Gene Lewis Perry

If life were like fairy tales, I'd have been devoured by trolls already.

Cherokee Freedmen update

The Cherokee Freedmen issue hasn’t been much in the news lately, but it’s still going on. The Hill has an update: A dispute between the Cherokee Nation and members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) looks likely to continue despite a lobbying push that the tribe had hoped would resolve the issue. […] The Cherokees […]

the disenrollment trend

Another angle on the Cherokee Freedmen story is that it is part of a larger problem in Indian Country of disenrollment being used as a political tactic. An unfortunate side effect of rising wealth in the tribes is a new temptation for unscrupulous groups to reduce the number of people they have to share with.

Cherokee Freedmen comments

Tazmin: Thank you for the comments. We will probably continue to disagree, but I appreciate hearing your perspective. I’ve put up a response at my new blog here.  I do agree that the media has not done the best job of covering the issue, so if there are better sources of information that you would […]

comments on Cherokee Freedmen

Tazmin comments on a post at my old blog about the Cherokee Freedmen: On the other hand, with so many wannabe groups out there claiming to be Native American with the intent to scam the unknowing public, verifying legitimate groups are essential. If someone is not Native American then they should not be a citizen […]

Cherokee Freedmen posts

If you are here looking for info on the Cherokee Freedmen, you can find my latest posts at the new blog: Who is an Indian? Race, sovereignty, politics Don’t use that word

don’t use that word

I agree with almost everything in today’s Our View on the Cherokee Freedmen. I have to take issue with one line, though. The editorial approvingly cites Rep. Diane Watson’s comment that expulsion of the Cherokee Freedmen is akin to “ethnic cleansing.” That is a totally inappropriate use of the term, which typically refers to the […]

race, sovereignty, politics

The AP picks up on some Cherokee Freedmen related ugliness in California: Diane Ross-Neal grew up hearing about her Cherokee heritage, so when the tribe promoted clubs for the thousands of members living in California, it seemed natural for her to share her own story. She soon realized that not everyone wanted to hear it. […]

who is an Indian, pt. 3

I have followed the Cherokee Freedmen story quite a bit at my old blog. If you’re unfamiliar with what is going on, here’s a quick primer: The Freedmen are descendants of slaves once held by Cherokees. The tribe originally sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War, so after the war the federal government required […]

who is an Indian, pt. 2

A letter-to-the-editor in the LA Times makes a curious leap of logic on why the Freedmen should be excluded from the Cherokee Nation. Here is the full text of the letter: Re “Who’s a Cherokee?” Opinion, July 10 Heather Williams writes that the Cherokee tribal constitution has been amended to require proof of a by-blood […]

in other news from Indian Country

I’ve been getting a decent amount of Google traffic on the Cherokee Freedmen posts, but there’s a bit of a lull in Freedmen news lately. And I don’t want to make it sound like there’s only bad news out of Native America — a couple recent articles in Indian Country Today paint a rosier picture. […]

spy games

This is a week old, but there’s a long article in my hometown paper about reactions to the bill to sever relations with the Cherokee Nation that has serious problems. It quotes a lot of people involved but does little to make the issue any clearer, and in some ways even adds confusion. According to […]

Freedmen update

There have been several recent developments on the Cherokee Freedmen. Chad Smith won reelection this weekend, beating Stacy Leeds, the former chief justice of the Cherokee Supreme Court, with 59% of the vote. Both candidates said they supported the tribes’ right to determine its own members, but Leeds had written the original decision that revoked […]

who is an Indian

A recent Time Magazine article comes out strongly in favor of the Cherokee Freedmen. This point deserves reemphasizing: When Cherokee voters decided to strip the Freedmen of their full membership they were essentially legitimizing the one-drop rule. At the turn of the 19th century, the U.S. government relied on that racist tool, originally used to […]

by any other name

One of the most irritating recent tendencies in American politics is the rise of PR-tested catchphrases meant to twist language for partisan ends (“death tax” being the nonpareil example). Now you don’t even need to live in Washington DC to play that game. Witness this statement on the Cherokee Freedmen by Principal Chief Chad Smith: […]

Freedmen again

Indian Country Today gives a brief history of the struggle between Cherokee abolitionists and slaveholders during the Civil War, and how that influences today’s crisis over the Cherokee Freedmen. It shows that both competing definitions of native citizenship have deep roots within the Cherokee people. It is false to say the freedmen and others were […]

Phoenix on Freedmen

The Muskogee Phoenix is brief, direct, and totally right about the Cherokee Freedmen and constitution.

Cherokee Freedmen pt. 3

I said before that I was going to comment on my own reactions to the Cherokee Freedmen dispute, but I was having trouble finding a point of entry. I admit my first response on hearing about the vote was disappointment with the Cherokees. Despite the protests of Cherokees and the conclusions of the AIPMI report, […]

Cherokee Freedmen pt. 2

The recent controversy is only the latest in a dispute going back to the 19th century and described by the Tulsa Tribune in 1960 as a “judicial jungle.”1 Following the Civil War, in which the Cherokee Nation allied with the Confederacy, the Treaty of 1866 officially extended “all the rights of Native Cherokees” to the […]

Cherokee Freedmen pt. 1

This was originally a paper for a political science class, but it is an interesting topic so I thought I would repurpose it as a blog post. This is the first of three parts. The second will provide some legal and historical background, and the third will give my own views. On March 3, Cherokee […]

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