Answering an Email
Recently I received the following email --
Hello Mr. Hawkins. I just read a blog that you wrote on December 24, 2015 about your journey and decision to join The Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama. I would like to know if you are active within the tribe and how your life as an at large member of a state recognized tribe has been? Have you been studying the culture and language more since your acceptance into the tribe? Have you had to deal with negativity from Cherokee people that are in Federally Recognized tribes. I do not understand the need for a Federally Recognized tribe to have so much dislike for State Recognized tribes. I appreciated reading about your thought process and decision to join. Any information you can share would be greatly appreciated. Take Care and Continue to stay safe during this pandemic.
I think some people have gotten the wrong impression from what I have said in the blog entries. I have been critical of some people who insulted me I have only good feelings towards the Federally enrolled Cherokee people, most of whom have treated me with kindness. I have attended maybe 10 or 12 Stomp Dances in the Cherokee Nation; and was there during Cherokee National Holidays in September. In fact, former Principal Chief Chad Smith walked right in front of me. And no, I didn’t show up wearing Plains tribe regalia – for those familiar with “wannabe” jokes 😊. I was good friends with Michael Johnson, who was written up in the Cherokee Phoenix. I have also been in contact with Doug McClure, author of “Cherokee Proud”. I have not met him, but we have emailed one another. Once Michael Johnson and Doug McClure had a feud online that can be found here –
Many things online eventually disappear, so I will copy some of it here.
I received an email from Michael Johnson, who is mentioned several times in the following article by Mr. McClure. Mr. Johnson has given me permission to post his response to this article. He makes several very good points in his email which really is also an article in itself.
Cherokee Chief Publicly Acknowledges the Existence of Undocumented Cherokees.
Is He Up to the Rest of the Challenge?
by Tony Mack McClure
In what is perhaps a first among recent leadership in the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, Principal Chief Chad Smith of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the largest Cherokee tribe, has publicly acknowledged the existence of undocumented Cherokees, but in the same breath, denied their rights to recognition. In an official news release entitled " Undocumented Cherokees Contribute to Cherokee Nation" appearing on the Cherokee Nation's website, September 2000 Page, dated 22 September 2000, Chief Smith states, "There are people like the Johnsons (referring to an undocumented Cherokee family cited in the news release) with undeniable Cherokee heritage who don't meet enrollment requirements. That doesn't mean they can't claim their ancestry."
[Vance’s note: this was my friend Michael Johnson. It is through Michael that I attended those Stomp Dances.]
Chief Smith further states, " Through anomalies caused by ethnicidal policies of the United States Government, the traditional Cherokee Nation has been fragmented. That's why there is an Eastern Band of Cherokees in North Carolina. We are all one people, separated by geography. The historical Cherokee Nation is currently headquartered in Tahlequah. But just as a person with grandparents who immigrated to the United States from Germany cannot claim German citizenship, people whose Cherokee ancestors emigrated from the Cherokee Nation before the Dawes Rolls were taken cannot claim Cherokee citizenship." Chief Smith thinks the Johnsons praised in the article are "handling their situation well by participating in Cherokee culture without aligning themselves with a group that is seeking recognition."
In reality, un-named sources confirm that Chief Smith may have conveniently "forgotten" to mention that Mr. Johnson has for some time actually been quite "aligned" with just such a group known as the Southern Cherokees. It's an organization that CNO only recently publically accused of being "bogus."
[Vance’s note: People often refer to the Cherokee Nation as “CNO”, meaning the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. The “O” in the CNO designation is redundant. There is but one Cherokee Nation with the other two entities being referred to as “Bands” – the Keetoowah Band and the Eastern Band. No others are federally recognized. There are several state recognized groups and several groups recognized by no state or federal government.]
