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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Mike Graham
Bio: Mike Graham
Date:  August 18, 2007
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Topic category:  Other/General

'Freedmen call Cherokees racist' Senator Coburn Supports Group

Got Indian blood?

Some U.S. Congressional Black Caucus members are claiming the Cherokee Nation and its citizens are not honoring an abandoned 1866 treaty. They are referring to article nine of a federal 1866 treaty that pertains to in part toward an African American group going by the name Freedmen. Some members of the group claim the 1866 treaty gave them full citizenship to the Indian nation.

Members of the U.S. Black Caucus have taken it upon themselves to attach amendments to federal tribal funding bills to halt their passage until Freedmen affected by the vote (2,700) are reinstated. Congresswoman Watson of California introduced H.R.2824, calling for federal termination of the Cherokee Nation.

Fact: The Cherokee Nation citizenship March 2007 vote requires anyone wanting to be a citizen of the nation to have Cherokee blood heritage regardless of race affiliation. Whites and so-called Freedmen with Cherokee heritage that have met these requirements remain citizens of the nation. Facts concerning the Cherokee Nation are that, there are several thousand African Americans with Cherokee heritage among its citizens, including more than 1,500 citizens who are descendants of Freedmen who have proven their Cherokee Indian ancestry.

Congresswoman Watson contends that today’s federal funding programs and recognition of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation are done so through federal treaties with the Cherokee Nation.

Fact: The federal government has from its formation maintained a government to government relationship with the Cherokee Nation. Representatives of the Cherokee Nation state "We have never asked the federal government to recognize our nation, the federal government has always maintained that the Cherokee Nation is a sovereign nation.

Congresswoman Watson also stated on Native America Calling radio talk show "That the Cherokee Nation operates around one hundred casinos in the state of Oklahoma. If the Cherokees want to keep operating them, they should honor the 1866 treaty." Congresswoman Watson made no references as to the federal governments’ obligation to fully honor the 1866 treaty. It's the same old Indian federal policies of, do as we say, not as we do!

Fact: The Cherokee Nation does not own one hundred casinos! They own and operate seven casinos within the state of Oklahoma. Congresswoman Watson's knowledge and facts about Cherokees today obviously mirrors her false perception of Cherokees past true history!

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn states “I'm supportive of the freedmen,” Coburn said. Indians in Coburn's District knows all about Senator Coburn's anti-Indian attitude, if he had his way there would not be a Cherokee Nation to deal with, as he is also against Native Hawaiians reinstating their "historical" Native Hawaiian Government. Senator Coburn declined to add his support and name to Kansas Senator Brownback’s resolution calling for an official apology to the American Indian community from the federal government for its "Past misguided policies against Indians." Senator Coburn's official stand on Native Americans having a federal holiday is, they "Indians" do not deserve one! Indians in Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn's district somewhat jokingly say, our issues would fair better before the Grand Wizard of the KKK than Senator Coburn!

California Congressman Joe Baca and Oklahoma Congressman Dan Boren leads the "fight" to bring about National Native American Day. Support for the holiday measure from the U.S. Black Caucus is equal to that of Senator Tom Coburn's.

Fact: The "federal government" broke all treaties made with the Cherokee Nation and terminated all treaty obligations to include the 1866 treaty. The federal government in the mid-1950s did terminate its relationship with several Indian nations across America. Today for the most part, Federal government funding programs are based on the 1975 Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. Shortly after passage of the 1975 Act, tribes which had been terminated (Cherokee Nation not included) mounted efforts to restore their federal sovereign nations status using the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs oversees those tribal nations recognition. (Cherokee Nation not included)

Also read: The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934

Fact: American Indians are taxpayers too! Indian nations receive federal funds in support of their programs as do states and local governments to include other countries. Democrat Congresswoman Watson H.R. 2824 resolution calling for termination of the Cherokee Nation should be viewed as racially motivated and extremist! Indian tribal groups in Congresswoman Watson's own state of California have recently elected to change their tribal citizenship requirements, all without fan fair or concerns coming from Congresswoman Watson.

Congresswoman Watson's California constituents’ issues will take a back seat while she travels to Oklahoma in August. Watson plans on visiting several cities around the state showing her support of the Freedmen members that have not proven their Cherokee heritage. No doubt, her trip expenses will be at taxpayer expense.

U.S. Representative Melvin Watt, a democrat of North Carolina states he will attach an amendment to H.R. 3002 related to H.R. 2895 before the House Committee on Financial Services. The amendment would call for blocking all U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds going to the Cherokee Nation. Watt stated he will give the Cherokee Nation one month to address the Freedmen issue, congress will reconvene in September. Note: Wouldn't it be great if our U.S. Congress acted that fast on issues before them!

