UKB people are Cherokee, NOT some other tribal member

The Delaware and Shawnee are separate tribal people from the Cherokees. The Shawnee have achieved separate federal recognition, the Delawares are soon to follow. When they separate, they are no longer Cherokees. Their adoption has been severed. Each individual Shawnee or Delaware must then make a decision as to whether they will continue in their relationship with the Cherokee Nation, or cut their ties. Because the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma cannot prohibit dual enrollment, the individual Delawares and Shawnees can bounce back to the CNO membership at will. If they are "caught" by the leadership of their respective tribes (other than CNO), they would then be required to relinquish one or the other. Once they relinquish, all they need to is go reapply for CNO membership and boom, back in.

The difference for the UKB members is the fact that they are all (except for a couple of frauds), citizens of the Cherokee Nation with a vested right to vote for the office of Principal Chief. That right, in accordance with the 1970 Principal Chiefs Act, to popularly select the Principal Chief, remains intact, even when the Cherokee citizen becomes a member of the UKB.

Because the vehicle whereby that vote is exercised requires the Cherokee Nation citizen to register with the CNO in order to cast that vote, the BIA, CNO and UKB have all conspired to stifle the full blood vote for the office of Principal Chief. The self-imposed requirement that UKB members relinquish membership in any other federally recognized tribe weakens the UKB and thus weakens the individual UKB members.

The CNO is not a federally recognized tribe. It is nothing more than a vehicle created by the Principal Chief (promulgated rules) to carry out the election. The fact that it has been allowed to grow into something more has nothing to do with the citizen/voting rights of all Cherokee Nation citizens, including those who have joined the UKB. The actual, federally recognized tribe is the Cherokee Nation (not CNO). The only citizens of the Cherokee Nation are those individuals listed on the Dawes Roll and their descendants. That includes all of the Cherokees who are members of the UKB (except for those frauds).

Because dual enrollment is not and cannot be prohibited by CNO, there is nothing CNO officials can or must do to assist UKB members in voting for the office of Principal Chief. The only thing the dual enrollment prohibition has achieved is in preventing otherwise eligible Cherokee Nation (not CNO) citizens from casting a ballot in the race for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (not CNO). As I said before, the BIA cannot demand a dual enrollment prohibition. The recently adopted Osage Constitution specifically declares that Osage citizens who have enrollment in other tribes are protected in their right to dual enrollment. The BIA may have winced at this provision, but could do nothing about it. And logically, the governments of the various tribes where dual enrollment might be an issue, could and would be expected to do what legitimate mature governments do, work together to prevent double dipping.

Whether the UKB leadership or the membership likes it or not, the Principal Chief is the sole embodiment of the Cherokee Nation. The vehicle created under the authority of the 1970 Principal Chiefs Act to carry out the required elections is the 1976/1999 Constitution. That organization is nothing more than an arm of the office of Principal Chief. All of the provisions of the constitution creating a council, tribunal and other restrictive requirements are self-imposed by the Principal Chief. At his whim, he could simply promulgate new rules.

The Principal Chief has fulfilled his duty to the Cherokee people and the 1970 Act by promulgating rules to carry out the elections. The UKB Dual Enrollment prohibition stands in the way of eligible Cherokee Nation citizens from exercising their vested right to vote in that election.

The Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation has, like it or not, a tremendous impact on the lives of all Cherokee Nation citizens, whether members of the UKB or the CNO. The negative impact of the current Principal Chief, Chad Smith, on the UKB should behoove the leadership to address the vested right of the UKB members to cast a vote for the office of Principal Chief. Until such time as the UKB leadership wakes up and realizes that the voice of the UKB membership, which legitimately should impact the election of the Principal Chief, is being silenced by an unnecessary and harmful rule, the situation of the UKB will not change.

We must understand the whole history of the Cherokee Nation and UKB in the last century in order to understand why its important for UKB members to vote in CNO elections.