In light of Chief Smith's statements, a number of questions beg for answers. First, if there is no question that a person is of "undeniable Cherokee heritage, " and if there is no question that the fragmentation among Cherokees of today was caused by "ethnicidal policies of the United States Government" what possible logical reason can there be for people who fall among the "undeniable but undocumented Cherokees" NOT to seek recognition as separate groups - either as state recognized tribes or as groups with a common cause who have no official recognition of any kind? Historical federal Cherokee rolls and other documents fully substantiate that the fragmentation extends well beyond the two geographies or federally recognized tribes mentioned by Chief Smith. And that is precisely the reason that the legislative bodies of several states throughout the United States have seen fit to extend official recognition to such groups who have been wrongly disenfranchised either by their own tribes or by the United States Government or both.
Chief Smith's comparison of German citizenship might have been more appropriate , at least insofar as U.S. and Cherokee law is concerned, had the final wording of it stated "cannot claim Cherokee citizenship in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma" instead of simply ending with "cannot claim Cherokee citizenship." But to accept either of these ideas, anyone the statement pertains to and the CNO leadership as well, have to somehow acknowledge that the "ethnicide" which the Chief so adeptly points out and confirms now be found acceptable and simply forgotten. The policies that resulted in the fragmentation and disenfranchisement of some, although acknowledgeably immoral by all concerned as well as a majority of the American people today, must still continue to be used as a viable reason for disavowing people with "undeniable Cherokee heritage?" Something very sinister and culturally unacceptable seems quite obvious here.
A much more logical analogy of denying citizenship rights (mainly because it all occurs on this continent - not in the Black Forest thousands of miles across the Atlantic ocean) would be to imagine a scenario whereby a foreign power invades the United States today and promptly arrests all the Italians in Brooklyn , New York. Those who are fortunate enough to survive the trip are banished under armed guards to their designated new "homeland" in the badlands of South Dakota where they will become wards of the new government. Those who desire to remain in New York, however, will be allowed to do so, but there is a catch. From this day hence, they and any other Italians who live elsewhere on the continent can no longer be recognized as Italians! Such a thought might seem ridiculous, and it would be incomprehensible, save the fact that it actually happened to Cherokees and several other Indian tribes. But now to add insult to injury, and visualize a far more accurate comparative than Chief Smith's German metaphor, carry this illusory scene one step further by imagining that on top of what is likely already unfathomable to any reasonable and compassionate person, the Italians in the badlands now decide to disavow their own! Regardless of blood, they declare that henceforth they and their descendants will be the only Italians on the North American continent! Well, actually, perhaps it will be okay for the others to call themselves Italians so long as they don't seek to be officially recognized as such by anyone.
The word citizenship is important here because the "undeniable Cherokees" who make up the membership of state recognized tribes often have no desire to be members of the CNO (or any other federally recognized tribe) or they simply do not qualify due to the "ethnicide" rules which, by the way, are also endorsed by the CNO's own constitution. While it is true that the Cherokee people who made an election to NOT migrate west during the Removal era agreed to forfeit their "citizenship" in the existing Cherokee Nation, they absolutely did NOT and could not have forfeited their Cherokee blood. And historians, even the white ones, as well as leaders on both sides, have long attested to the fact that the entire removal treaty was fraudulent in the the first place. How is it then, that the portion of it that concerns the matter at hand is not also considered fraudulent?
The truth is that most disenfranchised Cherokees simply desire and usually emphatically insist upon only the rightful recognition of their blood. Whether or not they elect to seek recognition should have no bearing whatsoever on how they are viewed by Cherokee leadership and the very fact that they do seek recognition is, more than anything else, simply an end product of the insulting disavowment. Of course, there are exceptions, as there are to all situations, but by and large, the vast majority of the undocumented Cherokees who seek recognition have no interest in obtaining or sharing the paltry benefits; they do not desire to move onto reservation or trust lands or to compete with members of the federal tribes for any reason. They are simply fed up with the constant and unjustifiable insults of being called "wanabees" simply because it does not fit someone else's personal agenda and official recognition offers the only relief. The leaders of the CNO and Eastern Band long ago made a verifiable pact to NOT recognize these people in any way. In fact, they did everything in their power to prevent even the United Keetoowah Band (currently the only other federally recognized Cherokee tribe) from gaining federal recognition and they have continuously attempted to discredit any others of their blood who attempt to organize and seek recognition in any form by publicly referring to them as "wanabees."
