UNITED CHEROKEE CONFEDERATION
April 7, 2002
Minutes of the organizational meeting are a follows:
Stone Ax offered prayers.
1. Chief Walking Bear swore in Mark Raven Speaks Pope as a Southeastern District Cherokee Tribal.
Court Judge as was requested by Senior Court Judge, Charles Yow, with the Oath of Office, as provided by Charles Yow.
2. Judge Mark Pope gave the Cherokee Pledge.
3. Judge Mark Pope administering the oath of office to Thomas F. Jackson as a Cherokee Marshall of the Cherokee people for the Southeastern Tribal Court.
4. Mark Pope moved to the matter at hand. To open the meeting, and asked individuals to stand and have the opportunity to speak.
Chief Walking Bear, Chief of the Amonsoquath: I am proposing reformation of the Nation in the traditional manner of the people as was before 1839. For the nation to be whole again. Chief of every band to meet to take care of the needs of his people as it was before 1839 & now before the US Government said we had to have one Chief, which resulted in squabbles. It is my feeling that for the Nation to be whole again we have to have a Council of Chiefs and I am opening to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Catuha Band, and the Eastern Cherokees. There is only one Cherokee Nation. Under Cherokee law and under The Cherokee Constitution I have called this meeting to hear the voices of the people.
Barbara Heath: I have some question to take information back to my people to let them decide what they would like to do, because of the turmoil around us they are skeptical and leery of a lot of things and a lot of people. What move I make is for what they want. I am not going to make a commitment today. Want to hear what this is all about and bring it back and talk it over with them. One of my questions is this going to work -- what is the plan for this set up.
CWB: As for a plan per say, there aint no plan, it is what the people want. We are one Nation of people. We are still one Nation of Cherokee people true that there are 3 bands that have Federal Recognition and 180 something bands that dont have. Are they no less Cherokee? They have just as much right to be heard in an open council as the recognized ones do. The right of birth. This is my feelings. The only way we can do it is if the band chiefs will all meet in open council. One band chief, one vote, majority vote carries, this is the way it was Traditional done. If we go back to Traditions, we can bring the Nation back to the whole. I am tired of the fighting too. Ah ho. I dont want to be Chief of everything, I have all I can do to be take care of my own band. But, if everyone of us Chiefs will work together as Brothers and Sisters for the good of our people as we are supposed to do then we wont have the turmoil that we have had for the last two years, and I am sick of it. Ah ho.
Stone Ax: This does not mean we are taking over every body. It is combing forces, you are still your own people. You have your own Chiefs, Councils, board of directors, or what ever you have. Bring the Chiefs back together, and I havent seen two indians yet agree on anything. But, we talk in peace and come together, conversations made, they can be agreements made and stop all this bull that has been going on.
BH: What are the plans on when this -- Say this all comes together, How will this affect our acknowledgment, or working towards that? Because different bands have filed letters of intent & petitions. We are also in that process.
BH: I hear all kinds of things like, that if you get too many letters of intent out there, the government is going to frown on it and I dont know how they work that. But when our clan reformed in Oklahoma our plan is to go ahead with that. I still want to know if what you are trying to do will affect that?
CWB: Personally, I think it would. If we work together it will, and if everyone bad mouths others then it aint going to work. But, if we work together as one Nation as we are supposed to, then we have enough people to do it. It is not my place to go to any other Chief band and tell them how to take care of their band. My place is to listen to my Council and my Elders and do what they want. It is the next band Chiefs responsibility to listen to his Council and Elders and as we meet in a unified Chiefs Council. And if each Chief is doing what his Council and Elders wants done, then we are working together as a Nation. If we dont do it, there aint nothing going to change. It is going to be the same thing going on that has been going on for two years.
Rosa Lee Jackson: Only two years?
CWB: It has been going on since 1839. And, you can rest assured that the three recognized tribes are going to fight it tooth and nail.
RLJ: Fight us organizing?
