The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
Can Native Americans survive another decade? Not without your help!
Sunday, January 27th, 2008
Prior to the European invasion, the Tsalagi / Cherokee Nation once lived on land that is now Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
After the illegal removal of Native Americans onto reservations, the remains of the Cherokee nation are now scattered across the land between North Carolina to Oklahoma. The Cherokee nation now exists of a reservation in Oklahoma and a reservation in North Carolina. The Cherokee that escaped removal, have formed their own tribes but these tribes are only recognized at the State level, and receive none of the benefits that rightfully belong to them.
These state recognized tribes simply don't have the resources to continue Cherokee traditions, and more importantly, are unable to save our language and culture. They are splintering into pieces and are competing with each other with an elitist view of who should belong to their tribes. This causes me great pain because I am most proud of the fact that the Cherokee people have a long history of accepting anyone into the tribe that wanted to belong. It didn't matter if you were white, black, red, or purple. Anyone who wanted to join or marry into the tribe have always been accepted with open arms. Unfortunately, the smaller break-away tribes have adopted policies of greed and discrimination.
By most state laws, it was illegal to be an "Indian" living off of the reservation. Many true descendents of the Cherokee people were forced to lie about their true heritage or they risked imprisonment, being forcibly removed, and sometimes put to death.
I wanted to introduce legislation that would reunite all Cherokee into a single unified tribe, but I've come across an unbelievable amount of resistance. Since the rolls taken during the "Indian" removal were not accurate, my request was for the membership rolls be reopened, this time using DNA to prove the heritage of the disenfranchised Native Americans.
Since I am Echota Cherokee (which is only recognized by the state of Alabama), I have no vote or say in the affairs of the two federal tribes. I think my proposal is fair to all people, but I don't have enough support to move forward.
I ask that any Native American who shares my view to please forward this to your chiefs, your tribal council, and all of our brothers and sisters.
Here is a quote that pretty much sums it up:
"The time will come...when the few remnants of our once happy and improving Nation will be viewed by posterity with curious and gazing interest as relics of a brave and noble race... Perhaps, only here and there a solitary being, walking, 'as a ghost over the ashes of his fathers,' to remind a stranger that such a race once existed."
(November 25th, 1836)
-- Gary Wright II