The Cherokee Nation

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The history of Native Americans in the United States is one filled with hardships and injustice. Even now, tribes continue to be denied what they believe has rightfully been earned by their own tribal government. The Cherokee Nation, the largest federally recognized Native American Nation, has been immersed into a political standoff between members of their own government, congress, and formally Cherokee tribal members over citizenship requirements. Citizenship for Native Americans has continually been a recurring dispute among tribe members concerning the ever-changing criteria set by tribal governments. For more than a hundred years, African/Indian mix blooded Cherokees known as Freedmen, slaves of Cherokee blood freed after the Civil War, …show more content…
Once the United States Government began to dissolve slavery in the country, they also sought ways to deal with the large amount of slaves in the Cherokee Nation. As the single largest slave owning Native American nation, the government required full abolishment of all Cherokee slaves. It is stated in the Treaty with the Cherokee in 1866, Article 9, that not only will the Cherokees be required to abolish all slavery in their territory, they must accept them as Cherokee Citizens legally deserving of all benefits that title should receive. (Treaty with the Cherokee) This treaty automatically granted tribal citizenship to all Freedmen in the Cherokee territory, without concerns of their blood quantum, the term used to describe the direct genealogy of an individual’s descendants. This treaty neglected any requirements of blood quantum percentage, and instead discriminatingly placed Freedmen and Cherokee citizens on two separate tribal rolls, documents used to verify tribal citizenship, based on racial appearances. Cherokee citizenship was then further described in the Dawes Acts in 1898. In general, this act created a census in 1900 that used “previous tribal rolls of citizenship… as a basis” for emission into the Dawes Rolls. This census categorized Freedmen and other Cherokee citizens on separate Dawe’s Indian cards, one for Native Americans appearing Cherokees, and a Freedmen Card that “did not include blood quantum information.” (Miller 215) At the time, the Dawes Act doesn’t seem an issue for the Freedmen, however, when analyzed we can see a clear sign of racism towards the Freedmen. As we continue to analyze the Freedmen’s case, racism becomes an underlining aspect in the loss of the Freedmen’s rights. In the 1980’s, this treaty eventually became one of the leading arguments against the Cherokee nation in the Freedmen’s defense of their

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