Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How the Freedmen Deal went Down, Part I

In a September whirlwind, Acting Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden (APCSJC) was in the middle of a political firestorm that was more than he bargained for.  The CN Supreme Court kicked freedmen out of the tribe on his eighth day as APC.

A couple of weeks later the BIA told him they weren’t going to recognize PC2011 Election 2.0 if the freedmen couldn’t vote.  And they couldn’t, because they weren’t citizens.

APCSJC immediately sprung into action, working with the BIA, freedmen and everyone else to make a deal so the election could happen and he could become DCSJC, which is what he always wanted.  

A lot of us wanted to know what the hell happened.  How did we get here, as a Nation?  Who talked to whom, how was this deal made and was it really necessary? 

Someone was smart enough to request the documents as part of our open government here at Cherokee Nation.  What they actually asked for was this:  “Please provide all written emails, letters and phone call notes, travel, meeting dates and topics Acting Chief Joe Crittenden and ANY of his staff, liaisons, contractors or other types of representatives have had with Larry Echo Hawk, Echo Hawk’s staff, BIA officials, DOI officials, Marilyn Vann, Velie (attorney for Freedmen), any other Freedmen plaintiffs or representatives and DOJ concerning the Freedmen, citizenship for the Freedmen, pending Court cases, Judge Kennedy and anyone else associated with this important case for the past six months.”

This request came less than a week after the federal court agreement by APCSJC, and less than two weeks after APCSJC himself said this about how he was going to fix the freedmen situation:  “I hereby re-pledge to the Cherokee People that I will be transparent and truthful.”

So what did we end up with?  A 94 page document responding to this public records request that is ASPSJC’s version of being “transparent and truthful.”  Surely this will finally tell us how we got non-citizens changed back into citizens just hours before our do-over Principal Chief election.  And for those of you who think this isn’t relevant, just remember: this citizenship compromise that APCSJC came up with in his 67 days as Acting Principal Chief is still with us now and may be for the rest of our lives.  So how did it happen?  Find out what the public record documents show in tomorrow’s Cherokee Truth.

1 comment:

  1. Dianne Hammons made this deal not the Chief. I saw her admit it to the Council in a November meeting.