Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blacks Kicked Out Of Cherokee Nation (Again)


The Cherokee Nation acted this week after its Supreme Court upheld the results of a 2007 special vote to amend the Cherokee constitution and remove the slaves’ descendants and other non-Indians from tribal rolls.

One of the nation’s largest American Indian tribes has sent letters to about 2,800 descendants of slaves once owned by its members, revoking their citizenship and cutting their medical care, food stipends, low-income homeowners’ assistance and other services. The 300,000-member tribe is the biggest in Oklahoma, although many of its members live elsewhere.
The tribe never owned black slaves, but some individual members did. They were freed after the Civil War, in which the tribe allied with the Confederacy. An 1866 treaty between the tribe and the federal government gave the freedmen and their descendants “all the rights of native Cherokees.”

But more than 76 percent of Cherokee voters approved an amendment stripping the descendants of their citizenship. Tribal leaders who backed the amendment said the vote was about the fundamental right of every government to determine its citizens, not about racial exclusion. The freedmen’s descendants disagree. Along with losing services, descendants of freedmen won’t be able to vote in the election for the principal chief. (Wash Post, 9/10/2011)

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