We don’t necessarily want to be all freedmen all the time, but seeing as how some of them are trying to stop the election from even happening at all, and they’ve got the election commission, APCSJC, the Cherokee Nation Attorney General, HUD and New York Times all fired up, we thought we’d look into it further.
The interesting thing to us is closer to home: some freedmen are unhappy with their tribal court attorney Ralph Keen trying to get their citizenship rights in tribal court.
According to the Tahlequah Daily Press, some of them “don’t believe Mr. Keen has our best interests in mind,” because the BIA “was willing to step in to help us and we believe Keen was hired to avoid this happening.”
Considering Keen has been on the case since at least January of 2008, and won the case in district court three years later, it sure seems like he has done okay representing their interests. Certainly none of his clients seemed to mind while he was keeping their citizenship active despite a constitutional amendment saying otherwise. And the BIA certainly wasn’t stepping to the defense of the freedmen in 2008, so it is really hard to believe that he was hired to avoid the BIA protecting the freedmen’s rights. The BIA wasn’t protecting their rights in 2008, but a tribal court was-- because Keen was in court fighting for them.
So, we asked ourselves, how would we act if our lawyer gave us what we wanted for four years, won a court case, lost on appeal and thenasked the court for a do-over trying for a win again?
Well, if we really wanted to win the case, we’d say go for it! Especially if the other side beat us, but then said the do-over was okay. We’d be pretty happy that our lawyer seemed to be working the system.
It’d be like Texas losing to OU, and OU agreeing to play 5th quarter (even though they didn’t have to) just to give Texas a chance to catch back up. In this situation, the Freedmen are Texas. They lost. The Cherokee Nation is giving them another chance, and they are mad at the guy who asked for-- and received-- this gift from the judicial heavens. Keen should go in the lawyer’s hall of fame for this, but instead, some of his clients say they’d rather have the federal court case go forward.
If they want citizenship, the shortest path is through tribal courts, because that’s where their rights have been won before. The federal court case is eight years old. If the freedmen want to be part of the Cherokee Nation, is it too much to ask they want to be part of our court system too?
|So Whatcha, Whatcha, Whatcha WANT??!|
What’s different about the federal court case? Oh yeah! The termination of the Cherokee Nation. And no election. Is that what the freedmen really want?