What if I decided I wanted to be German, but since the government there would not recognize me as a citizen, I started my own nation called "The German Nation of the United States"? What if I sold citizenship cards to other people who were also not accepted as German citizens? What if I and my fellow "Germans" started having gatherings where the public was invited to share in our versions of German culture and learn our versions of German traditions? What if we sang songs in our version of the German language? What if we told our family stories and said they were part of German history even though those stories were in direct contrast to actual German history? What if we said we were the "free Germans" who refused to be held under the iron fist of Hitler or any other German government? What if we petitioned the United Nations for recognition as our own nation? Would this be absurd? Of course it would. Would it be an insult to real German people? Of course it would. If someone did something like that, it would be viewed as terribly wrong and people everywhere would oppose it.
If it is wrong to do this to a recognized nation in the world, then why is it okay to do it to a federally recognized Indian nation? Federal recognition is not something handed out willy nilly by the government. Recognition is a legal term that means the
For Cherokees, this means after the forced removal, one had to be living either in Indian Territory or among the Eastern Cherokees in North Carolina. There were no other Cherokee communities in the United States that had a government to government relationship with the United States. Any former citizens of the historical Cherokee Nation had renounced their citizenship and had become citizens of the United States, just like any other person who had left the nation of their birth. This means they not only forfeited their own citizenship and rights to the Cherokee Nation, but also the citizenship and rights of all their descendants.
There are only three federally recognized Cherokee tribes in the United States, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. But, there are over 200 fake Cherokee tribes masquerading as authentic Indians. These fake tribes are often composed of people who have no documented connection to the historical Cherokee Nation. Despite this, these people claim to be Cherokee and start their own "tribes" since they are not accepted by any of the three authentic tribes.
These "tribes" offer membership with little to no proof of any Cherokee ancestry required. They hold gatherings and pow wows where they "teach" their ideas of Cherokee history and tradition. They sing in bad versions of the Cherokee language and tell their family stories as if they are actually part of Cherokee history even though there is no proof to verify what they claim. These "tribes" call themselves the free, disenfranchised or lost Cherokee. Often the people in these tribes claim their ancestors refused to "sign the roll" or refused to bow down to the government. These tribes clog up the federal recognition process with their attempts to become accepted and recognized as Cherokees. Is this absurd? Of course it is. Is this an insult to real Cherokee people? Of course it is. But, people do this all the time and few people, other than real Cherokees, see anything wrong with it.
Well, there is something wrong with it. These people are making money by impersonating Indians and in my opinion, it is both morally and criminally wrong. After all, if I made money by pretending to be a well known person, I would probably be arrested for criminal impersonation. These fake tribes should be no different.
The authentic Cherokee tribes are made up of descendants of those listed on either the Dawes or Baker Rolls. Those rolls include the names of citizens who stayed with their nations; helped clear and farm their nations' land; helped build their nations' businesses and schools; participated in their nations' governments; and defended their nations in times of war and unrest. Through their loyalty to their nations, those Cherokee citizens paid the price for their descendants to have the right to call themselves Cherokee. No one else has that right. In the past, everyone wanted to steal our land. Now they want to steal our identity. What is next? Our first born child? Oh, wait, that's been done already..........When will these crimes against Indians stop?
Those are my thoughts for today.
Thank you for reading.
copyright 2009, Polly's Granddaughter - TCBTweet