Debunking of pure BS by
Sometime back a letter sent to the editor Native American
times by a thin blood member of the Cherokee Nation who bills herself
as a story-teller and descendant of Cherokee chief John Ross. Her
attack on Ms. Vann throughout her diatribe is neither unexpected, nor
is it anything new. The letter could have been written during the 1960s
in Alabama by any number of hood wearing denizens of the old South, all
you have to do is replace Ms. Vann's name with that of Martin Luther
King and the Cherokee Nation with Alabama and you have a repeat of
"Letter to the Editor - issue of
Cherokee rolls is Cherokee business"
Author Gayle Ross =(GR)
David Cornsilk response =(DC):
Since the Freedmen are Cherokees, many with blood of the tribe and all
having rights of citizenship, it is their and all of our business.
My name is Gayle Ross and I am an enrolled member of the Cherokee
Nation. I want to respond to the remarks made by Marilyn Vann, but
first I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak and to thank
those who take the time to listen.
At least she got her name right. Or did she? We'll have to check on
that. But Ms. Ross is NOT an "enrolled" member of the Cherokee Nation.
There is no "roll" of Cherokees. There is a registry of descendants of
citizens of the Cherokee Nation and Ms. Ross' name does appear on that
list. Since there is NO CHEROKEE NATION ROLL, it is impossible for Ms.
Ross or any descendant of a Dawes enrolled citizen to be "enrolled."
You may know that Ms Vann has conducted extensive campaigns of both
legal and public relations attacks on the Cherokee Nation.
Ms. Vann has never conducted a "campaign" legal, public or otherwise
against the Cherokee Nation. Her efforts to secure her and all Cherokee
citizens right to vote is against the tyrannical rule of Chad Smith, an
avowed racist who seeks to destroy the rights of Cherokee citizens
simply because they have ancestry traceable to the continent of Africa.
Her campaign is to educate the Cherokee people on the truths of the
Freedmen, that they have Cherokee blood, they have treaty rights, they
are eligible to vote in the elections for the office of Principal Chief
and the efforts to expel them are rooted in racism and fear of their
She represents herself as a victim of "racism" and to do that, she
finds it necessary to distort our history and the facts. I can no
longer listen to her shrill, strident invective smearing the Cherokee
Nation in the name of "her rights". There is too much at stake to stand
silently by as she continues her attacks.
Ms. Ross is just beginning to hear the shrill and strident voices of
the Freedmen of the Cherokee Nation. She better get some really good
ear plugs, because the cacophony of their cries for justice and those
who support them may cause Ms. Ross to lose what little mind she has
Ms Vann says Cherokee people were slave owners and signed a Treaty with
the Confederacy. What she hasn't told you is the majority of Cherokee
wished to be neutral or remain loyal to the Union.
At the time of the signing of the Treaty with the Confederate States of
America (CSA), the Cherokee Nation was virtually divided in half. One
half, constituted predominately by full bloods and near full bloods
supported continued relations with the U.S. The other side, comprised
of mixed bloods, mostly slave holders and slavery sympathizers,
supported a treaty with the CSA. There was no majority on either side.
There is little evidence, except in the words of John Ross himself,
that even gives an indication that neutrality was considered an option.
The rank and file citizenship of the Cherokee Nation had very strong
opinions and the divisions in the Nation were aligned mostly on racial
The treaty with the Confederacy was signed under duress while Southern
troops occupied our country.
This statement is blatantly false. There were no "southern troops" in
the Cherokee Nation. Albert Pike had been sent to the Cherokee Nation
to negotiate a treaty. He was rebuffed several times by John Ross and
the National Council. But as the deal kept getting sweeter, Ross
acquiesced and signed, as did many tribes now resident in Oklahoma.
Certainly, the federal troops had abandoned the CN to go where the
fighting was, which means that's where the CSA troops were too; not in
the Cherokee Nation.
It was repudiated in less than a year and many more Cherokees fought
and died to end slavery than practiced it.
The CSA treaty was repudiated by followers of John Ross, but was NEVER
repudiated by Ross until the end of the war; very convenient. I'd like
to see the document that shows where more Cherokees died fighting to
end slavery than practiced it. Every Cherokee member of a slave holding
household practiced slavery, from the oldest granny to the youngest
baby. All profited by the labor and free time afforded by the chattel
slavery of human being in the Cherokee Nation. Much of the education
attainment possible by Gail Ross' own ancestors, which has provided her
with the legacy that instilled a love of books and education in her own
family and self. She owes much to the slaves owned by her ancestor John
President Lincoln assured Principal Chief John Ross that he understood
the Cherokee situation and that the Cherokees would not be treated
harshly, but our hopes of fair treatment died with him.
The Cherokee Nation got fair treatment. The truth of the negotiation
process which created the Treaty of 1866 shows an astute negotiating
force headed by William Potter Ross, a Princeton educated lawyer and
nephew of John Ross. Nine points were offered by the United States and
four of those were accepted without reservation. Among those four
points was the citizenship of the Freedmen. In fact, the Cherokees
responded to the point on Freedmen citizenship by saying to the U.S.
negotiators, "Tell us what you wish us to do with them and that we will
The Treaty of 1866 was a "reconstruction" treaty demanding many
concessions Cherokees felt were unfair. The United States responded by
threatening to sign a Treaty with the very Confederate Cherokees who
actually had taken up arms against them. The Cherokees had been willing
to offer land and certain rights to their freed slaves. The United
States included the article calling for the "rights of native
"Reconstruction" use to be a code word for federal oversight in the old
South. Anyone who reads the Treaty of 1866 and its attendant historic
documents can easily see that very little "reconstructionism
" went into its wording. Certainly,
there were points that were not negotiable. First, slavery had to end.
On that issue we can say that the U.S. forced its hand. But even there,
the Cherokees came out better than other tribes because we had ended
slavery in 1863, a good three years before the end of the Civil War.
And Ms. Ross is a wrongheaded historic revisionist when she says that
the U.S. included the article giving rights to Freedmen "equal to
native Cherokees." That provision was not just presented to the
Cherokee delegation, it was actually written by William Potter Ross
himself. The evidence is apparent in the words used in the phrase
itself. The term "native Cherokee" was one coined by the Cherokees
themselves. The negotiators of the time might have been familiar with
it, but most likely not.