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African-Native American Genealogy Forum

Re: Congressional Black Caucus
In Response To: Re: Congressional Black Caucus ()

There is a racially motivated reason why Black America has not embraced the efforts of the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes to participate fully in their own government.

It is viewed by many, blacks included, that attempts to be members of an "Indian" tribe is an effort to switch race. There is fear that the black community may be losing some of their hard won members who will begin passing themselves as Indians rather than blacks, thus not contributing to the "movement."

However, if this issue is looked at in the way that it should be, there is no need to fear a loss of population or anyone "passing" for anything. My friend Tony said it best. He said, "I am a blak man who is Cherokee citizen. My Cherokee Nation citizenship does not diminish my blackness, nor does my blackness diminish my Cherokee rights."

The Cherokee Nation and tribal governments generally, are not based on race. Certainly, they were constituted at a time when their racial configuration was monoethnic. But that changed almost immediately upon European/African immigration to North America. Rather than being monoethnic tribes, adoption, intermarriage and slavery made the FCTs into Nations, no longer tribes.

We can compare the Cherokee Nation to Germany, where many ethnic groups came together to forge a nation including Germans, Poles, Czechs, Turks, Jews, Gypsies among others. Each ethnic group in Germany were citizens of the German state, thus, they all were Germans. Only during the reign of Hitler did these things change. And after his demise, the ethnic minorities of Germany once again became Germans.

As such, just as the southern blacks had the right to participate fully in the governments of the southern states, Black Cherokees have the right to participate fully in the government of the Cherokee Nation.

If the Black Caucus, black activists and people generally, could stop putting racial spins on everyone and see that people, who happen to have African ancestry, are being denied their civil rights in a government guaranteed to them by federal law, then we might be able to do something about this. Black people, like everyone else, have the right to participate fully in the governments that rightfully belong to them. The Cherokee government does not belong solely to the Cherokee tribe within it, simply because we make up the majority, anymore than Alabama belonged to the white majority in 1960.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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