The Ongoing Freedman Saga
The Cherokee National Council tabled for 60 days a constitutional amendment authored by Councilmember Jackie Bob Martin that would block the Freedmen from becoming members of the tribe. While this amendment purports to limit tribal membership to "Cherokee by blood," it deliberately ignores the fact that no blood quanta were entered on the Dawes Roll for the Freedmen, the descendants of Cherokee slaves. Thus, Freedmen with Cherokee ancestry could never prove it. Absolute reliance on the Dawes Roll already produces the bizarre result of persons with very low blood quanta, no association with the culture and who have never lived in Oklahoma being eligible for tribal citizenship, while denying it to others born in the Cherokee Nation, speaking Cherokee and with high blood quanta, based merely on whether or not our great grandparents signed the Roll. Even if you don't think the Freedmen earned their right to tribal citizenship because their ancestors were also victims of the Trail of Tears, not to mention victims of enslavement by Cherokee, consider this: if the Cherokee Nation adopts the racist a-yo-ne-gv notion of "racial blood," how are they not racist themselves?