However, Marilynn Vann, spokeswoman for the Cherokee Freedmen association, said the hastily called-for election is an attempt to keep the Freedmen contingent from being registered in time, thus, removing them from the voting process.
“The decision is an attempt to legitimize a shoddy election,” said Vann. “They gave 11 days to notify the Freedmen and for the Freedmen to be registered. It’s not enough time and we will not be represented fairly in this election.”
Smith recounted that the tribe is allowed to vote its own decisions, free of federal pressure.
“The Cherokee people can, should and do control their own government through their power at the polls,” Smith said. “The BIA has said it respects the principle of Indian self-governance, and has upheld that principle for decades. A second vote will make clear our determination to move forward with the will of the Cherokee people and the decisions of our tribal courts.”
The Freedmen were recently removed from the tribe by a general tribal vote, however, only 3 percent of the total tribe voted. That vote was allowed under the 2003 amendment that is now being reconsidered. “ Ben Fenwick