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Congress tells Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma: No Funding

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  • Congress tells Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma: No Funding

    Congress Tells Congress tells Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma: No Funding until upholds Treaty Obligations

    Freedmen’s cause gains momentum in Congress

    The Freedmen Band of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (FBCNO) gained more Congressional support yesterday, when the House Committee on Financial Services voted on an amendment to restrict Housing and Urban Development funding to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

    In June, Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-Calif.) introduced H.R. 2824, a bill to sever U.S. relations with and halt federal funding to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma until such time that it restores full tribal citizenship rights to the Freedmen.

    `Cherokee Nation until it restores full tribal citizenship rights to black Cherokees, known as Freedmen, and fully complies with the Treaty of 1866. In March 2007, the Cherokee Nation voted to remove the Freedmen from the Nation. In May, the Cherokee court temporarily reinstated the Freedmen on a limited basis.

    Marylin Vann, Band Chief of the FBCNO said “This amendment is a clear message to Cherokee Officials – you must act like an honorable sovereign nation and honor your official agreements and the rule of law, or suffer the consequences. We [Freedmen] are very grateful to Congressman Watt, Congresswoman Diane Watson and the Congressional Black Congress for their support in our fight for equality.” We have authorized our representatives to return to the conference table if the Cherokees are willing to resume “good faith negotiations “ for a equitable resolution to these issues.

    “The Cherokee Nation’s push to disenfranchise the Cherokee Freedmen represents a fundamental injustice that must not go unchecked,” said Congresswoman Watson. “Nothing less than an affirmative and decisive Congressional response will suffice. I commend Congressman Watt for offering an amendment that sends a clear signal to the Cherokee leadership that Congress will not tolerate their attempts to remove the Freedmen.”

    H.R. 2824 currently has 23 cosponsors and has been endorsed by the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP) and the National Congress of Black Women. These and other civil rights organizations have typically been united with Native Americans on civil and human rights issues.

    “The Cherokee Nation’s blatant acts of disregard for those (CBC /African American political Constituency ) who have been the staunchest allies of Native Americans in their quest for justice and opposition against the shameful conduct of the U.S. government, can no longer be tolerated in Congress, or anywhere else,” said Dr. Ron Daniels, noted national civil rights leader associated with the Freedmen Band. “This gross offense against these African American civil rights, human rights and political leaders and organizations, and deceptive quest for ethnic purity threatens to do irreparable damage to that relationship.”

    In August, Congresswoman Watson is planning a trip to Oklahoma to participate in a series of town hall meeting in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Muskogee as a show of support for the Freedmen Band of the Cherokee Nation. Representatives of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, Oklahoma Chapter or the NAACP and others will co-sponsor the meetings and travel with her delegation.

    “What the Cherokees hope we remember to forget is that the Cherokees were once the largest slave-holding tribe in America, and that, in 1861, they severed their relationship with the United States, allied themselves with the Confederate States and waged war against America to defend the abominable practice of slavery,” said Vann. “To make amends, they signed the Treaty of 1866, granting us full citizenship rights. We plan to hold them to that promise.”

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