Descendants Of Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes
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We need assistance for our legal defense funds, for our ongoing lawsuit against the Department of Interior regarding the rights of the Cherokee Freedmen. Contributions for the lawsuit may be sent to the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Association Oklahoma City postbox, or they may be sent directly to the law firm of Velie and Velie, 210 East Main Street, Suite 222, Norman, Oklahoma, 73069. The Velie law firm can be contacted at 405-364-2525. Contributions of any size are welcome and appreciated. Be sure to reference that the funds are for the Freedmen lawsuit, Cherokee Freedmen, freedmen litigation, etc. Remember, Freedom and justice are not free!
How You can Assist the Freedmen Descendants
1) If you are currently enrolled in the 5 nations, you can educate yourself on the Freedmen issues. You can then work with other non-enrolled Freedmen descendants and enrolled tribal members to raise awareness of the Freedmen plight and seek to work within the tribe to ensure that the Freedmen rights are upheld by seeking changes to tribal constitutions, tribal council acts, etc.
2) If you are an unenrolled Freedmen descendant, we encourage you to do all you can to find out about your own family history and the history of your ancestors tribe. Although some Freedmen descendants may not be able to enroll in the tribe of their ancestor at the present time, they can still join their nations Historical society (such as the Cherokee Nation Historical Society, Choctaw Nation Historical Society, etc) and participate in any education opportunities dealing with tribal culture and history which are open to the general public. Such opportunities are limited for those individuals who live outside of Oklahoma since the majority of activities are centered in the tribal jurisdictional areas. (For Example, Chickasaw nation jurisdictional areas include Carter County, Stevens County; Choctaw nation jurisdictional areas include Bryant County; Cherokee nation jurisdictional areas include Cherokee and Adair County, etc). The Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Tribes Association does not encourage any individual to aspire to only be a "white Card Indian", i.e., a tribal member who is only there for benefits and has no wish to build up his nation or to have any knowledge of its culture. We attempt to provide information on 5 nations cultural events open to the public.
3) The Descendants of Freedmen of the 5 Civilized Tribes association will work to change BIA policies and Congressional policies which treat descendants of 5 nations freedmen tribal members different from the descendants of 5 nations tribal members who have no African descent. Success of Such efforts will partly depend on the presumed importance of the issue to the black community and others who support civil rights and treaty rights. Descendants of Freedmen will call on their supporters to contact members of Congress and BIA officials directly to enforce laws passed more than 100 years ago. (i.e. the treaties of 1866). A petition drive is currently under way which calls for Congress to change Federal Indian policy in regards to the Descendants of Freedmen. We invite you to participate in this effort.
4) You may become a voting member of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Association if you had an ancestor on the Dawes Freedmen rolls of the 5 tribes. Membership Cost is currently $30 per fiscal year, with a $300 lifetime membership cost. For those who are not descendants of freedmen (or who do not wish to document their lineage from a freedmen ancestor), you may become an official non-voting supporter of the association. Cost for supporters is also $30 per fiscal year , and $300 for a lifetime supporter. An individual who documents his lineage from a freedmen ancestor after originally becoming a supporter can transfer to a voting member status at no additional cost to himself. A supporter will have access to the same discounts for workshops, conferences , etc. that a member would have. Both members and supporters receive the quarterly newsletter free of charge. We invite you to join our grassroots organization to obtain justice for the descendants of freedmen. To obtain a copy of our membership application, Petition or to obtain a packet for our upcoming conference to be held in May 2003 contact us
Other litigation news: Note - This analysis was prepared by Robin Mayes, an enrolled Cherokee and a descendant of former Principal Chief John Ross, who signed the treaty of 1866 between the Cherokee nation and the US government just before his death.
USA Supports Apartheid in Oklahoma
That’s right, the United States of America Department of Interior Bureau of Indian affairs has knuckled under and submitted to political pressure applied by the most powerful and most corrupt Indian Tribe, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. The so-called Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has existed since 1975 and claims to be the same Cherokee Nation that has government to government relations by treaty etc… but refuses to honor a treaty promulgated by the president and ratified by the congress in 1866. This 1866 treaty recognizes black slaves owned by Cherokees as full Citizens of the Cherokee Nation. This action was consistently applied to all States and other Tribes after the Civil War but the racist tyrant Chad Smith and his captains are determined to continue to deny Cherokee Citizens, who are Black, their right to vote and access needed health benefits etc… The Cherokee election of May 24th 2003 has been challenged on a variety of serious irregularities including the fact that Cherokee Citizens known as "Freedmen" were disenfranchised. The issues were properly raised in Tribal Court but were finally and unjustly put down. A group of candidates continued to seek resolution and having exhausted internal remedies took the issues to the Bureau of Indian Affairs regional office in Muskogee Oklahoma. The BIA initially aligned itself with the obvious legal position that the Cherokee elections were fatally flawed due to the irregularities including the disenfranchisement of Citizens known as the descendants of Cherokee Freedmen. A sudden change in attitude occurred after the efforts of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma so called leaders made contacts in Washington D. C.. Now we see Chad Smith going outside the scope of his authority to withhold payment to the law firm representing the elected Cherokee officials and the "Freedmen." This is an act of desperation in the face of a Federal lawsuit that would surly result in the overturning of the election riddled with infraction that allows Chad Smith to continue his reign of tyranny. The irony and the tragedy of it all is that this is not the first time justice and freedom have been thwarted by the undermining of funding to support the fight. More than twenty years ago a group of Freedmen led by a Reverend Nero took this same issue to Federal Court but had to back away and see their justice flounder due to the fact the funds to support the effort were exhausted. What a tragic and shameful thing it is to realize that the $20,000.00 the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Tribal Council legally and appropriately issued to the law firm of Velie and Velie in a signed contract to take this case to Federal Court has been pulled by Chad Smith. Jon Velie who is used to working with minimal funds felt he should commit half of this money to another law firm in D. C. to achieve the filing of this lawsuit in advance of his receiving the funds from Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Now he is responsible for payment with out resources. Mr. Velie has sacrificed much for this cause for many years now. Believe it or not there are lawyers that truly work for justice. Even if it cost them more than should be expected. So, once again Black Cherokee Citizens are seeing their hopes for justice dashed against the rocks for the lack of funding. Can the good people in the world allow this happen? What can be done and who should help? If there were 20 thousand concerned enough to send only 1 dollar the amount could be raised. If there were 10 thousand concerned enough to send only 2 dollars the amount could be raised. If there were 5 thousand concerned enough to send only 4 dollars the amount could be raised. If there were 1 thousand concerned enough to send only 20 dollars the amount could be raised. I, a descendant of slave owners will commit to $100.00 and challenge 199 others to do the same.
Please send any amount you can to:
For the FREEDMEN
Velie & Velie Attorneys at law
210 East Main Street, Suite 222
Norman, Oklahoma 73069
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