By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Danny Hair's quote that he did not recognize the oukah's Cherokee language in last year's ceremony at the Chief Bowles marker in East Texas is remarkable. If Hair had been present (which he was not), he would have learned up front that the oukah would do the ceremony in the ancient ceremonial dialect of the "Kutani" (high priesthood). I personally translated each phrase into English.
The current oukah has been written about off and on since 1962. He inherited the ancient Cherokee title, plus the emperor title taken by the Cherokee oukah (who ruled the three Cherokee Nations) in 1729, which was confirmed by King George II of England in 1730 when the Cherokees then visiting London signed our first treaty with a foreign power. When members of our family wrote the Cherokee Constitution of 1827, the ancient ways and customs were never abolished. We take pride in keeping them alive today, and our royal status has been "recognized" by every world leader and royal personage that we care about. Zimmerman has proof of that in her (your) files and knew it when she wrote her vengeful article.
I join my brother in deploring these white people muddying our waters, bringing disgrace upon us, and selling "certified degrees of blood" cards and non-native arts and crafts as genuine. These very people are not worthy of even speaking the name of our spiritual leader, our beloved oukah, who has courageously, at the risk of his life, restored to us something genuine from the past, asking nothing for himself.
His Royal and Imperial Highness
Prince Edward of Tsalagi
The Cherokee Nations
Under a photograph of me (any resemblance to anyone living or dead must be accidental) in your August 1 issue, you wrote the caption: "His Royal and Imperial Majesty, the oukah, a claim the Cherokee Nation disputes."
Let me put things in sequence. I inherited the oukah and emperor titles, which belong to my family, in 1968. Later that year, I sent a message to my people which brought about a lawsuit. The court decision, some three years later, gave the "Five Civilized Tribes" (all of which are legal nations) the right to form and elect their own governments again.
In 1975, some "white businessmen" established the "Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma." Many Cherokees do not recognize it as a legitimate government. There is no authority in their constitution to "recognize" an emperor. They have no jurisdiction over me or my family affairs, but they may owe their very existence to me.
For the hateful, misleading implication of your remarks, I think you owe me and your readers an apology.
Emperor of Tsalagi
The Cherokee Nations