In the official newspaper of the Eastern Band of Cherokees, its editor recently referred to members of the three state recognized tribes in Alabama as "twenty dollar Indians." This ridiculous comment was meant (in vain ) to suggest to readers that one could simply pay a twenty dollar fee and become an Indian in Alabama, when in fact the fee they refer to is actually one that all members gladly pay as annual tribal dues or taxes to supplement tribal administration costs because they do not have the luxury of receiving federal funds as some do for such purposes. A recent news release from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma similarly referred to all non-federally recognized groups as "bogus."
In this most recent CNO news release, the subject of the article, Michael Johnson, is quoted as saying, " There's a ton of husksters out there preying on people. They offer spirituality, promises of recognition, the possibility of wealth through casinos, whatever. I don't want to align myself with people for political or money motivated goals." His statement confirms that the propaganda and disavowment policies of the CNO and Eastern Band have worked to at least some degree. Mr. Johnson's statement seems to confirm that he believes all groups who are not federally recognized have only devious motivations. How sad! The fact that such people have the drive to organize and seek recognition of their blood that is denied elsewhere makes all people with "undeniable ( but non federally recognized ) Cherokee heritage" stereo typically motivated by only money or politics? How narrow!
Certainly, there are groups out there that include some individuals who really are bogus and guilty of such atrocities, but they are to be found within the federal tribes just as they are in others and the federal Cherokee tribes are certainly no exception. If you doubt this, pick up any of the Indian newspapers and read of the hoaxes, embezzlements, sale of spirituality and all the same other daily crimes common among all people. No respectable person would argue that this should be condoned or supported. This is not just a problem among the Cherokees, but with all tribes. Nevertheless, there are far more whose only motivation is to express pride of heritage, take part in organized events to that end, to learn and help perpetuate the memories and culture of those gone before and, above all, to enjoy the respect due them by virtue of their blood birthrights. What right does anyone have, especially Cherokee leadership, to condemn all for the selfish and unacceptable acts of a few?
Hopefully, Mr. Johnson will follow the lead of tens of thousands of others who have investigated a little further and learned that the vast majority of these with "undeniable Cherokee heritage" are just that, and as admirable and honestly motivated as they come. Denying himself affiliation with other tribes or groups simply because the federal tribes insist on wrongfully disavowing them or considering them controversial should not be the factors that determine his participation. Only two things should enter into that decision - personal choice, which he and everyone else is certainly entitled to, and what is morally and ethically right. By his own admissions, he has obviously judged all others who seek recognition on the basis of propaganda extolled by the leadership of the federal Cherokee tribes. One cannot help but wonder if his attitude would be the same if he had instead always heard CNO and Eastern Band leadership embrace the members of at least some of the creditable "other" groups as their "undocumented brothers and sisters?"
Hopefully, Chief Chad Smith's admirable admission that such Cherokees actually exist can be interpreted as a good sign of a better understanding and tolerance among all Cherokee people in the future. Everyone seeking recognition and many of those who possess it in only state form are NOT the enemy of federally recognized tribes. In fact, it's quite the opposite. With an ever so slight and much deserved change in attitude by their federally recognized counterparts, the vast majority of these reputable people would be first in line to stand beside them in ANY conflict, down to the last man. Rarely in my 59 years on earth have I heard any of these people utter an unkind word about their federally recognized brothers and sisters. And in the extremely rare cases that I can recall, it was always only a logical, human, defensive response to comments of disrespect or disavowment said or published about them. While there have apparently been no official polls on the subject, I'd also be willing to bet my personal reputation that most of the individual tribal members in all the federal Cherokee tribes collectively would not agree with this continuing disavowment policy of their leadership if they simply knew all the historical facts. Most do not. I also have too many personal friends and family within the Nations to ever be convinced otherwise. Disavowment is a political policy - not a people policy. Most of the Cherokee people I have ever known are far too noble, resilient and fair minded to disavow their own regardless of politics. Perhaps such a poll would be a good project for some university sociology class.
