Tahlequah Daily Press

July 11, 2011

Freedmen citizens?


Submitted

TAHLEQUAH — Editor: Daily Press

The 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War has come and gone. Yet the attorney for Cherokee Freedmen, John Velie, continues to hammer away at every venue and opportunity to muddy the good name of the Cherokees and cause some of our members to call us racist.

All because our people voted not to accept those Freedmen who could not prove Native American blood of the Cherokee Nation.Slaves and ex-slaves who chose to mate with Cherokees are members now, just as other tribal members of mixed heritage are a part of the tribe from other races and nationalities. Our full-blood population still exists and are pretty a good size.

The Freedmen and their leader, Marylin Vann, still believe in the words Dennis N. Cooley, at the bottom of the article said – that it gave them citizenship in the Cherokee Nation: “They further agree all freedmen who have been liberated by voluntary act of their former owners or by law, as well as all free colored people who were in the country at the commencement if the rebellion, and are now residents therein, or who may return within six months, and their descendants, shall have all rights of the Native Cherokees.”

This is my copy of the Treaty with the Cherokees in 1866 signed by D.N. Cooley, commissioner of Indian Affairs, and six delegates from the Cherokee Nation.

Please explain how the above passage above denotes citizenship.

John A. Ketcher

Tahlequah