Following is the text of Stacy Leeds’ statement:
A bill was introduced in Congress today to pull our federal funds, close our casinos, and terminate our federal recognition. It’s truly a sad day for the Cherokee Nation. The rash decisions and inconsistent legal arguments of our current administration bring us to this point.
Will the bill pass? Doubtful.
Does the introduction of the bill matter? Without a doubt.
In addition to this proposed legislation, a federal court case is pending and there is on-going review by the BIA regarding the legality of the March 3rd Special Election. Now all three branches of the United States government are fully engaged in the fall out of our decision to expel a class of tribal citizens.
Why is this happening? The Cherokee people, although certainly possessing the right to redefine citizenship, were not told the whole story by the current administration. The Cherokee people were not fully advised of the legal and political consequences of the special election. Instead, the decision was rushed and public debate and deliberations were suppressed.
Why was the federal bill not introduced earlier? Principal Chief Chad Smith has been in negotiations to delay the introduction of this bill so that it would not be introduced the week before the election. He didn’t want to allow the Cherokee people the opportunity to know the seriousness of our present situation. Instead, he attempted to negotiate some undisclosed deal to keep this out of the media.
My concern is two fold: (1) The Principal Chief does not have the authority to strike a secret “deal” with the Freedmen without discussing it with the Tribal Council; and (2) exactly what were the details of Chief Smith’s “offer” to the Freedmen?
The introduction of the bill was delayed for a week based on the Principal Chief’s promises. What exactly did he promise? How much would his promise cost the Cherokee people?
I will alway support the Cherokee people’s right to make decisions, good or bad. What must end, if we are to be a healthy nation, are the half-truths and secret dealings of our present leadership.
A positive change is just around the corner . . . . vote Saturday June 23rd.