In March 2007 citizens of the Cherokee Nation voted to expel any person that had not proven they had Cherokee heritage to at least one family member listed on the nations roll books. Indian Nations forced from their Eastern home lands by the federal government in 1838-1839, established a tribal roll number system to determine citizenship to their nation, this action is referred to as the Dawes Roll Act. Intermarried Whites and Freedmen were placed on a separate roll. The Cherokee Nation has always maintained that, to be a citizen of the nation a person had to prove their Cherokee blood heritage to one citizen listed on the roll books.

lot of misinformation surrounding the Cherokee Nations citizenship vote is running rampant throughout the country. The worst of the worst is, some people are calling the Cherokee Nations heritage citizenship vote racist. Marilyn Vann, head of the Oklahoma Freedmen Association refers to 1861, when the Cherokee Nation severed their relationship with the United States. The Cherokee Nation allied itself with the Confederate States and waged war against the United States to defend the abominable practice of slavery. To make amends, they signed the Treaty of 1866, promising us full citizenship rights. We plan to hold them to that promise.” Marilyn Vann said.

Fact: The Cherokee Nation entering into "Another treaty" with the federal government in 1866, only came about to prevent the U.S. Army from attacking them again. Treaties were written by and for the federal government's benefit, not Indians. Nowhere in the 1866 treaty does it state "citizenship" for Freedmen, only protection and equal rights under tribal nation laws covering its citizens. That wording of the 1866 treaty would also cover a Japanese tourist on Cherokee land.

ARTICLE 9. 1866 treaty

Fact: The Cherokee Nation did sever their relationship with the United States during the U.S. Civil War.

Fact: The Cherokee Nation did not sever their relationship with the United States in support of slavery. Members of the so-called Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma fought on both sides, Union & Confederate, just as Whites and Blacks did. Members of the five nations that did fight against the U.S. Union Army did so under the Cherokee Braves Flag. The Cherokee Braves Unit did so because of the federal governments forced removal of them from their Eastern home lands, the Trail of Tears atrocity that cost the lives of over five thousands Indian men, women and children. They further stated the federal government would continue its holocaust against all Indians after the U.S. civil War. History has proven them right.!


Marilyn Vann, is fully aware of U.S. historic atrocities against American Indians. She is also aware of all the devastating federal policies forced on American Indians before, during and after the U.S. Civil War. She has made a personal choice to depict Cherokees as "The bad guys," less than honorable. All because Cherokees were forced to stand up for their civil rights to exist as a free people to include protecting their people against the U.S. Army hell-bent on destroying them. If Marilyn Vann is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation by blood heritage, they should ban her

Fact: Human slavery was at one time practiced world wide, to include Africa tribal nations.

Fact: The federal government abandoned the 1866 treaty in 1889 when it authorized non-Indian settlement in Indian territory now known as Oklahoma.

Fact: During the U.S. Civil War, President Lincoln authorized the largest mass hanging in U.S. history. On December 16, 1862 in the Northern state of Minnesota, thirty-eight Sioux Indian men were hanged. Minnesota authorities were set to hang 303 Indian men, Lincoln wanted the number lowered for good reasons. President Lincoln promised to kill or remove every Indian from the state and provide Minnesota with 2 million dollars in federal funds.

Fact: Cherokee Chief John Ross: On June 25, 1863, two years before the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, The Cherokee National Council Act outlawed any form of slavery within the boundaries of Cherokee Nation lands.

Fact: American Indian Educational information: American Indian tribal governments developed the fundamental principles of freedom of speech, federalism and separation of powers that form the foundation of the United States Government.


An action alert H.R.2824 form letter to congress members has been set up:

Mike Graham
United Native America (Founder)

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Biography - Mike Graham

Mike Graham is a citizen of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation, a retired service connected disabled Army veteran. Founded United Native America in 1993 to form a national group to take action on American Indian issues. The groups main issue is to bring about a federal national holiday for Native Americans. United Native America's motto is, "Standing up for America and the American Indian community."

Graham has been a guest speaker on national and international radio talk shows to include television programs concerning Indian community issues, his reports on Indian issues have been published in newspapers all over America. He has traveled across the country discussing issues with Indian nation leaders, he has presented Indian issues at college's and high schools.

Read other commentaries by Mike Graham.

Visit Mike Graham's website at United Native America

Copyright © 2007 by Mike Graham
All Rights Reserved.

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