Let me give a synopsis:

1. The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma belongs to ALL Cherokees regardless of blood quantum.

2. The UKB belongs only to those Cherokees 1/4 degree of blood or higher.

3. UKB members can vote in CNO elections just the same as all Oklahomans can vote in national elections. But not all Americans can vote in Oklahoma elections.

4. When the UKB was established in 1949, its purpose was to provide self-governance for the Keetoowah Cherokees, which at that time were nearly all full bloods. Then Principal Chief W.W. Keeler worked closely with the UKB to provide services for Cherokees and even used the Band's membership list and federal status to file lawsuits that won both land and money for the Cherokee people.

5. When the CNO was organized in 1976, its purpose was to allow ALL Cherokees, including full bloods, mixed bloods, thin bloods, outlanders, Delawares, Shawnees, adopted Whites and Freedmen representation regarding descisions made about assets belonging to all Cherokee people by popularly selecting the Principal Chief. Previously the chief had been appointed by the U.S. President. At that time the UKB and CNO worked hand in hand and there was no prohibition of dual enrollment because the CNO has NO ROLL. It is a registry only. Besides, we were then and we are now ONE PEOPLE!

6. Ross Swimmer, as chief of the CNO, decided he did not want to work with the UKB because the traditional values they held to were contrary to his white man ways. So he booted the UKB out of the tribal complex and severed all communication with them. This forced the UKB to seek separate funding from the government to assist its members, who were being shut out of CNO programs.

7. Wilma Mankiller, as chief of the CNO, followed Swimmer's lead and began to harass the UKB. Chad Smith, then Wilma's head legal beagle, attacked the UKB smokeshops, shutting them down. Mankiller also got Congress to restrict funding in Northeastern Oklahoma to only the CNO in the hope of starving the UKB to death.

8. John Ross (not the old chief) then chief of the UKB, complained to the BIA, seeking separate funding from CNO. Ross claims the BIA directed him to separate the rolls of the UKB from the CNO, forcing everyone to relinquish one or the other. I challenged this by applying for UKB membership, but refusing to relinquish my CNO membership. At that time the BIA chose not to act on my complaint.

9. At the same time the UKB was about to hold an election for chief, asst. chief and other offices. Wilma paid Chad Smith's father, Nelson Smith, along with Joe Grayson and Pamela Jumper to run for those seats on a "termination ticket." Once elected, they intended to ask Congress to terminate the UKB. Wilma's money worked and Smith and company were elected. However, the UKB leadership refused to certify them because they had not relinquished their CNO membership. The BIA agreed and the UKB was saved. Nelson Smith died shortly thereafter. Chad Smith blames the UKB, claiming someone in the Band's leadership conjured his father to death.

10. George Wickliffe became chief of the UKB and he began a campaign to educate all Cherokees to the fact that the CNO is not the Cherokee Nation, but is instead merely a successor. The BIA recently agreed with that position, but has since rescinded their decision in favor of granting land in trust to the UKB through other legal means. They were trying to avoid a confrontation with the CNO.11. Approximately 1500 UKB members are currently also registered with the CNO. UKB Secretary Liz Littledave attemped to disenroll all 1500 UKB/CNO members two years ago, but failed when Stacy Leeds threatened to sue. The UKB Council responded by affirming the 1500 UKB/CNO members right to Band membership and withdrew any threat of disenrollment. Today UKB members can be both registered with the CNO and enrolled with the UKB. Since the CNO has no dual enrollment prohibition, UKB membership doesn't matter in a legal sense.

12. The CNO has possession of approximately 80,000 acres of UKB land. The millions of dollars now in the possession of the CNO would never have been possible without first the UKB being used by Keeler to file lawsuit and the use of UKB lands by the CNO. The Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation is the representative of all Cherokees, including UKB members, in matters related to the assets of the Old Cherokee Nation; to which the UKB has a vested interest. The CNO chief has the power, by hook or by crook, to harm the UKB and its members, who are all Cherokees.

That makes it more important than ever that UKB members take their CDIB cards down to the CNO Registration Office, get CNO membership, then register to vote. And then, with the power of the ballot box, take back control by the people of the Cherokee peoples Government.

David Cornsilk