This Is Interesting

A recent poll shows strong public support for appointing a Native American to the Supreme Court.  So who would it be?  Larry Echohawk would seem to be the obvious choice (assuming I turned it down, of course).  Seriously, though, why not Stacy Leeds?  She’s already been a Justice on the Cherokee Supreme Court, she’s a law professor, she’s politically savvy.  Granted, I’m a little biased in her favor, having worked on her (unfortunately unsuccessful) campaign for principal chief, but still.

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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.

Great White Father Knows Best, Part 257

Judge Leeds at the Tsalagi Think Tank analyzes the negative implications of the Oneida land case from Wisconsin, specifically as it would apply to the Cherokee Nation. The upshot is that this decision continues to promote the doctrine that Indians are too stupid to know how to handle our own land and must therefore rely on the benevolence of the Great White Father in Washingtion, in the form of the BIA, through the land-into-trust process. The other effect of continued dependence on land-into-trust (for lands owned in fee simple by the tribes) is that it enables local governments to have an effective veto over what tribes may or may not do (i.e., casinos) on their own land. Another blow to tribal sovereignty.

Published in: on April 1, 2008 at 10:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Stacy Leeds on the Watson Bill

A bill was introduced in Congress today to pull our federal funds, close our casinos, and terminate our federal recognition. It’s truly a sad day for the Cherokee Nation. The rash decisions and inconsistent legal arguments of our current administration bring us to this point.
Will the bill pass? Doubtful.
Does the introduction of the bill matter? Without a doubt.
In addition to this proposed legislation, a federal court case is pending and there is on-going review by the BIA regarding the legality of the March 3rd Special Election. Now all three branches of the United States government are fully engaged in the fall out of our decision to expel a class of tribal citizens.
Why is this happening? The Cherokee people, although certainly possessing the right to redefine citizenship, were not told the whole story by the current administration. The Cherokee people were not fully advised of the legal and political consequences of the special election. Instead, the decision was rushed and public debate and deliberations were suppressed.
Why was the federal bill not introduced earlier? Principal Chief Chad Smith has been in negotiations to delay the introduction of this bill so that it would not be introduced the week before the election. He didn’t want to allow the Cherokee people the opportunity to know the seriousness of our present situation. Instead, he attempted to negotiate some undisclosed deal to keep this out of the media.
My concern is two fold: (1) The Principal Chief does not have the authority to strike a secret “deal” with the Freedmen without discussing it with the Tribal Council; and (2) exactly what were the details of Chief Smith’s “offer” to the Freedmen?
The introduction of the bill was delayed for a week based on the Principal Chief’s promises. What exactly did he promise? How much would his promise cost the Cherokee people?
I will alway support the Cherokee people’s right to make decisions, good or bad. What must end, if we are to be a healthy nation, are the half-truths and secret dealings of our present leadership.
A positive change is just around the corner . . . . vote Saturday June 23rd.

Published in: on June 23, 2007 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

At the urging of Chad Smith, the Tribal Council passed (in 35 seconds, no less) a new constitutional amendment to again remove the requirement that the Cherokee Nation bow and scrape to the Federal government for permission to amend its own Constitution. So far, so good; but the reason for the haste was to ram it onto the ballot in time for the June 23rd election, because Smith and company are desperate to ensure that the Freedmen only get to vote once. Of course, many absentee voters have already sent in their ballots (without this provision on them, naturally), so new ballots will have to be sent out, leading to even more chaos and confusion. I’m also told that the Tribal government is refusing to even give a list of the Freedmen to their court-appointed attorney!
Meanwhile, it seems increasingly likely that the Congressional Black Caucus will move to cut off funds to the Nation (about 80% of the total budget), leading to a disaster of Seminole proportions.
I’m starting to fear that by the time Stacy Leeds becomes Principal Chief, there won’t be any tribe left to govern.

Published in: on June 9, 2007 at 8:40 am  Leave a Comment  

This Just In…

…in an astonishing move, the Cherokee Nation has agreed to an injunction preventing them from disenrolling the Freedmen pending appeals in the tribal court system (though not the Federal lawsuit). The upshot of all this is that the Freedmen (some 2,700 of whom have enrolled since the Cherokee Supreme Court decision that restored their eligibility) will be able to vote in the June 23 tribal elections. Maybe, just maybe, the Nation is moving back from the brink.

UPDATE: A good thought-piece on race, racism and tribal sovereignty from Indian Country Today.

