Freedmen Vote to Proceed as Planned
US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy has refused to block the March 3 election to kick the Freedmen out of the Cherokee Nation. As much as I sympathize with the Freedmen, I have to say this was the right decision. Yes, it's true the petition drive was riddled with fraud, but the Cherokee Supreme Court has already spoken on that issue, however much I might disagree. Tribal sovereignty is eroded when the Federal Courts are treated as courts of appeal when litigants don't like the results in tribal court. Unfortunately, any victory for sovereign tribal rights might be short-lived; Judge Kennedy made a point of noting that if the referendum passes, he may be drawn into the conflict. No matter how that ends, tribal sovereignty will suffer by having a Federal judge act as referee or nanny. Consider what happened to the Seminole under similar circumstances. Apparently, though, the anti-Freedmen forces are willing to risk the sovereignty of the Nation to keep one group of people, descendants of those who walked the Trail of Tears, out of the tribe.