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African-Native American Genealogy Forum

Re: Cherokee Chief Moves to Remove Cherokee citize

Shoshone said:
I have been following this situation. Now is the time to see if the Freedman will organize and do everything they can to fight this.

David replies:
I attended a meeting today of Freedmen from the northern areas of the Cherokee Nation. If their actions are matched by their enthusiasm, I believe we will see the Cherokee Freedmen descendants organized and well on their way to becoming a political force in this Nation by December.

Shoshone said:
One question. What is the overall opinion of the Citizens of the Cherokee Nation? How many strong are they and will they have an ultimate say as well?

David replies:
There are approximately 250,000 Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma members, comprised today of Cherokees by blood, as well as Delaware and Shawnee adoptees. The most common degree of blood among the CNO members today is 1/32, with nearly 90 percent of the tribe being less than 1/4 Indian. In other words, these peculiar arguments regarding Indian identity and preservation of blood lineages and tribal culture are being made by persons who are themselves, of low blood degree, culturally not Cherokee and are, for all intents and purposes, white. In fact, the dissenting justice in the Allen case, Darrell Matlock, is only 1/16th Cherokee, yet in his dissent, he talks about the preservation of Indian identity while he is married to a white woman, does not speak the Cherokee language, is not phenotypically identifiable as an Indian. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with all that. But let's get real. If someone who is 15/16th white is going to make arguments about preserving Indian identity, there has to be a laugh in there somewhere.

And for those who believe the Cherokee tribe is strictly for Cherokee Indians, I invite them to join the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. The UKB Constitution demands that its members prove at least 1/4 degree of Cherokee blood.

The Cherokee people have already had their say. The Cherokee people adopted a constitution in 1976 which declares that all persons listed on the Dawes Rolls and their descendants, including the Delawares and Shawnees, are eligible to become members of the Cherokee Nation. While there are racists among us, as there have been all along, and they may wish, as they have all along, desire to exclude Black Cherokees, the end result of their actions may and will probably be the end of their political careers, both in the Cherokee Nation as well as the state and federal arenas. Should the Chief be successful in duping the council into putting a blood question on the ballot and the Freedmen may vote only one more time in Cherokee elections, their vote in 2007 will change the course of history for this Nation.

Shoshone said:
Did any of the Freedman use Genealogical research or DNA testing to help establish thier let's say individual cases as well?

David replies:
Genealogical research is the only method by which any Cherokee, black, red or white can prove citizenship in the Cherokee Nation and become a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. DNA is not an accurate method of determing genetic ancestry and is not used by any tribe to determine citizenship. In fact, even if it were possible to determine that someone has Cherokee genetic ancestry through DNA testing, a positive determination would not make that person eligible for citizenship. Only a finding of an ancestor on the Dawes Rolls can do that. There are individuals living throughout the United States who have unrefuteable genealogical evidence of Cherokee ancestry, yet they may not be eligible for membership because their ancestors names do not appear on the Dawes Roll. In other words, just having some long ago Cherokee ancestor doesn't get you enrolled. You have to prove that your ancestors stayed with the tribe by proving that they were on the required roll.

Shoshone said:
Are there any freedman who are currently enrolled citizens of the nation that have proven thier Cherokee Bloodlines?

David replies:
Yes, there are a pretty good number of them. I have found families who are divided between the by blood section of the roll and the Freedmen section. Some got to enroll under the now unconstitutional law, while their close kin could not. Some Freedmen have a parent who is on the by blood roll, while their other parent is on the Freedmen roll. There is one example, perhaps more, of a Freedman woman, who held great influence in the tribe and was able to get all of her children but two enrolled as Cherokees by blood, while she herself was enrolled as Freedman. One of her descendants works today in the Cherokee Nation accounting department and is one of the most racist individuals I have ever met. Go figure.

Ironically, the woman who helped to promulgate the original rules proposed by Ross Swimmer to exclude the Cherokee Freedmen, was herself a Freedmen descendant. Her name was Dora Mae Vann Watie and she was the daughter of a Freedman father and a full blood Cherokee Indian mother. Most of the Freedmen descendants who received a denial letter from the Cherokee Nation between the years 1976 and 1987, are familiar with her name.

Messages In This Thread

Cherokee Chief Moves to Remove Cherokee citizens
Re: Cherokee Chief Moves to Remove Cherokee citize
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Freedmen being removed
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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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