We tend to think of both Native Americans and African Americans as cultural and ethnic groups who have been treated badly by history. But one thing most people DON’T know is that Indians once kept SLAVES. Now the freedmen who are the descendents of slaves kept by wealthy members of the Cherokee nation are fighting to be accepted of members of the tribe.

The tribe wants to expel them and the US government is condemning this. The US Constitution was partially based on the constitution of the Cherokees and they are our nation’s largest Indian tribe. When Cherokee chief Stand Watie became the last confederate general to surrender in the Civil War, he signed a treaty that emancipated these slaves. Current chiefs Ross Swimmer and Wilma Mankiller have created a new requirement that all Cherokee should have a certificate of degree of Indian blood, which strips the freedmen of their membership in the tribe. 2,800 freedmen lost immediately their status as tribal citizens, including their right to food aid and medical services from the US government.

In the Guardian Weekly, James MacKay quotes Larry Echo Hawk, assistant secretary for Indian affairs, as saying "The department (of the Interior)’s position is, and has been, that the 1866 treaty between the US and the Cherokee nation vested Cherokee freedmen with rights of citizenship in the nation." We guess this just goes to show that prejudice spreads in all directions. At unknowncountry.com we know all too well about the prejudice against "contactees" and experiencers. Have Whitley and Anne fended off so many attacks over the years, only to die from neglect today? Only YOU can change that: Subscribe today–it’s the ONLY WAY to MAKE SURE we’ll still be here tomorrow!

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