We talked a lil’ bit about Joe Byrd filing to run for a tribal council seat. The Tulsa World pointed out that Byrd’s years in office were marked by controversy and scandal and that he was acquitted of charges of wiretapping.
He beat the rap, because, according to the World, Byrd pinned the blame on his own handpicked Housing Authority Director, Joel Thompson, who at the time of Byrd’s trial in 1997 was “serving time in prison on a conviction of embezzling federal funds.”
So, there’s that.
|Diane Watson, aka the Cherokee Terminator|
Byrd also has taken a very public pro-freedmen stance. In 2007, when people in Congress were trying to kill off the Cherokee Nation, take our funding away, shut down Hastings and the clinics, what did Byrd do? He sat down with the folks who were trying to shut us down, and, as former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation he… agreed completely with the folks who were trying to kill the Cherokee Nation. Yep. He sat down with the Congressional Black Caucus, Diane Watson and a whole group of people who think Cherokees are racist, and… agreed with them again. Completely: “In this time where I thought that type of treatment was gone, we’re resurfacing some racism here,” Byrd said.
Just to be clear, Byrd spelled it out for the Tulsa World, too, saying “We can go home and leave the freedmen as they are, part of the Cherokee nation.”
Whether freedmen should be citizens or not is one thing. Whether a former chief should side with the Congressmen who are trying to shut down the Cherokee Nation is another thing. And whether Cherokees think that kind of behavior by a former chief is what they are looking for in a Tribal Council candidate is another thing as well.