Conservative Viewpoints

"Government is not the solution…it is the problem" -Ronald Reagan

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Cherokee Nation Commits racist act, expel descendants they once enslaved

Posted by Stephen on March 3, 2007

Members of the Cherokee Nation voted Saturday to revoke the citizenship of approximately 2,800 descendants of people the Cherokee once owned as slaves.

With a majority of districts reporting, 76 percent had voted in favor of an amendment to the tribal constitution that would limit citizenship to descendants of “by blood” tribe members as listed on the federal Dawes Commission’s rolls from more than 100 years ago.

The commission, a program of discrimination from the outset, was set up by Congress to break up Indians’ collective lands and parceling them out to tribal citizens. The commission drew up two rolls, one listing Cherokees by blood and the other listing freedmen. Freedmen consisted of any person that had even the slightest black ancestry regardless of whether they had Indian blood.

It is a twist of irony dripping of racism and discrimination. “It’s oppressed people that’s oppressing people,” said Verdie Triplett, 53, an outspoken freedman of the Choctaw tribe, which, like the Cherokee, once owned black slaves.

The issue is eerily similar to southern slavery when white communities worked to disown the history of slavery by pretending it didn’t really happen. Today, some Cherokees are attempting to deny the tribes slave-owning past. “They know these people exist. And they’re trying to push them aside, as though they were never with them,” said Andra Shelton, 59, who will now be looking for a place to call home.

The grass roots effort has included hate speech and messages circulated throughout the Nation. One particularly hateful email was written by Darren Buzzard, an advocate of expelling the freedmen. In it he wrote, “Don’t get taken advantage of by these people. They will suck you dry,” the email went on, “Don’t let black freedmen back you into a corner. PROTECT CHEROKEE CULTURE FOR OUR CHILDREN. FOR OUR DAUGHTER[S] . . . FIGHT AGAINST THE INFILTRATION.”

Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks and Seminoles, are the participating tribes who were long known as the “Five Civilized Tribes” because they adopted many of the ways of their white neighbors in the South, including the holding of black slaves.

Many of the descendents of freedmen accompanied the tribes on their journey known as “The Trail of Tears,” which resulted in the deaths of many Native Americans as they attempted to make their way to Indian Country, known today as Oklahoma, after being expelled from Georgia and North Carolina. It is estimated that thousands of Native Americans lost their lives on the journey.

Today, the descendents of those Native Americans that risked all they had and would ever have to carve out some a semblance of a life are giving back by doing exactly what was done to them. After spending the last 170 years screaming about being cast out by the white man, it seems Native Americans of today decided to avenge the past by doing unto others as it was done unto them.

Today, there is a new trail of tears created by the self righteous few that have committed the shameful act of expelling people simply because they do not wish to face the disgraceful acts of their grandfathers. Today’s vote is a shameful mark that will cloud the legacies of each Native son for generations to come.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.


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