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Advice to the "Lost Cherokee"

(or any other "lost Indian" people.)

What is written here would apply to any nation.  They are loving people!

 

At just about every show I do, there are people who ask me how to trace their heritage as Native American.  Some of these people are seriously proud of the Red blood that flows in their veins.  Like the Salmon returning to the spawning grounds, they feel a need to re-connect with their ancestral people.  Then there are those that endear themselves to everyone, who want to get their card so they can "get some of them benefits"!  

Let me deal with the latter first.  I am going to assume that the notion of "getting them benefits" is purely out of ignorance.  Ignorance, simply being a state of "not knowing". let me share with you what I have learned by walking the path of the Cherokee.  The meager benefits offered to the people of the Nation are earned by the Nation!  Some of the funds come from the Federal Government.  These funds are in reparations for the theft of land, abrogation of treaties, genocide, and out and out murder committed against the peoples of the North American Continent.  They were earned!  By far, the majority of Tribal funds are from business ventures by the Nation.  They come from a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears - farming, ranching, industry, and, yes, Casinos!  They are earned!  My people left Muskogee Oklahoma in 1886, and came to Texas.  They gave up their Cherokee citizenship, and became United States Citizens.  They were not in the Nation to help build the Nation.  They became "expatriate" Cherokee.  They felt it necessary to survive in those hard times.

The fact is, and hear me well, if your people were not there to help build those "benefits", then you have no claim on them!  You are the reason for "Blood Quantum" laws being enacted by the Nations in the first place!  It was not the Federal Government that cut Indian people out of their heritage, but people just like you!  When land apportionments were made to the Nations, all of a sudden, the number of people claiming to be "Indian" exploded.  "Breeds" were coming out of the woodpile.  These people were claiming to be Indian to get "free" land.  They wanted some of "them benefits"!  Nothing's changed much today.  Get a job!

To those serious seekers, all is not lost.  I am going to share with you what I have learned from walking the Cherokee path - a path that can reunite the broken hoop of the Nation for you!  First, and foremost, you do not go to a furniture store to purchase a magnificent T-bone steak!  Neither do you go to the White Man to learn about Cherokee people.  Most of the books on the Cherokee People were written by White Men.  Some of those writers put forth serious effort to be factual, and to record the information given to them in a factual way, but the fact is, our people didn't tell them All the story.  Then, again, what was shared with them by Cherokee People was colored by pre-conceived ideas.  As an example, similarities in beliefs were transposed into "Christian" beliefs.  That's why so much time and effort was spent in the seventeen hundreds trying to prove that the Cherokee were one of the Lost ten tribes of Israel - a miss-understanding, based on pre-conceived ideas.    No, if you want to know about the Cherokee People, go to the Cherokee People!  Remember, you were not raised in the culture.  You have not lived it, and breathed it from the time you were born.  You go in as a child that hasn't even learned to say "Da Da" yet.  You know nothing of the life.  Now you can learn.  Treat the people with respect, and dignity, and they will treat you the same way.  You will learn - a little at a time.  You will be given a little information, and then you will be watched to see how you handle that information.  If you treat it with respect and dignity, you will be given a little more information.  Become an over-night expert, and your learning is at an end!  Believe me!  The quickest way to turn off the person you are talking with is the statement "I studied under..."  You can't learn it from a teacher.  It has to be lived!  Throughout the European occupation, the Red Man has been seen as either an ignorant savage who knows nothing, or a "noble Red Man" that holds all the mysteries of the Universe.  They are neither!  they are people like everyone else.  The Cherokee People are the most loving, accepting, the most beautiful people on the Earth.  Walking the Cherokee path has taught me a way to live that is based on a very different outlook on life.  You will earn your way back into the Nation with hard work, and humility.  The White society talks much, and does little.  The Cherokee talk little, and do much.  Continue on the path, and you will find that you are welcome to do anything any other Cherokee can do except vote, and get "free" benefits.  Welcome home, brother/sister!  Where have you been for so long!  We've missed you!

 

 

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