The bottom line is that the time for unification is long past and the numbers of the disenfranchised are many. How can such an easily acquired dream......simple unity and respect for each other.....possibly be so wrong when nothing more than mere, but sincere words are necessary to accomplish the task? Chief Smith has both the power and the expertise to easily make commendable and unprecedented history . . . symbolically comparable to a Palestine and Jerusalem accord right here on Turtle Island, . . . and right now. He has taken an honorable first step and all affected should recognize it, because he will, no doubt, be criticized even for that by a few diehards who have been brainwashed into actually believing that all but themselves are wanabees.
Is he now up to the rest of the challenge? Two things are certain - it is the only "right" thing to do and there can be little doubt about the attitude of the Great Spirit in the matter. Ultimately, it is only to that power that all concerned must eventually answer.
Response to "Cherokee Chief Makes anAnnouncement"from Michael Johnson
Friday, March 23, 2001 10:40 PM
… My name is Michael Johnson, and I see I am mentioned in an article by Tony Mack McClure on the internet.
I wish to make a few things clear for the record.
I was a very active member of some number of groups in my past. I have been a member of a number of professional, genealogical and fraternal clubs, including the "Southern Cherokee Nation" within the experience of my life. I also have some groups I have redirected my efforts away from for whatever reason, including the "Southern Cherokee Nation". I see no shame in that whatsoever.
I filled a spot on their council at one session, under appointment of Gary Ridge (another person of Cherokee heritage) and voted on resolutions. Nothing sinister about it. We even stomp danced and had a big dinner.
The "Southern Cherokee Nation" is a 503(c) non-profit under the United Dideist Society, a religious/fraternal/educational foundation.
Gary Ridge, their elected Chief, has proposed and asserts that the "Southern Cherokee Nation" is already federally recognized. He once had plans to go to court with it, I don't know where that effort is at this time, because...I am not involved, and haven't been since a good while before the article was written.(grin)
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I have an "indian rap sheet". Let me add to the public knowledge:
*-I have been to and participated in and with meetings of the Texas Gulf Coast Cherokees and regard them as a group with high integrity. I like em...they are good folks. Not a member, Just a visitor.
*-I stomp dance and play stickball. I do it where ever I run into it at, but frequently at the Shaky Hollow Ceremony Grounds in Conroe, Texas. I got whopped one time by a girl there and got a perma-crick in my back and now I play about 40 yards from the pole. Let the bucks break their legs, I am too old to heal fast anymore.
*-I have been to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, and even though I can't "join up" they recognize me as a Cherokee. That was good enough for me, although others may want more or desire other things.
Everyone has their goals in life, and I have mine. I just don't think the 'card' matters to me anymore. I think that card is another way of driving our folks apart and we have had enough of that. Maybe the Cherokees feel that way too, some of them. Maybe we don't need 'groups' to get back home. Maybe the path is the "individual's" path.
I also found out from the Cherokees in Oklahoma that I have no real clan, because my traceable Cherokee roots come to me by my grandfather.
So, depending on who you talk to I am a longhair(twister) or I have no clan. That is the disappointing thing, as I have two daughters and they need to have a clan to reconnect my line to the people in a complete manner. It is more distressing to me to know my daughters have no clan as opposed to the stress that the lack of any card will bring.
I know I am not the only person of Cherokee blood out there that has had to be disappointed when they are not enrolled or cannot determine their clan. It was disappointing, but I have learned to deal with it and move on to what I can have....reunion.
