CN citizens of the United States as well. The Freedmen's rights in the Cherokee Nation were guaranteed by the Treaty of 1866, which the CN signed and carried out. It did so admirably, considering the racial climate in the adjoining states at the time.

Read more HERE

Our Ancestor, Paulina Hunter, an Original Pechanga Temecula person is also featured with a picture in Rose's newsletter.


wiaasal said...

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: wicahcala
Date: Jun 13, 2008 10:53 AM

BIA action on freedmen to await court's ruling

By JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Last Modified: 6/13/2008 3:14 AM

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Indian Affairs will not take further action on the long-running controversy over the Cherokee Nation and the descendants of former slaves until a pending court case is resolved, it was learned Thursday.

"The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has before it a case that will help determine the status and the rights of the Freedmen'' descendants, states a May 22 letter from Carl Artman, then the BIA's director. "The Department will await the final outcome of this case prior to taking any further action with regards to the Freedmen" descendants.

Artman's letter was to Democratic U.S. Reps. Diane Watson of California, Mel Watt of North Carolina, Barney Frank of Massachusetts and John Conyers of Michigan. Those four lawmakers met with Artman in March to have him clarify the BIA's position on the status of the freedmen descendants.

Artman has since resigned.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith on Thursday welcomed Artman's letter.

"Since the Cherokee Nation has fully complied with the Treaty of 1866, it's the right thing to do," he said.

Smith believes that Artman's letter is consistent with the historic practice of the BIA of acknowledging the Cherokee Nation's right to require that citizens have an Indian ancestor on the Dawes Rolls of the Cherokee Nation, a federal census that concluded in 1906.

"We hope Congress follows the BIA's example of waiting for the courts to decide before taking premature punitive action against the Cherokee Nation that will cut nearly $300 million in federal funding for elderly, young, infirm and low-income Indians," Smith said.

Watson, the most vocal congressional critic of the Cherokee Nation, said she was not surprised by Artman's response.

"From the beginning the strategy of the bureau has been consumed by inaction, despite the fact that Mr. Artman has said that the Cherokee Nation will violate the 1866 Treaty if it expels the freedmen'' descendants, she said.

"The failure of the bureau to act demonstrates the need for additional congressional action and oversight."

A group of freedmen descendants filed a federal lawsuit challenging a March 2007 vote by Cherokee Nation members to remove freedmen descendants from tribal rolls.

Anonymous said...

Coleen Williams has our back!
She is willing to help!\
She knows the truth & is not scared of Pechanga or the Cherrokees!!!