Blood Will Tell
The ongoing debate in the Cherokee Nation over the Freedmen descendents continues to be portrayed in the mainstream media and by tribal leaders as an argument simply over whether enrollment should be limited to "Cherokee by blood." However, this ignores some inconvenient facts. First, the Cherokee Constitution limits tribal membership to those who are direct lineal descendants of someone on the Final Dawes Roll. Cherokee Freedmen did NOT have blood quanta listed on the Dawes Roll, due to the prevailing racist belief at the time that "one drop" of "black blood" made you black. So if the current proposal becomes law, even Freedmen who are "Cherokee by blood" will never be able to legally prove it! And that's not even addressing the fact that the "blood quantum" requirement is in and of itself a white invention and a relic of a violent and racist past. Relying exclusively on the Dawes Roll already leads to the absurd result of persons who have extremely low blood quanta, have never lived in the Cherokee Nation and are almost completely ignorant of the culture being able to enroll, while those with high blood quanta, whose families have lived in Oklahoma for generations, and are deeply immersed in the culture cannot, all based solely on which person's great great grandparents signed the Roll. Now, the Cherokee Nation is poised to exclude the descendents of Cherokee slaves, based on a classic Catch-22 of bureacratic double-speak.