Cherokee.org: Information about the upcoming election to deny Freedmen Cherokee citizenship
Cherokee.org: Information about Cherokee voter registration and absentee ballot voting
This is a sad, sad situation. Seeing one group of oppressed people attack another group of oppressed people is a horrible thing. The Cherokees unfortunately and tragically participated in the enslavement of African-Americans (as did many other Indian tribes). They brought these slaves with them on the Trail of Tears, but also in somes intermarried with free slaves who also came to Oklahoma. Later during Reconstruction the tribe was forced to adopt the former slaves as citizens through the treaties signed with the US government. However since then the tribe has repeatedly (and shamefully) acted to keep the Freedmen from taking an active role in Cherokee life.
I can’t vote in this election (my full-blood Cherokee ancestor’s white husband refused to allow his wife and children to be listed on the roll, which is why I don’t have citizenship despite my Cherokee ancestry), but for those Cherokee folks who can vote, please vote against this measure. Our ancestors committed a wrong by enslaving folks. The wrong can’t be undone, but at least we don’t have to continue to oppression.
Here’s some more information on the story of the Black Cherokee Freedmen and what is happening to them today…
Wikipedia.org: Cherokee Freedmen membership controversies
Indianz.com: Judge rules Freedmen can sue Cherokee Nation
Cherokeebyblood.com: Black Indians
African-NativeAmerican.com: Celebrating the Estelusti ~ The Freedmen, Oklahoma’s Black Indians
Freedmen5Tribes.com: News about the Cherokee Special Election