Hawkwather: I agree. We are all representing small tribes and bands. The Cherokee have been known historically to be a very independent people. We prize our freedom and our independence above life its self. I also know that the United States Government, is not going to and will not recognize every single little band that wants to be recognized. We must work together for that. Does that mean we must loose our identity as individual bands? No. The Saint Francis Band does not give up a thing, we bring to this meeting to form a Confederation what strengths and skills we have among our people, the Amonsoquath the same, the two bands from Oklahoma the same way, we share our strengths and even our weaknesses, because we together we can make even our weaknesses stronger. So that together we can stand free. And we stand together as blood as family. My mind automatically thinks of organization, the things that have to be decided. It is obvious that we all want to do something and each understands it has to be ratified by our people. Whatever we take here. Some of the questions I have, for instance, what name would this new union be called? What name would be go by? How will we organize? Would we have a President of the Council of the Chiefs, V Pres., Sec, that sort of thing? Or would we call it Principal Chief, Deputy Chief, what terminology? Who do we wish to serve in those capacities, and to represent us, and help us? Everyone has feelings and pretty good ideas, and I would like to hear them.
BH: Could we possibly look at it as a corporation?
HW: I dont know, Walking Bear, you have the answer to that?
RLJ: Are we looking to this so that all could eventually join and participate for federal recognition? Or is that not a concern? Is each tribe going to seek their own federal recognition? Or have to band with others when they are ready to get theirs?
CWB: I think, it is my opinion, for what it is worth, before we think of a name for the Confederacy or Federal Recognition, we need to clean up our own problems. Showing a unified manner of keeping it cleaned up and back on the track. As for on the Council of Chiefs, it is my recommendation that at each council meeting then they decide then, who was going to be acting chairman for that particular meeting. I certainly wouldnt want to be over everyone of them.
Becky Jones: Could it work as, since they had the meeting here, you be the Chairman for here, and if we had the meeting in Oklahoma, they would be the Chairman at their place, or the St. Francis River Band. If we move the meetings around to different bands then everyone wouldnt have to be traveling all the time we could split the traveling up. Then who ever is the home Chief will be the Chairman for that meeting.
CWB: We could also pick out a central location to be the same distance for everyone. That way no one is making a longer trip than anyone else, we are all poor people.
MP: There are many details, obviously that have to be work out. But, that is probably not something that we are going to decide today, we can sit and talk. The lawyers probably need work on that and bring something back. Then work from an actual draft, something in your hands.
CWB: This is a course that can be. What do you, the people want? Do you want tradition? Do you want to move ahead? Lets hear what the peoples got to say.
Richard Hendrickson: I am sure they all want start out new on truth & honesty, for the first thing, as that is something we have not had. It has to be there to make a foundation. And, if everyone gets that in their hearts and actually feels Cherokee in their heart and truth and honesty we can form a group that we know, when one of us fails, that they will be there, that way we trust everybody with our lives and our being. I think that is an important thing in our new Nation. We trust each other and love each other in as brothers and sisters, and if one has problems, come to that person and say, do what we can to help that person, and not say, well, they didnt do too well, so something happened. There are ones who want to divide us.
BH: What I have found, with our organization, is the more we got organized and the more participation we were getting from people, the more we got people sitting up and taking notice. I speak that from experience.
HW: The government expects us to get our act together. We can be a loosely knit organization, but we have to have a clear, clearly formed organization to gain any respect from our Cherokee brothers and sisters as well as from our local and State and Federal government. The better we organize and work together, the better off we will all be. Ah ho. I know all in the circle and I trust everyone, my heart feels good to finally sit in a circle with people that I know I can turn around and reveal my back and no one attempts to stab me.
Tom Jackson: You know we talked about that over a year ago in Mammoth Springs.
HW: Some of you remember I have said before I dont work for or with crooks, liars or thieves, and I said it again last night at the fire and I ment every d___ word of it. All of us here are honorable. What ever we call ourselves I will be proud. I can not speak for the St. Francis River Band, it has to be ratified by them. My loyalty, and my devotion are with the Cherokee people, and the people gathered around this circle. I dont think we need to try to form any corporation right now until we try to get things knitted a little closer together.
