Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cherokee Freedmen's Federal Case Dismissed; U.S. Government SHOULD withhold funds

Does the U.S. Government support treaty violations by the Cherokee? Did we support apartheid? Well, we know the BIA/Department of Interior gives blanket support via their inaction to the apartheid practiced at Pechanga and Redding, but is that honorable?

Filed in 2003 by a group of freedmen descendants against the Cherokee Nation, then-Principal Chief Chad Smith and then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, one lawsuit claimed that the tribe violated the Treaty of 1866 and the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by stripping the freedmen descendants - the descendants of former slaves of the Cherokee - of their tribal citizenship.

The lawsuit came after the freedmen descendants were not allowed to vote in the tribe's 2003 election.

Among the suit's requests were that the court prohibit the federal government from recognizing any Cherokee election, distributing any federal funding to the tribe or recognizing its government-to-government relationship with the tribe until the descendants' citizenship is restored.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy wrote that the tribe never waived its sovereignty in the lawsuit, leaving him no option but to dismiss it because sovereign nations cannot be sued without their consent.
"The suit cannot proceed without the Cherokee Nation, and the Cherokee Nation did not waive its sovereign immunity such that it can be joined as a party to this suit," Kennedy wrote.

Jon Velie, the freedmen descendants' attorney in the federal court proceedings, said in an email Friday night that the decision to dismiss one of the lawsuits does not change the status of the 2,800 freedmen descendants whose citizenship was restored on Sept. 21. They can still vote in the special election

The agreement, he wrote, will remain in place while the other lawsuit is pending.

Read the Rest of the TULSA WORLD story


Anonymous said...

ALL that ,and we knew a tribe can't be sued?

Anonymous said...

The BIA should withhold funds from tribes like the Cherokee and any in California that have practiced injustice against their people.

While sovereignty may rule, that doesn't mean the BIA should support the actions.