The Cherokee Freedmen Issue at a Glance

Marty Two Bulls

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Comments's picture
The trail of tears has been a long one and continues into the present day. Blood quantum is a perniciously racist theory that lacks cultural or historical standing prior to the 1887 Dawes Act. But the intrusion and influence of the old-South into both the culture and complexion of native America and the monetary seductions of tribal gaming with its exclusionary incentives are becoming ever more evident. "All blood is red."
hesutu's picture
"You must be born a native american to be one." It's unclear to me if the point is for or against this concept. I am told by many whites that they are native americans since they were born in america and native means born. So this would seem to be a tautology? Perhaps though the intent is to say one must be born a citizen of an indigenous american nation (indian) in order to be a citizen of an indigenous american nation (indian). To say this another way, that unlike the recognized rights of all other nations on earth, indian nations should uniquely, and contrary to our traditions, culture and historical practices, not be allowed no naturalize citizens through practices of adoption, marriage or citizenship naturalization. This is the position of the US government: that we should not be permitted to do the same as the rest of the nations of the world, and that only a racist blood quantum arguments (comparable to those used in philosophies such as Aryan Brotherhood and the like) should be permitted, even though those ideas have nothing to do with traditional indian ways of citizenship and nationality. I can't imagine what the point would be though of wanting to continue these systems and attacks on the right of all sovereign nations to determine who their citizens are and how that will be determined. Citizenship by birth only is not a traditional concept. Naturalization through marriage and adoption was extremely widespread. Perhaps there were some exceptions but they were not the norm.
hesutu's picture
A last thought, if a particular Cherokee or other nation has members that they believe were forced upon them by whites and were never really part of their  nation by their own consent, and wish to strip those members of their citizenship, that is their right. The US government also claims that it has the right to recognize what tribes it personally considers to be valid. Given this, when this US government feels that there are persons who are genuine Indians, such as disenfranchised Freedmen, and they have no longer have a federally recognized nation, the solution is extremely simple. The US federal government can easily choose to recognize any disenfranchised Freedmen as members of the Freedman Cherokee nation. Give them a land grant. Respect them as sovereign. Allow them to have their schools and businesses to continue their culture. This applies to all the disenrollment cases. Being disenrolled for whatever reason doesn't make you not be an indian, unless you accept a mythology that only the illegal white settler federal government gets to decides who is an indian or indian nation.
Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
I was under the impression that the Cherokee willingly accepted runaway slaves into their tribe. Am I mistaken?


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