RLJ: We need to state our purpose. What I gather from what CWB said, our purpose is to reunite our Cherokee People.
MP: Across the Planet, I think.
RLJ: Now, are we going to call it Western, etc., or define it more or leave it simply: To reunite our Cherokee People across the Planet.
Discussion followed. The name of our group is to be United Cherokee Confederation and our Purpose is:
To Unite our Cherokee People across the Planet.
HW: CWB, Stone Ax and I have spent many hours dreaming of one day bringing as many Cherokee people together as possible. Those who want to learn the old ways, learn the Tradition of our people and pass it on. Look around here today, in my family, all of you are my family, not just the one in the red shirt, but all those children are my grandchildren. We are three generation deep in this circle. Is that not United? You can feel the Spirit here so powerful. All my life, I have dreamed of this, no more struggling, fighting, where we will be free Cherokees. United as Cherokees. No matter what else we decide on, we must stand united in order to remain free Cherokees, because there will be those who will come and try to take us away from our path. What ever path we take, lets walk it together, because here today we are a Multi generation of free Cherokee people. Thats my heart.
RLJ: You stated United Cherokee is what we are.
HW: Thats who we are and we are united and we are blood.
RLJ: And you said we walk the path together.
HW: Ah ho
Discussion from many
Becky Jones: We are not doing this basically for just us, its for everyone.
Stone Ax: How many Cherokees are out there? There are thousands and thousands. What would happen if all were to unite as one. What kind of voting power would that have? We need to get our people to vote.
TJ: It could make a big political impact.
HW: The two State Senators are waiting for a report on today, they want us to unify. They have pledged to work with us and help us.
Billie Wilson: If we all come together as a strand of rope, woven together, we will be strong.
RH: Each person must take on the responsibility, of voting.
HW: Its at the ballot box where we will control our voice. Walk the halls of state legislature and getting to know them.
CWB: We need to take Indian matters to Indian Court and let our people be the judge, not to newcomers court.
CWB: In 1993 Shell Mound, Tenn. there was 138 bands, signed an agreement to abide by Cherokee law, and abide by Cherokee Constitution and the Cherokee Court, 1993. The Unity Council. We are the only band, that has initiated all that we signed at that meeting. We have brothers in Ala. & in TN that are now listen to the Southeastern District Tribal Court to settle their resolutions among their people. Because we took the initiative to move on our own to do that which was honorable. We didnt tell them you have to do this or that. When I signed, I give my word, that I would abide by these things. My word means as much today as it did then. I am still abiding by what I said. I have walked on some toes, and made some enemies, I have been told, very powerful enemies. Oh, well. I will go & get the agreement for any one who wants to read it. It was ratified in 1994 and there were four signed on. It started out in 1993 with 73 groups, it was 128 when it was ratified in 1994. Some of the those who signed on the agreement is the very ones who are causing our people so much trouble.
RLJ: Are we imposing if we use the word United in our groups name?
CWB: We are not imposing. If its a council, it needs to be a Unity Council.
MP: Hawkwatcher used, Confederation, it is important, because a Confederation is a group of organizations banning together. So we would be a group of tribes and bands coming together, maintaining our own independence within that Confederation. I think it, Confederation is a good term to have. We are not just asking for Cherokees to join, but bands to join.
HW: That term Confederation leaves it open for Cherokees from San Francisco to South Carolina, or Maine to Arizona, to be apart of it.
BH: Will there be treaties to be signed? Like a merger? Thats the wrong term.
HW: If people want to sign a treaty together, then thats what we would do, but what is important is the people have a voice. That they have not had in the past.
RLJ: Keeping that in mind as time goes on we might want to join together for recognition.
RLJ: We need to answer Barbaras question. Regarding the BIA & recognition, all could join later to meet the qualifications. If we start small and have bigger thoughts, and listen to the people and as time goes on with one getting close, just as we in Ada, and surrounding counties, we have roots here , but we cant lay claim to having anyone living on a reservation. You have to have that basis in order to apply. In order to get a land base, or other requirements that another band already possesses we must be United. Lets say that Barbaras group here and the Amonsoquath decide to help each other out for the land base, it would be here.
