Sunday, May 20, 2012

Religious Freedom in the USA!

A letter in the NYTimes:

Cherokee Tribal membership is based upon direct Cherokee ancestors who 1. agreed to accept a tribal roll number and 2. dissolve the Cherokee Nation through the Dawes Commission, 3. accept a small allotment of land, 4. give up their religion under the adjunct American Indian Religious Crimes Codes of 1883. Cherokee Nation members who refused to accept the dissolution, take their small allotment and give up their religion did not have roll numbers. Their ancestors are not eligible for tribal membership and after the Bush I, "American Indian Arts and Crafts act," (limited to enrolled members), must call themselves of "Cherokee Descent" and cannot market their work as Cherokee, nor are they eligible for traditional religious approval conferred by a new Cherokee Nation that is largely converted.

Elizabeth Warren was 23 when the American Congress finally gave American Indians the right to practice their religion (1978) You have no idea what that meant to us. I was 37 at the time. But all over America, native children were harassed for returning to their faith and their culture. They were told that there were no longer traditional Indian religions and dress and that real Indians didn't dress or worship that way anymore.
This is a shameful record, and not very different from the all-devouring Christianity in Europe and Islam elsewhere.