This is an update to an earlier post that was cross-posted at Dailykos diary and at
After talking to many people both on website comments and on email, I’ve changed my mind on the issue of defunding the Chereokee Nation of Oklahoma.
I still strongly believe that CNO did wrong by voting to exclude the Freedmen, but I also can understand that at least some of the voters didn’t do so because of racism but because they feel strongly about the need for blood ties in the nation. I myself don’t agree with this perspective as I think culture is more important than blood — as a brother of 3 adopted siblings and 2 natural-born siblings, I think my adopted siblings are just as much kin as the natural-born ones are. To me the Freedmen are adopted Cherokee and should be treated as such.
That said, the issue of threatening to defund the CNO will be seen as a threat to the survival and continued existence of the nation by many, and will I think force folks into a corner in trying to defend a bad policy. I also think it isn’t fair, as other tribes have also excluded their Freedmen so to single out only the CNO isn’t right.
It seems like a better approach is to take the defunding issue off the table and to return to the negotiating table. There are lots of possible solutions if folks are creative enough. And I think in the long run the CNO (and other tribes) will have a richer and fuller culture if they accept the Freedmen as their adopted kin. But I think this has to be a matter of persuasion not coercion.