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African-Native American Research Forum Archive

Re: Creek Freedmen Descendants
In Response To: Re: Creek Freedmen Descendants ()

There will always be naysayers and the disgruntled who didn't get what they wanted from an organization. The unfortunate thing about "nonbeliever" and his/her attack on the Freedmen descendants association and more particularly Ron Graham, is that is it done anonymously.

Whether or not the statements in the post are true is immaterial. They are made false by the fact that the person attacked a real person without having the intestinal fortitude (or other body parts) to face Mr. Graham and those who work on behalf of the Freedmen descendants.

This attack leaves the uninformed with the task of making a determination regarding the honesty of Mr. Graham and the others who have worked hard on behalf of the Freedmen. One thing is certain, efforts to right the kind of wrongs heaped upon the Freedmen over the past 140 years will take much more than Mr. Graham, Ms. Vann and others have at their disposal. It takes time and money to do as they have done.

Their efforts have met with great successes. Not complete wins, but success. The issues of the Freedmen have reached the eyes and ears of the general public. When the Choctaws (1983) and Creeks (1979) excluded their Freedmen, not a whimper was made by any of those Nations. Now, thanks to the efforts of the Freedmen Descendants Association, the Cherokee Freedmen have brought the issues of ALL Freedmen to the fore.

And while I have a great deal of respect for others who have now formed their own Freedmen descendant organization, and I hope and wish for them the kind of dedication and successes that Mr. Graham's efforts have generated, the fact remains that their efforts will be built upon what has already been done. They don't have to get the media to pay attention. Its been done. They don't have to educate the public. Its been done. They don't have to show that a tribe can be taken to court. Its been done.

I have been involved in the fight for the rights of the Cherokee Freedmen since 1988. I was looking for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit back when it was hard to find a Freedmen descendant who even believed they could get justice in the Cherokee courts, let alone the federal courts. There are four Cherokee Freedmen descendants who one day will be lauded as heros of the Cherokee Nation. They are Rev. Roger Nero (Nero v. Cherokee Nation), Bernice Riggs (Riggs v. Ummerteskee), Lucy Allen (Allen v. Council) and Marilyn Vann (Vann v. Kempthorne).

The fact that the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which forids slavery and badges of slavery will undoubtedly, if won at the federal court level by the Cherokee Freedmen, have broad implications for the other of the Five Civilized Tribes. And for those who complain because the Creek Freedmen lawsuit is about blood and not just Freedmen, take a look at the law they had to work with in the Creek Nation. A lawsuit that would have claimed citizenship generally for the Creek Freedmen would have never gotten past the front door. The Creek Courts can only interpret Creek law and the Creek constitution, all of which center on a requirement that citizens possess proveable Creek blood. A decision to get some descendants, when all was just not possible at that time, is much more respectable than someone complaining because someone else didn't get them a census card when they could have gotten it themselves. This welfare, gimme, handout mentality is causing decay of all our cultures from the inside out.

The successes and movement the Cherokee Freedmen have achieved did not occur because the leaders sat back and complained about something they could have checked out themselves. They stepped forward and at great risk to themselves, did something. So I say to you nonbeliever, if you didn't get that little bitty thing you wanted out of the organization or from Mr. Graham, then stop complaining and step up. Do something yourself and see how easy it is.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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