Cherokees and Judiciary
The House bill introduced last week to sever relations with the Cherokee Nation over the freedman controversy has been assigned to two committees: the Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over Indian issues; and the Judiciary Committee, which deals generally with judicial and constitutional matters.
Members typically don’t want their bills double-assigned since it slows them down and makes them more vulnerable to major changes.
But in this case, getting the bill, HR 2824, assigned to the Judiciary Committee was actually part of Rep. Diane Watson’s strategy, according to one of her aides.
Though it won’t help the bill get passed _ and there is probably little chance that the bill would even clear the House, much less the Senate _ it greatly increases the chances of getting a public hearing to allow opponents of the Cherokee vote to air their concerns.
The Cherokee Nation voted in March to exclude from membership the descendants of freed black slaves who have no Indian blood. The tribe has temporarily suspended the policy as it undergoes legal and administrative reviews.
But Watson, D-California, said the policy clearly violates the post-Civil War treaty signed by the Cherokees, which owned slaves, with the United States to make freedmen members of the tribe.
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