IN SUPPORT OF THE CHEROKEE FREEDMEN
WHEREAS, Freedmen, the descendants of African slaves owned by Native American tribal members, went with them to new settlements in Oklahoma from traditional Native American lands in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and other areas during the forced migration known as the “Trail of Tears”;
WHEREAS, according to the Sequoyah Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas, the Cherokee Nation, one of the largest and wealthiest tribes in the United States, was a multi-racial, multi-cultural, constitutional nation whose citizenship was based on birth or adoption;
WHEREAS, Cherokee Freedmen gained their first citizenship in the Cherokee Nation pursuant to the Treaty of 1866, which acknowledged the Nation’s surrender in conjunction with the defeat of the Confederacy;
WHEREAS, Cherokee Freedmen gained their second citizenship in 1901 when the United States made all of the citizens of the Cherokee Nation citizens of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the tribal lineage of Black Native Americans is rich in history and precedent, Cherokee Freedmen in particular actively participated in the economic, social, and political life of the tribes, including voting and running for political office.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) acknowledges the unique heritage and rich contributions of the Cherokee Freedmen to the nation and the world;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NBCSL encourages its members to join the Cherokee Freedmen in celebrating and promoting 140 years of citizenship in the Cherokee Nation;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NBCSL applauds actions taken by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure the inclusion of the Cherokee Freedmen and enforcement of the 1866 Treaty;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NBCSL requests that the President of the United States require the Bureau of Indian Affairs to appoint a liaison to address, investigate, or engage with Freedmen Indians on Freedmen tribal issues from any federally recognized tribe including, but not limited to, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Seminoles and Creeks; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, and other federal and state government officials as appropriate.
SPONSOR: Senator Constance N. Johnson (OK)
Committee of Jurisdiction: Law, Justice, and Ethics Policy Committee
Certified by Committee Chair: Senator Thelma Harper (TN)
Ratified in Plenary Session: Ratification Date is December 9, 2011
Ratification is certified by: Representative Barbara W. Ballard (KS), President