HW: Yes, we can share.
RLJ: Then at that point the ones from this group, we, as a Confederacy can go forward with all that belong and want to participate.
MP: I agree, and our sister speaks eloquent words. I think we want to start cautiously and then set goals. We cant plan out everything right now, but we can start with a general vision and think of what we want to accomplish for us as a people and then move from that on to see it happen.
HW: If we follow the voice of the people and the voice of the Creator we will be fine, and in time we will be where we are supposed to be.
BH: How long are we going to watch the situation, can we move on as a band for our recognition?
BJ: Just like a baby, you have to craw before you can walk, walk before you can run.
RLJ: I would like to explain the urgency that the people of OK feel for recognition. We live with the 5 Civilized tribes and Osage, and see the low interest home loans they get, the medical care, clinics, commodities, and land. We can have that some day.
HW: Blood quantum has to be certified, it is a fact of life for an American Indian.
BJ: There is a lot of people who dont have that much red, Cherokee blood, that have a red heart, and that counts a lot where I am concerned.
HW: That is our freedom to receive them too.
RH: In my heart I am red blooded, I am full blood Cherokee.
BH: In regards to blood quantum, I just found out from a lady at BAR, Bureau of Acknowledgment & Recognition, in Washington DC about Blood quantum being Certified. Lady do not even look at blood quantum on their end, but the BIA does.
BH: I have not talked to the BIA regarding this. The lineage research doesnt have to be certified on verifiable. I want to go ahead and continue our genealogy base. I have a lady helping us set up a genealogy base.
HW: CWB what is the number of printed pages of genealogy do you have hear?
CWB: If other bands can come over & use our library. The Progender List is open to anyone.
BH: Our group is looking for certain rolls to use for verification.
MP: Is that something we would want to house at a library somewhere? or keep ourselves?
CWB: Someday I would like to see that all our records be open for everyone and housed somewhere, but right now it is not feasible.
BW: What would be nice is for very band to send a copy of their records to a central location where everyone could access them.
MP: I was going to say, I work in the University of MO in St. Louis, there are places in our Thomas Jefferson Library, a whole area for Western Archives takes one whole floor. There might be a way to house our collection. Just something to think about.
HW: Some place where everyone would have access to them, and to share, and that they would be protected and preserved for generations to come.
CWB: Read the proclamation of the Unity Council in Oct 1993, in Jasper, Tenn.
CWB: We can simply affirm this Unity Council of 1993. We can be in agreement with theirs and add to it.
MP: It doesnt limit what this group does. It certainly would be appropriate to say, we are doing this, and we are inviting those of the Unity Council to join us.
CWB: If they want to participate we welcome them, if they dont its their choice. Its a free world.
MP: We could incorporate it into what we are doing now.
MP: We simply say we affirm this and this group is separate. We can come together and speak as one voice, one Nation, but can maintain each bands sovereignty.
BH: More discussion on recognition...
CWB: When the BIA looks at it, 10-15 groups working together, for the good of their people, showing continuity of working together and exercising their rights as Cherokee people, then the BIA is going to look at it (favorable). One People.
HW and BJ: You have to walk the walk and you have to live the life.
Richard: One people with many voices.
HW: Our responsibility is to come and represent our people, our family.
CWB: We have a responsibility to listen and an obligation to pursue what the people need, and the needs of the people, the voice to carry out this job.
(tape accidentally got turned off)
RLJ: We had an OK fall festival last year at Checotah, at the State Park. We had a good response from all who attended. We need more leaders to come to OK to teach us tradition. We need more of these gatherings to build strong relationships. The gatherings we have attended is the reason we came here, your hearts spoke to ours. We want to see our people united and gatherings to camp will be a good way to gather our people.
HW: I will always regret we didnt make it to OK. We have always been Cherokee in our hearts. I have had a medical grant in my drawer at home, and not until now, have I begun to feel ready to fill it out.
