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Ethnic Groups and Discrimination - Cherokee Indian

Ethnic Groups and Discrimination

My ethnic group is Cherokee Indian; the tribe of Cherokee Indians was the most advanced and largest of the Indian tribes. When Europeans first arrived in America Cherokee Indians were the first they came in contact with. The meaning of Cherokee is: “people of different speech”, the name we go by is Ani-yun-wiya which means “real people.” The homeland included mountains and valleys in the southern part of the Appalachian Mountains chain. The territory surrounded North Carolina, to Virginia, to Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alabama. We had villages along rivers and streams to take advantage of the rich soil for farming.

Immigrated or Colonized?

The Native Americans immigrated in the United States before the Europeans Colonized in America. In the 1800's the Cherokee tribes were stripped of their land and forced to move by the whites. In 1830 Congress passed an “Indian Removal Act” which many men, women, and children were forced to travel thousand's of miles to Oklahoma in which many people did not make it. Although some of them traveled by boat the conditions were horrible, others believe in different part of America some Native Americans were colonized. There was a colonized policy that made all tribes east of the Mississippi to be removed from that area. In this same policy the whites could not settle west of a line from Arkansas to Canada. Under this same policy the Government assured the tribes they would be united with other tribes that were removed.

Racism and Prejudice

The Native Americans faced much of prejudice and racism, they were forced off their land and had to relocate to different territory west of the Mississippi. They were take as captives and used as slave labor, while others were abused because the Europeans deemed them savages. Europeans brought epidemic diseases that spread through-out the Indian villages, reducing their population. The Native Americans were not able to leave their homes and land together, but the Government made an agreement that eventually they were to be reunited with their tribes. Racism was also used against Native-African descent, which Native American was married to African American that would make them a part of that tribe. Only tribal members do not see them as members only by marriage not through blood. So Tribal officials are not recognizing African Americans as tribe members and they were stripped of their full membership of tribe benefits St. John (2007) states.

Environmental Justice

The Native Americans have been facing environmental issues since the first white settlers. Indian tribes were promised the land would be forever sustainable along with their natural resources on that land. Equally the Government promised assisting the tribes in keeping and managing the reservation environments resources Zaferotos (2006) stated. With the Government promising the tribal members help in managing their land and not having landfills and hazardous waste facilities on Indian land near reservations. Native Americans had cared for this land for many centuries and did not want to see environment issues arise after they were removed from that land.

Affirmative Action

The Native Americans tribal members contend there is not enough jobs that Native Americans can come into, or that we as tribal members need to acquire positions within the community to make a stand for other members. This will encourage generations to come that even though things were taken from us in the past centuries we are able to change the future for our other tribal members. We need to make a stand to encourage the community that just because we are Native Americans we can make the community better for everyone.

Double Jeopardy

Many Cherokee Indians have the sovereigns which a person can be tried for a crime twice. The tribal member can be tried in tribal court as well as in Federal Court, the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. The first 10 amendments of the Constitution only bind to the Federal Government and its agencies. For example in Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia the Supreme Court ruled the tribes as a dependent nation. The Supreme Court further ruled that the Cherokee Nation did not have any rights and dismissed the suit. Furthermore the Cherokee Nation brought another suit against the State of Georgia for laws of the State that the tribe thought interfered with internal affairs and was later overturned. In addition there have been only a few double jeopardy cases in tribal history, because years later the Supreme Court ruled the Federal Government has no ruling to what happens on tribal land St. John stated.

I identify equally with both mainstream and, my ethnic group. I do not agree with some of my cultural ways, but to understand my heritage and where I came from I respect everything I have researched. United States mainstream culture I believe everyone at one point follows that culture just to fit into society and in their community.

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