Cherokee youth open letter: 'Prevent the passage of H.R. 7263 introduced by Rep. Markwayne Mullin'

ICT OPINION

This legislation would prevent the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians from taking land into trust without the express consent of the Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation citizens Brian Barlow, James Wagnon, and Sky Wildcat

(Due to fear of reprisal, not all supporters of this letter are comfortable with releasing their names.)

We, young Cherokee Nation citizens, are asking for the prevention of the passage of H.R. 7263 introduced by Representative Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee Nation.)

This piece of congressional legislation would prevent the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians from taking land into trust within our shared 14-county Tribal Jurisdiction Service Area without the express consent of the Cherokee Nation.

The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Cherokee Nation belong to the Cherokee community, and we seek to remind us all of what that means, what the passage of this bill can do, and what we can do to prevent it.

As Native youth, we feel it is important to share our views.

Here is where we stand:

The Cherokee community provides a life of priceless culture, values, traditions, connections, and most importantly, family.

Cherokee means resilience. We recognize where we come from, and how much further we can go. Cherokee also means balance (Utiyvhi); we acknowledge both our faults and our successes.

Our successes are to be celebrated, here are examples of ways to foster such success:

  • Supporting Cherokee students through college.
  • Building sustainable homes for elders
  • Preserving our land and water against Sequoyah Fuels
  • Continued commitment to the revitalization of our language
  • Commitment of resources to youth leadership development

While we have much to be proud of, we must also tend to the parts of our nation which need healing.

One of the biggest threats to our future is the strained relationship between our nation (Tsalagihi Ayetli) and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (Anigaduwagi.)

Colonization has separated us as three tribal governments; it doesn’t define our kinship, and it doesn’t define how we treat each other. We all come from the same culture, language (gawonihisdi), and traditions.

When our ancestors were forcibly removed (aneseho digetsiyiilvstvna) to Indian territory, there was a point on their journey that they could no longer look back home and see the mountains or land that built them; they had to keep looking forward. Our generation will mend this relationship, and to do so we must look forward.

Our first step—while centering healing and co-existence—is preventing the passage of H.R. 7263 introduced by Representative Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee Nation.)

The Cherokee Nation is attempting to wield its political currency within the U.S. Congress through the explicit influence of a Cherokee Congressman in an attempt to diminish the United Keetoowah Band’s ability to act as a sovereign tribal nation.

The federal court system has affirmed United Keetoowah Band’s sovereign ability to take land into trust within our shared jurisdiction area. This legislation is a blatant attempt to prioritize Cherokee Nation’s sovereignty above that of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees.

We are writing this letter today because we believe our message is important. We are writing this letter for those who cannot speak up for fear of intimidation.

We are writing this letter because we believe in the inherent ability of Cherokees to resolve our own disputes internally rather than seeking external mandates from the U.S. Congress.

We are writing this letter because we want a better future for all Cherokees.

We look forward to a future of collaboration and shared prosperity. We want to be good relatives to each other and to share the home we both claim as the heart of our people.

We as Cherokees—Chief, Deputy Chief, and Council Members included—must oppose this legislation. This is our call to action. This is our stand. This is our tomorrow.

Signed by Cherokee Nation citizens Brian Barlow, James Wagnon, and Sky Wildcat

(Due to fear of reprisal, not all supporters of this letter are comfortable with releasing their names.)

ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗᏳ ᏕᏣᏓᏰᎸᏎᏍᏗ

Treat each other’s existence as being sacred or important

Comments (3)
No. 1-2
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I would remind the Cherokee Nation, that they finally arrived in Oklahoma Territory, that we UKB people were already here. The government had dealt with the UKB about the land. If you look at a map of Indian territory, you will see that the Cherokee Nation was in the northren part and the UKB were given the southren half of all that the government gave to them both. When Cherokee arrived we gracously embraced them, we open our arms to them. But now they want the whole pie, traditionally if your mother was white you were not considered Cherokee, and they had connections in Washington and they used them to their advantage, we were here before them how can they own all the land. Think about this, the way Cherokee Nation is treating UKB people is not Indian.

Xxoooo
Xxoooo

Agreed!!!


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