I am of Choctaw and Western Cherokee descent. Generally, one has to claim one tribal affiliation over another, so people wonder why I have chosen not to formally identify with my extremely wealthy federally sovereign Choctaw brothers and sisters and instead choose to become a Western Cherokee Tribal Citizen that is in the process of being validated as a sovereign Nation with the Department of the Interior. After all, we have no money, no recognition by today’s U.S. government and so on.
But there are many reasons, I have made this decision and I will point out a few here. The Western Cherokees agreed to move West of the Mississippi through a Senate Ratified Treaty with the U.S. government as promulgated by Thomas Jefferson.
Many other Cherokee Nations do not believe we have separate Sovereignty from them; however, I have been working with the Department of the Interior for years now and there is a certain, most meaningful fact in place that we do not share with our other Cherokee Tribes.
To be a Western Cherokee, one does not have to have a certain amount of “Indian” blood. Even though I personally do have this blood, this is a very important distinction to make. You see, the Western Cherokees had Africans, Asians and Caucasians as our members.
We lived as a Tribe and moved as one. We followed the Treaty as one. We fought as one. We followed our spirit as one. And we disagreed with other “false” treaties that other Cherokees agreed to and instead of following them, we went underground. The Department of the Interior has made it very clear that no Western Cherokee Nation will be recognized that has prejudice against race!
Today, it is possible, that the descendants of our Western Cherokee ancestors may number as many as 70,000, although, we have only identified approximately 500 thus far. We have a solid government today and our history is being judiciously collected. In the meantime, the Department of the Interior continues to hold the assets of the Western Cherokees until our government is formally recognized. These assets include land and moneys agreed to via Treaty with the U.S. Government.
I am associated with the Western Cherokee (a non-profit organization) who’s President today is Hershal H. Hobaugh and I am also associated with Cherokee West Genealogy Research Center. Both are 501(c) 3 organizations held to the benefit of the Western Cherokee Nation. The Western Cherokee Nation’s Principal Chief is Hershal H. Hobaugh, which is actually a coincidence, but none-the-less true. Elections for principal chief are held every 4 years, and this became his time to serve our Nation.
Are you a Western Cherokee? If someone in your family was called “Black Dutch” or “Low Dutch”…….you might be a Western Cherokee. If some of your family lived in Arkansas or Missouri and a few other areas near there West of the Mississippi between roughly 1750 and 1830…..you might be a Western Cherokee. If you are of Western Cherokee blood decent and no other Cherokee tribe will have you…….you might be a Western Cherokee.
The last one is most interesting. How can you be of Cherokee blood and not be recognized as a Cherokee? Puzzling isn’t it. The answer is---not really.
The “recognized” Cherokees, entered into “newer” Treaties with the U.S. government and subjected themselves to counts and proof of their ancestry. We did not. We held firm to our original Treaty with the U.S. government. As such, we were on our own to survive as best we could with States literally trying to force us out because of the color of our skin, our spiritual practices and so forth. We did survive, but not without going clandestine in the system.
However, the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs is fully aware of all of these issues. Indeed, they admit that in the past, they were not friendly to our needs, but today they are. And I believe this is true since they have been guiding us to appropriate measures to obtain our Sovereignty. To complete this story, the DOI and BOIA has included these facts on their own web sites.
But one might ask---what if---what if the Western Cherokees are indeed recognized.
I can only speak for myself. A Nation is a Nation and it changes over time. Our Chiefs will change…our interests will change. Today—I am the financial advisor to the Nation. I have been directed to follow principals of good finance and use the knowledge I have obtained to insure a functional Nation that maximizes every dollar it obtains.
While I have only had a short time on this job, here are a few things we are doing:
We are applying for certification with the Treasury Department as a Nation Certified Development Financial Institution and a Community Development Entity. We will not receive grants but will complete with all others holding this capacity including the largest financial institutions in this Country to support our Citizens.
We have reached out to the Environmental Protection Agency to ask for guidance and work plan advice to coordinate with other Tribes and Tribal Nations to address our Environmental concerns as well as those of others.
We have integrated ourselves into the U.S. Service system to be available for competitive awards and to offer our services to the benefit of the Nation at large, including those of all U.S. citizens.
We are inquiring with the USDA and SBA and other Agencies of the U.S. government as to our integration into their programs so that we may fully promote Community Development and Fiscal Advisory Services in a prudent manner to our Citizens as well as those that exist in our demographic domains. Pretty much the whole U.S..