The Cherokee Nation is in a heap of big trouble from the top chiefs at the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has fired an epistolary arrow at the nation because it sent its black members on a trail of tears.
The tribe booted out 2,800 descendants of blacks freed during the War of Northern Rebellion and given the full rights of Cherokees in 1866. Blacks, the tribe says, are not Indians. The pointed admonition from the great white city in the East ordered the tribe to let the blacks back in. A federal agency cut off a wagonload of wampum.
The Cherokees’ answer? They'll stand their ground.
The Cherokee relationship with blacks began many moons ago. Most people don't know it, but many Cherokees not only owned slaves but also fought for the Confederacy. Others sided with the Union.
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Ruth Adair Nash, a descendent of freedmen: AP Images