The Other Shoe Drops

In a move of apparently breathtaking chutzpuh, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court (itself very probably illegal), dominated by appointees of former Principal Chief Chad Smith, has just voted to disenfranchise Freedmen voters on the eve of a new election for Principal Chief!  The decision studiously avoids the merits of the case and instead cops out by claiming the court lacks jurisdiction to determine the issue.  Absolutely unbelievable.  By removing a bloc of voters who cast ballots in the June 25 election and were almost certainly opposed to Chad Smith, the CN Supreme Court has staged the the most nakedly transparent judicial overthrow of a democratic election since Bush v. Gore.

Published in: on August 22, 2011 at 8:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Great Debate

The Cornsilks, Judge Steve Russell and I (along with many others) ride into cyber-battle in defense of the truth, history and Cherokee culture as it relates to the Freedmen.

Standing Up for History

David Cornsilk provides an excellent concise overview of Cherokee history as it relates to the Freedmen and debunks several of the most common lies and slanders against them being put out by the anti-Freedmen forces.  Well worth the read.

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 12:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Freedmen Decision

The DC Court of Appeals has ruled that the Cherokee Nation cannot be sued without its consent. However, the decision leaves open the possibility that individual tribal officials can be sued for violating the 1866 Treaty. Discussion of the issue at John Cornsilk’s Place. Links to the briefs at Turtle Talk.
Based on a very limited analysis of the decision, it seems to me that if the trial court (which, remember, ruled that CN had waived sovereign immunity) allows suit against the Principal Chief and the Tribal Council individually, then not much will have changed, though I’m curious as to what the Freedmen’s remedy would be if they prevail under those conditions.

UPDATE: More on the story from Indian Country Today.

Published in: on July 31, 2008 at 9:19 am  Leave a Comment  

In the Immortal Words of Pogo…

…”We has met th’ enemy and they is us.” Excellent opinion piece from Indian Country Today on the moral (as opposed to merely legal) wrong of the Freedmen disenfranchisement. EBW at Wampum uses the article as the jumping-off point for a wider discussion of internalized self-colonialism, a sort of Stockholm Syndrome whereby the victims become victimizers themselves.

Published in: on May 18, 2008 at 11:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Watson on Obama on the Freedmen

From my Right Honorable Colleague, Wampum: Cong. Diane Watson responds to Barack Obama’s recent dodge on the Freedmen case. While I generally agree with her comments, I wish she had mentioned that the Cherokee National Council actually abolished slavery before the 1866 Treaty, in fact before the Emancipation Proclamation. This should be a matter of historical pride for the Nation; instead, the whole Freedmen debacle has exposed a nasty, virulent strain of racism among (primarily thin-blood) Cherokee.

Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Freedmen Case Before DC Circuit Court of Appeals

From, via Wampum who caught it before I did. I tend to agree with Judge Steven Russell (who comes from a long line of Cherokee Judges) that the panels’ questions indicate they don’t necessarily believe the Cherokee Nation has to be sued by the Freedmen in order for the Federal Gov’t to enforce the Treaty of 1866. So, if that’s really what the panel is thinking, does that mean the BIA would disallow the 2003 Constitution? Sever the government-to-government relationship with CN until the Freedmen are guaranteed citizenship? Both of the above? And, of course, we shouldn’t get too excited that this will all be resolved anytime soon; whoever is on the losing end of the three judge panel’s decision will move for a rehearing en banc (before the entire Court, including the virulently anti-Indian Judge Janice Rogers Brown); whoever loses that will likely appeal to the US Supreme Court. And if it gets into the hands of this Supreme Court, God help us all. If there’s anyway for the Freedmen, CN AND tribal sovereignty to ALL lose, this Supreme Court will find it.

UPDATE: And speaking of threats to tribal sovereignty, the Smith Administration has succeeded in having the Delaware Tribe stripped of its Federal recognition (and funding), the first time this has happened since the end of the Termination Era.

Published in: on May 9, 2008 at 10:20 am  Comments (4)  

Obama Punts on Freedmen Issue

Shorter Obama: let the courts decide (so I don’t have to).

H/T to John Cornsilk

Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 10:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Triple Standard?

The Delaware and the Shawnee have bitter experience with losing recognition and federal funds–at the hands of Chief Chad Smith and the Cherokee Nation. And in other Freedmen-related news, the National American Indian Housing Council is worried that the fight over the Freedmen in Congress could completely derail the NAHSDA.

Published in: on April 27, 2008 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Quick Freedmen Update

Cong. Barney Frank, the powerful and well-connected Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, announced he will oppose a conference committee report on HR 2786 (the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act) unless it contains the Freedmen Rider proposed by the Congressional Black Caucus. So far, all of Chief Smith’s intensive lobbying hasn’t come to much.

More coverage and thoughtful commentary by my Right Honourable Cherokee Colleague, EBW at Wampum.

Published in: on April 23, 2008 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment