- The Washington Times - Friday, March 9, 2007

Cherokee facts

Bruce Fein writes in “Resurgent Racism” (Commentary, Tuesday) that racism is resurgent and as an example cites a recent election held by the Cherokee Nation. The article not only lacks objectivity, but is full of misinformation.

As a constitutional lawyer, Mr. Fein should know that the Cherokee Nation is a sovereign nation and neither the 110th Congress nor any future Congress can direct the Cherokee people in how to define their citizens. It is the sole right and responsibility of the Cherokee people to define Cherokee citizenship, which is no different from the United States having the right to determine who its citizens shall be. This is not racism — it is called self-governance.

The election Mr. Fein is upset about was on a Cherokee constitution amendment to require Cherokee citizens show proof of Cherokee ancestry by having a CDIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) and tracing their lineage to an ancestor on the Dawes Rolls. The amendment passed by more than 76 percent. Simply put: You have to be able to prove you have Cherokee blood to be a Cherokee citizen.

Mr. Fein wrote: “The revocation vote expelled Freedmen with a full-blooded Cherokee grandfather, but permitted membership to blond people of European ancestry who are 1/1000th Cherokee.”

This is false.

Cherokee Nation citizenry is made up of full-blood and mixed-blood Cherokees. Mixed-blood Cherokees may have other tribal blood, African-American blood, “blond people of European ancestry” blood, Hispanic blood, English blood, Irish blood, German blood and as many other kinds of blood you can think of including a mixture of all of the above. But Cherokee citizens must have one thing in common — a Cherokee ancestor who is listed on the Dawes Rolls.

Anyone who can prove they are descendants of a Cherokee ancestor has always been and will always remain a Cherokee citizen. The Freedmen, who Mr. Fein referred to as having a full-blooded Cherokee grandfather, will not be expelled from the tribe because their Cherokee grandfather will be listed on the Dawes Rolls. If not, then their grandfather’s mother and father will be listed. All they have to do is choose to prove lineage.

Money makes the world go ‘round, and that is the bottom line in this controversy — not race. Now that the Cherokee Nation is successful in its business ventures, non-Indians want a piece of the pie and they realize the only way they can get it is by trying to become a Cherokee citizen.

I hope Mr. Fein gets his facts straight for the next piece about the Cherokee Nation he submits for publication. The Cherokee Nation’s Web site is www.cherokee.org and that’s a great place to start.

SARA HOKLOTUBBE

Wailuku, Hawaii

Sleeper issue

In “Co-sleeping evolves into future nightmare” (Family Times, Sunday), John Rosemond states that allowing children to sleep with their parents leads to intractable sleep problems and advises strongly against the practice.

I beg to differ. As publisher of the upcoming book, “Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping,” by James J. McKenna, Ph.D., we have studied the subject thoroughly. In fact, Mr. McKenna was the first scientist to undertake sleep laboratory physiological studies of both mothers and infants. Human children are dependent physiologically, socially and psychologically on the presence of the caregiver. Mr. Rosemond should know this. Most of the world does, which is why fully 95 percent of the world sleeps with their children. Even Dr. Richard Ferber, the pediatrician who wrote the book on the importance of solitary infant sleep, has retracted his advice against bedsharing.

What Mr. Rosemond fails to understand is that independence and autonomy have nothing to do with forcing children to learn how to sleep by themselves. Research has clearly shown that children who routinely sleep with their parents become more independent socially and psychologically, are able to be alone better by themselves, and have greater abilities to interrelate and be empathetic.

DIA L. MICHELS

Publisher, Platypus Media

Washington

In the interest of Mexico

In regards to the editorial “Bush to Latin America” (Wednesday): It was perplexing to read about the supposed “interest” President Felipe Calderon has in exporting Mexico’s “labor force” to the United States.

During the electoral campaign and since he assumed office on Dec. 1, Mr. Calderon has always been crystal-clear in stating precisely the contrary: that Mexico cannot afford to lose so many talented men and women if we want to become a stronger, more prosperous and just country, and that Mexico needs to ensure that investment moves South, instead of labor moving North.

Mr. Calderon is fully committed to offering opportunities to our people in our own country, through growth and employment. As the new Mexican ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, recently said after presenting his credentials to President Bush last week, comprehensive immigration reform in the United States starts in Mexico, that is, with the creation of economic and social conditions that reduce the incentives for Mexicans to cross into the United States, seeking better opportunities.

RAFAEL LAVEAGA

Communications director and spokesman

Embassy of Mexico

Washington

An Italian example

In his Wednesday piece (“Reforming the system,” Commentary), Bruce Bartlett makes a compelling case for changing our electoral system to allow for the viability of third parties, but does not come up with any substantial suggestions. Perhaps an alternative would be to borrow from Italian politics and introduce proportional seats to the House of Representatives.

Proportional seats are elected at-large with the entire electorate voting for political parties, each of which fields a slate of candidates. If we added 50 seats to the current House (which has been at 435 seats for almost a century, while our population has roughly tripled), then a party that polled 10 percent nationally would seat 5 Representatives in the House. Setting a 2 percent threshold should weed out most fringe parties, but formulas could also be worked out to favor smaller parties in the awarding of the “fractional” seats (i.e. the Libertarians might get 4 seats with their 6.9 percent showing with the Republicans receiving only 20 seats for a 41.1 percent total).

At first, voters may stick with the traditional parties, but as they grow familiar with the process they will come to understand the message they can send with that proportional vote. Liberals could vote for viable Democrats for national and regional offices, but vote Green in the proportional vote to let the Democrats know they want the party to move to the left on the environment. In the same way Libertarians and Right-to-Lifers could use their proportional vote to influence the Republicans’ national platform. It would also enliven floor debates, as half-a-dozen Greens or Libertarians may not be able to change a vote outcome, but they should be able to inject diverse ideas into the discourse.

Once established in the House of Representatives, these national delegates would have the media and legislative access to establish themselves as viable candidates for future elections, as Sen. Bernie Sanders just did in Vermont. This could be as a representative of the third party, or as the major party nominee (especially if proportional voting has succeeded in moving the traditional party to overlap the platform of it’s smaller rival).

This may not be a perfect solution, but it would at least add spice.

PETER LOCKE

Ashburn


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