To the editor:I am a card-carrying member of the federally recognized Western Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Okla. In the article "Teaching 'the human people'" there was a mention of teaching the "pure" language. It is hard to say there is a pure Cherokee language. If there is one, most would agree it would be the dialect of the Eastern Cherokee, who were able to remain in the native lands while the Western Cherokee were thrown together with many tribal nations. All Cherokee, however, recognize "The Cherokee Syllabary" created by Sequoia (English name: George Guess) and approved by the Cherokee chiefs in 1820 before any relocation occurred.
As a Cherokee, I feel it is ironic that we let the very government that inflicted so much pain upon the Native Americans to set the criteria of who is or is not at Native American. Thousands of Native Americans were never rounded up or forced to relocate. Many records were intentionally destroyed by the government to keep the death numbers from the Trail of Tears march low, making the march acceptable to European settlers.
Several other people in this area are members of the Western Cherokee Nation as well as members of the Lakota, Choctaw, Seminole and many other federally recognized Native American nations. For the most part, we all agree that it is what is in your heart and soul that makes you what you are and who you are, not a number given to your ancestors by the government 175 years ago.
ADANVDO AGEYV, Cape Girardeau