RLJ: We need to talk about inviting all the good people who have left our midst and they are good people. Everyone who knows one of these should contact them to come to our next meeting.
BJ: Spoke about the Amonsaquaths Spring gathering May 31, June 1 & 2nd, Memorial Day Weekend and the possibility of another meeting of the United Cherokee Confederation at that time. Invite all to come.
MP: Spoke about the St. Francis River Band gathering April 19th, 20th, & 21st just a few miles from here.
HW: Family is family.
SA: It takes a village as the X First lady said, we used it first.
MP: That is right. Our Culture is group oriented, the white mans is individually oriented.
RH: Be careful what you say, it might be misconstrued. There will be those who tell lies.
Hawkwatcher and Richard explained a previous misunderstood incident.
BW: Gave another example.
BH: Gave another example.
RH: Gave another example.
RLJ: I would like each of you to support Barbaras band as they go through difficult times, she had been a good sister to me, and I believe she speaks the truth.
HW: I believe Barbara to be a person of honor, and she doesnt lie, that I know.
discussion followed on honesty.
RH: Gave a great example from something he did as a Marshall.
CWB: I do not tell anyone how to do their job. And I do not tell the SE District Court how to do their job. If I get a complaint, I have 7 calendar days to forward it on to the SE District Tribal Court. That is my legal and moral responsibility, it is not my legal or moral responsibility to interfere with it in any manner. If you send a complaint to me, it is immediately forwarded to the Court. I will not be held responsible for what ever that complaint is. I can be held responsible to the Court for not doing my job, of forwarding me on.
RH: The Marshals will support each other and help each other anywhere they are needed.
HW: The marshals dont back down and they have earned their respect.
RLJ: Why do some speak of killing?
HW: Because they are stupid. I hate violence.
MP: Are there any questions, or comments? Are there any actions that need to come out today?
RLJ: You mean our purpose?
MP: There should be something that comes out of this group.
HW: A statement of purpose, if nothing else. Rosa Lee would you read what we said earlier.
RLJ: To Unite Our Cherokee People Across the Planet. Is that agreeable?
HW: Sounds good to me.
RLJ: For our name we had United Cherokee Confederation.
BH: So we will meet again at the Memorial Day gathering here at the Amonsaquath Reservation on the Memorial day weekend, 31st of May, 1st & 2nd of June. Lets get the word out to everyone on the list.
BW: Do you want me to post it on the web, that the United Cherokee Confederation will meet here at the Spring gathering.
RH: Be careful what people say, lies abound
MP: The Tribal Court is here to serve all the people.
RLJ: I will email my notes to everyone on the sign in list. About the minutes, I am not a tape recorder, but I will do the best that I can. I can get you a summary shortly and can get a detailed minutes later.
CWB: I think all the minutes should be on the website, in its entirety, for all the Court to receive the minutes and for the people, no reason to hide anything. The people can like or dislike it. I told someone yesterday, a visitor, that I was tired of being lied to and tired of being lied about. And I am d___ well tired my people have been lied about and I dont like it.
MP: No, just do one. The long and inclusive minutes, we will post all of them on the web site of the Amonsaquath. I think we had something good come out of this meeting here today. If there is nothing else the meeting is adjourned.
Submitted by: Rosa Lee Jackson
Those present signing in:
Chief Walking Bear & Billie Jo Wilson
Van Buren, MO
United Band of the Western Cherokee Nation
St. Francis River Band
Isom Hawkwatcher Pope
St. Francis River Band
Tom & Rosa Lee Jackson
Western Cherokee, Ada, Ok
St. Francis River Band
Dr. Mark Pope
St. Louis, MO
St. Francis River Band
Thomas Following Bear Wilson
Van Buren, MO
Richard A,. Hendrickson
Poplar Bluff, MO
St. Francis River Band
Bethany & Michael Hood
St. Francis River Band
Becky & Ron Stone Ax Jones
End of list, actual sign in pages with complete addresses, phone numbers, and emails can be obtained from Chief Walking Bear at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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