Congressional Black Caucus (and Barney Frank) Continue Assault on Tribal Sovreignty (Cherokee)

( – promoted by navajo)

I just received an email from a fellow tribal attorney in regards to the ongoing Congressional Black Caucus – Cherokee Nation dispute.  Apparently Barney Frank has appointed his conferees to the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act conference committee.

I just received an email from a fellow tribal attorney in regards to the ongoing Congressional Black Caucus – Cherokee Nation dispute.  Apparently Barney Frank has appointed his conferees to the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act conference committee.

The Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act is being used as a vehicle to further the dispute between the Congressional Black Caucus and the Cherokee Nation.  The CBC has promised to hold up funds because the Cherokee Nation has voted, twice, to remove the Freedmen, who cannot prove they are descendents of tribal members.

While I am not a fan of the decision by the tribe, http://thehill.com/… control over membership is an aspect of the inherent sovereignty tribes enjoy because of their status as PRE-EXISTING SOVEREIGNS.  

The Supreme Court has affirmed this in the case of Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, where a Pueblo restricted tribal membership to essentially patrilineal descendents.

http://www.utulsa.edu/…

Senator Obama, our Presidential Candidate and a constitutional law scholar, has indicated he disagrees with Watson and supports the Cherokee Nation’s sovereignty, while disagreeing with the decision.

http://thehill.com/…

Rep. Dianne Watson has been laboring under the misapprehension that the Cherokee’s sovereignty stems from a post-Civil War Treaty.

http://thehill.com/…

Congresswoman Watson has united the CBC and caused unnecessary tension within the Obama coalition, by attacking not only the Cherokee Nation, but also holding up funding for all tribes and undermining tribal sovereignty across a broad front.  Now is a time for building coalitions, not fracturing them.

Congressman Frank is exacerbating the problem.

“Last week the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee (Barney Frank) appointed the House NAHASDA conferees. It appears as if only one conferee, Congressmen Pearce (R-NM), has a federally recognized Tribe in his district. The remaining Majority conferees are predominately Members from the Congressional Black Caucus. Chairman Frank announced on the House floor that he made his conference appointments in order to ensure the Cherokee issue would be addressed.”

Once again, racial politics in America is pitting one minority group’s interests against the interests of another.  This is not change we can believe in.  This is an unnecessary attack on tribal sovereignty and poor strategy by Democrats in the months before a critical and historic national election.  

Once again, Nancy Pelosi has failed to lead the House and keep Democrats united under one tent.  

Indian Country is not unanimous in supporting the effects of the ouster of the Freedmen.  But we are united in defending tribal sovereignty.  

Pelosi should know better.  Watson should know better.  Barney Frank should know better.

Obama adopted into the Crow Nation

( – promoted by navajo)

Cross posted at Daily Kos.

Barack Obama was formally adopted into the Crow Nation today — and given the name “One Who Helps People Throughout the Land.”

I was shocked (although I shouldn’t have been) to learn that he is the first presidential candidate who has ever visited the reservation of the Crow Nation, located in the state of Montana.

In a speech given yesterday, he made strong promises to address historic and present wrongs, and promised to bring improvements in both health care and education to America’s reservations:

The visit was meaningful, said Darrin Old Coyote, a member of the tribe who wore an elaborate headdress. “To have us left out all these years, and then for him to come here, it shows respect, and it makes us optimistic,” Old Coyote said.

The visit also had political value for Obama. The members of the Crow Nation vote as “a close knit bloc,” Old Coyote said. “Now that Senator Obama is part of the family, that is where we will go.”

The Billings Gazette gave some specific details of how Obama intended to address U.S. relationships with the tribes, including his commitment to having a Native American policy advisor on staff and “to holding an annual summit to ensure tribal needs are met.”

Obama talked about understanding what it is like to be viewed as an outsider from mainstream society and to struggle financially.

“I want you to know that I will never forget you,” he said.

The United States government cannot undo wrongs against Indian peoples, he said

But they can elect a president committed to do what’s right for Native Americans.

“And since now I’m a member of the family you know I won’t break my promises to my brothers and sisters.”

I’ve read discussion here and there about native people’s interest in Obama, given that he is from Hawaii. Beyond the powerful symbolism of his candidacy, it seems he has both a genuine concern for marginalized people, and an unerring ability to convey that concern.

Those who argue that Obama isn’t a “real American” perhaps need a lesson in just who the “real Americans” are.