Cherokees of all colors


The Cherokee people are the most biracial Indians in the country. They come in full colors, whether they are full-blood, mixed-blood, white or black. So I am in dismay over a special election in which the Cherokee Nation voted to remove the freedmen off their roster.

The freedmen are the descendants of slaves who became part of the Cherokee Nation as tribal citizens under an 1866 treaty between the Cherokee Nation and federal government. It seems that the proponents, including Cherokee Principal Chief Chad Smith, who petitioned this special election, forgot their history. They claim that the freedmen are non-Indians. If that's the case, then what about the descendants of white settlers? Are they non-Indians?

As an African-American who is of Cherokee descent, [I feel] the action of the March 3 special election tainted the Cherokee people. Going from being the most biracial Indians to the most racially divisive Indians in the country is a shame. The powers that be in the Cherokee Nation need to reconsider their action.

- Billy Trice Jr.

Oakland, Calif.