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Stop all the whining...

September 21 2008 at 9:27 AM
david cornsilk  (Login davidacornsilk)

What's with all this whining about who is and isn't on the Congressional Black Caucus panel on the Freedmen? I was scheduled to speak last year and couldn't make it. I'm going this year and am not scheduled. So what? At least there is a panel and the issue remains before Congress and the American people.

It seems to me what is going on is an effort to regain a voice by those who have been shut out of the process by their OWN choice to create dissention and division in the Freedmen movement.

Eleanor "Gypsy" Wyatt and her gang of socalled chiefs, Angela Molette and her socalled Freedmen Nations and anyone else who is not behind the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Tribes just want their name in the limelight. Get over yourselves.

Wyatt's group wants federal recognition for the Freedmen separate from their tribal nations. She wants a casino. Molette is no different, although she has not made her financial desires known, I believe she sees herself as High Priestess of a Freedmen Nation. If these people put as much effort into supporting the Freedmen movement as they do in pushing their own agendas, who knows where things might be by now.

Marilyn Vann is the president of the group that represents ALL of the Freedmen of the Five Tribes. Her participation in the panel covers them all, period, enough said. And FYI, Marilyn is a descendant of both Cherokee and Chickasaw Freedmen. Her blood ancestry alone speaks for both groups.

Joe Byrd is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, a tribe with cases that are now in the federal courts and the only tribe with a case in tribal or federal court. The Cherokee Nation is the main focus of the Watson Bill even though it does include the other tribes. The other freedmen don't have a case in any court.

Jon Velie was the attorney of record for the Seminole Freedmen. He won their citizenship back at great financial and personal cost to himself. While it is true the Seminole Freedmen have second class citizenship, there are no lawsuits, no petitions, nothing that would give an indication that a majority of the Seminole Freedmen are dissatisfied with their fate. The CBC Conference is a missed opportunity for the Seminole Freedmen to have delivered a written memorial petition to Congress regarding their plight.

And in the end, what did the Seminole Freedmen want? They got their vote back, all they need do now is get out the vote and elect leadership that will change the laws of THEIR nation. A voting block is a powerful tool of democracy. It is not the business of Congress to do the work that should be done by the Seminole Freedmen themselves.

The Creek Freedmen have Allen Mitchell to speak for them. He is a Creek Freedman. Has anyone asked that their concerns be included in his speech? Creek Freedmen situation is nearly identical to the Choctaw Freedmen. Has anyone bothered to ask him to mention the plight of the Choctaw Freedmen?

The Watson Bill addresses all five tribes and their freedmen. The Chickasaw Freedmen constitute a whole other ball of wax. At this moment, they are included because they are Freedmen, not because they have any justiciable rights in the Chickasaw Nation.

And finally, while the Freedmen of the Five slave-holding tribes may see themselves as one people, NO ONE ELSE DOES. Yes, they are black and that ties them together. They are oppressed and that ties them together. There is strength in numbers and that ties them together. But they are all separated by their national origins in one or more of the Five Tribes and the laws and treaties applying only to each tribe.

Clearly, the passage of time and separation from the Nation of their ancestors has nearly extinguished the Freedmen's sense of belonging to SEPARATE tribes with discrete rights and obligations NOT binding upon the other tribes.

I don't know what the effect of all this whining will have, but I supsect that those who have fought for the Freedmen are feeling a little abused themselves right now.

David Cornsilk

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