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African-Native American Genealogy Forum

Re: Creek Freedmen's Rights Under the 1866 Treaty


You are entitled to your opinion, but please, before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, understand what tribes actually are, at least under federal law.

First and foremost, tribes are " DOMESTICE DEPENDENT" sovereign nations. That means we are as much a part of the American family of governments as are the states, counties, cities etc. Each sovereign in this country enjoys and exercises its rights in accordance with law, their own and controlling legislation by Congress and/or the U.S. Constitution.

A careful read the U.S. Constitution shows that Treaties are the Supreme law of the land. If you believe in our constitutional rights, ie freedom of speech, right to privacy, freedom of religion etc., then you must accept that treaties between the U.S. and Indian tribes are just as valid. You cannot cherry pick from the constitution what you want and don't want.

And while we are on the constitution, it also states that Congress has absolute authority over commerce between the states, foreign nations and Indian tribes. It was the intent of the founding fathers of the U.S. that Indian tribes and their sovereignty shall exist in this country.

In the relm of freedom of religion or as I prefer, freedom from religion, much has been said about the "intent" of the framers of the constitution. Did they mean for the country and its institutions to be Godless as atheist desire. Or did they intend for God to be there, just not forced on others, or did they intend for the dominant faiths to impose their views on others. That is a debate not soon to be decided. But the intent of the framers is clear in regard to the sovereignty of Indian nations, states and foreign nations. Without some internal control (exercise of soverignty) there can not be commerce to regulate. Congress does not have the time or resources to micromanage tribal, state or foreign commerce. Sweeping regulations that protect citizens is how that works. The rest is left to the people of those governments. As members of the American family of governments, even though we make mistakes, such as this recent vote and segregation in the south, Indian nations have the right to exist and exercise their legitimate sovereign authority. No one ever said Alabama shouldn't exist because its promoted vicious forms of segregation. Why would Indian nations be held to a different standard? Especially considering that our governments existed before Alabama and long before the U.S.

In closing, let me say that the Indian nations did not ask for the system that impacts us now. Europeans and Africans were not invited to our shores and borders. We did not ask for the wars that forged the relationship between ourselves and the United States. We did not ask for allottment of our lands that created separate rolls for the Cherokees by blood and the Cherokee freedmen. What we have invited is federal intervention by our actions when we violated our own treaty by ousting the Freedmen. That is our fault, I take ownership of it and please know that if I could change it and apologize for the actions of our Nation, I would. And believe me, one day, like the state of Virginia, the Cherokee Nation will apologize for this tragedy. But I, like all 250,000 Cherokees can only do what an individual can do when his government misbehaves. I take action, make calls, write letters and demand the guardian of the Freedmen, the United States, to do its duty and enforce the treaty.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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