African-Native American Genealogy Forum
Chad smiths letter..
Hello all, I wanted to clarify that I am just posting these letters I come across simply for your information. I am in no way connected to Chad or Joe Grayson, and I do not want to see the Freedmen removed, I have already voted and that was a resounding NO! I only wish to show you guys what is being circulated about the Freedmen to give you guys more ammunition for the fight ahead. - Friend.
Here is a new letter from chad sent out recently:
Subject: [All-Employees] Special Election
I encourage every Cherokee to vote Saturday, March 3, in a Special Election focused on the single issue of who should be citizens of the Cherokee Nation. It is my hope that our citizens will take the time to educate themselves about the issue that is coming before them in the special election and cast an informed vote. For more information on the Special Election, call (918) 458-5899 or visit the Cherokee Nation’s Web site at www.cherokee.org.
In 2006, the Judicial Appeals Tribunal (JAT), now the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court, ruled that a Cherokee Nation law that limited citizenship in the Cherokee Nation to Cherokees, Shawnees and Delawares by blood was unconstitutional because it excluded Freedmen and other non-Indians who were listed on separate Dawes Rolls. This reversed the same court’s decision in a similar case a few years earlier.
Freedmen were former slaves of Cherokees and were emancipated and given Cherokee Nation citizenship by an 1866 amendment to our 1839 Constitution after the American Civil War. The evidence shows that people with Cherokee blood were placed on the by-blood rolls and non-Indians were listed on either the Inter-married White rolls or Freedmen rolls by the Dawes Commission.
Although the interpretation of the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court is controversial as to whether our 1975 Constitution excluded Freedmen or not, it is very clear that the determination of who may or may not become a citizen is a question reserved for the Cherokee voters.
What should be clear to all voters is that the Cherokee Nation Constitution is not based on race. People of many different ethnic backgrounds—African-Americans, White Americans, and Hispanic-Americans—have Cherokee ancestors on the Dawes Roll and are unquestionably entitled to Cherokee Nation citizenship.
The constitutional question to determine citizenship and specifically, whether to exclude Freedmen and other non-Indians, is set for Saturday, March 3. A “Yes” vote means the Freedmen and other non-Indians will not be tribal citizens. A “No” vote means Freedmen and other non-Indians can be tribal citizens. In other words, voting “Yes” means non-Indians are out, and voting “No” means non-Indians stay in.
Although the Cherokee Supreme Court decision to include the Freedmen as citizens is controversial, I believe everyone understands it is a question reserved for the Cherokee people to decide. Whatever “side” you or I or any of us may have, I sincerely hope everyone will participate in this democratic process, and remember that many people in other parts of the world do not enjoy this privilege.
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