UPDATE 2: Wampum has a good rundown on the law and politics of the Freedmen controversy. And, as usual, she’s right; this crisis will not end unless Judge Leeds is elected the next Principal Chief.

Published in: on May 16, 2007 at 12:30 pm  Comments (2)  

This Just In…

…in an astonishing move, the Cherokee Nation has agreed to an injunction preventing them from disenrolling the Freedmen pending appeals in the tribal court system (though not the Federal lawsuit). The upshot of all this is that the Freedmen (some 2,700 of whom have enrolled since the Cherokee Supreme Court decision that restored their eligibility) will be able to vote in the June 23 tribal elections. Maybe, just maybe, the Nation is moving back from the brink.

UPDATE: A good thought-piece on race, racism and tribal sovereignty from Indian Country Today.

UPDATE 2: Wampum has a good rundown on the law and politics of the Freedmen controversy. And, as usual, she’s right; this crisis will not end unless Judge Leeds is elected the next Principal Chief.

Published in: on May 16, 2007 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  

Nanai Delasi Gatlitela

Your humble blogger joined about ten Metroplex-Area Cherokee citizens to meet with Judge Stacy Leeds, candidate for Principal Chief (top photo), and her running mate, Raymond Vann, candidate for Deputy Principal Chief (bottom photo). Also present was Sean R. Nordwall, candidate for Tribal Council At-Large, Place 2. The discussion over coffee and donuts was very productive, and included several novel ideas for diversifying the Cherokee economy and ending the tribe’s crippling dependence on Federal funds, such as forming a tribal bank and a tribal insurance company, as well as taking advantage of the currently unused International Port near Sallisaw. There was also talk about the current Administration’s “culture of corruption,” the unconscionable fact that only about a dime out of every dollar currently taken in by the tribe ever makes it to the people, and the danger to tribal sovereignty of the Administration’s disastrous policy towards the Freedmen. I found it particularly outrageous that Chief Chad Smith has twice vetoed a minimum wage for Cherokee workers, when tribal employees of CNI are currently making so little they qualify for commodities. Come June 23rd, the Cherokee Nation needs a change of leadership, but more than that, a change in attitude, and a leadership that reflects traditional tribal values of self-sufficiency, honesty and compassion towards elders and the poor.
Published in: on April 15, 2007 at 8:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Stacy Leeds Coming to Dallas

Judge Stacy Leeds, candidate for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, will be meeting with Metroplex-Area Cherokee voters at 10:30 AM on Saturday, April 14, at the Dallas County Democratic Party Headquarters, located in Fair Park at 4209 Parry Avenue. I’ll be there, too, so come on down for coffee and donuts and meet the next Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation!

Published in: on April 13, 2007 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Leeds Announces for Principal Chief

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STACY LEEDS ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR CHEROKEE PRINCIPAL CHIEF

Tahlequah, OK – January 12, 2006

Stacy Leeds has announced her candidacy for Cherokee Nation Principal Chief. She is nationally recognized for her knowledge of tribal law and governance issues and is enthusiastic about the prospect of serving the Cherokee people. The general election is scheduled for June 23, 2007.
Leeds is the first and only woman to serve as a Justice on the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court. She is also a tenured Professor of Law at the University of Kansas where she directs the Tribal Law and Government Center and the Center for Indigenous Nations Studies. On the national level, she serves as Chair of the American Bar Association’s Tribal Courts Council. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on tribal governance, property law and economic development and she has clerked for the Native American Rights Fund.
Leeds was raised in Muskogee and was an all-state athlete at Muskogee High School. She received a bachelor’s degree from Washington University and ended her athletic career by setting the NCAA record for the most three-pointers in a championship tournament. She holds a law degree (J.D.) from the University of Tulsa and an advanced law degree (LL.M.) from the University of Wisconsin. Leeds currently resides north of Tahlequah with her husband Michael Stewart, a Choctaw language instructor for the University of Oklahoma.
Leeds is an independent thinker with a vision for a more transparent Cherokee Nation. “The on-going promise of economic growth comes with great responsibility and increased scrutiny.” she says. “It is essential for our future that our citizens and the general public view the Cherokee Nation in the very best light.”
Leeds is uniquely qualified to represent the Cherokee Nation at the local and national level. Her record demonstrates that she has deep respect for the rule of law and a commitment to improving the lives of people throughout Indian country through education and self-governance.

Stacy L. Leeds , Candidate for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation
stacy@stacyleeds.com; (918) 931-9972; 11177 Hwy 10, Tahlequah, OK 74464

Published in: on January 15, 2007 at 6:36 am  Leave a Comment