I take some exception to your broad and sweeping comment that infers I think everyone in or leading a (non federally recognized) Cherokee group is a con artist, a huckster or whatever. We all know there ARE hucksters, con artists and spirituality hawkers out there. They are waiting to pick people's pockets.....they exist. That is what I meant in my statements. Certainly I did not mean to infer that ALL non-recognized Cherokees are such. Certainly I DID mean to imply that one must be pretty careful when getting involved with any group and should carefully assess the group in light of their personal goals.
My claim to Cherokee Blood flows on both sides of my family, who are from Robbinsville, North Carolina and Turtletown, Tennessee. The side I can trace is an amazing tale of folks who weren't removed as Cherokees when the Removal occurred, but remained only to be decimated by the civil war and the Reconstruction period. In the 1880's my folks moved out to Oklahoma and they literally became citizens of the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory. They literally emigrated back to the United States in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1906 and petitioned the US Congress(and received) their United States Citizenship. I am still looking into the reason they left the nation.
So, in my case, Mr. Smith called it on the nose. My folks left the US and became Cherokee citizens....then left the nation and became US citizens....literally and traceably. Got everything on paper, stacks of it. It is undeniable I am of Cherokee blood, it is deniable that I can emigrate back to the Cherokee Nation. "Undocumented" in that sense means not able to obtain Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma citizenship, as I have a closet full of documents regarding my Cherokee blood.
I am an "expatriate Cherokee".
For a historical view of how it really was in terms of "citizenship" as to the states and the US and the Cherokee, try reading an actual account of it in a newspaper of the day at http://www.turtletown.org/html/banner.htm . It was a shocker for me.
When my folks became US citizens after leaving the nation, they gave the same oath as every new citizen. They renounced their citizenship in the Cherokee Nation and for whatever reason severed my right to claim that citizenship via their bloodline. I have no right to succession. I can trace my roots and prove all day I am Cherokee by blood, if not by nationality. How many of us Cherokee fit into that boat? How many ancestors refused to sign documents for the government and gave up our rights? How many of us are Cherokee by blood and not by nationality?
Isn't this the real problem?
I think what Mr. Smith is expressing is that despite political and legal problems that prevent us from being citizens of the same nation, we are of the same people. We can participate in our heritage and do it with the traditional Cherokees. We don't have to risk the hucksters, the con artists, the spirituality hawkers. The door is open, we can go to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. We are recognized for who we are(Cherokees outside the nation's LEGAL framework) and welcomed.
I think that Mr. Smith has taken a good and logical first step in good faith. We are now "undocumented cherokees".... They are waiting for we undocumented folks to take the next step. They stuck out their hand first and are waiting for us to shake it, problem is that hands are shaken one at a time, not in crowds.
Some folks might think that a group can be accepted as Cherokee because they simply assert that they are Cherokee. I don't believe that. I don't believe in "Cherokee Groups", I believe in Cherokee people. How can you trace a 'group' for their Cherokee blood? How can you determine a group is entitled to the Cherokee Legacy? How can you determine a 'group' is anything but an assemblage of people?
I offer up to you that for the Cherokee Nations to recognize a group, they must recognize that every person in that group is indeed a Cherokee. This is a task we cannot expect the Cherokee nations to undertake. It is our torch to bear, as it were. The solutions that will ensure acceptance must come from us, and be convincing to them. That is reality.
In order for people as a group to be recognized, they need to have a way of determining that they ARE all Cherokee to the satisfaction of the nation's people. A 'higher standard' than usually performed by makeshift tribes and groups(this is where the hucksters live) is required. I could point to some groups that are state recognized and use them as a model to build such a standard. So can you. Their level of proof is as comprehensive as any, in some cases. They just lack requirements to link to the Dawes, Baker or Keetoowah rolls, which are legal requirements to be beneficiaries to a recognized and enforced treaty. Some accept links to any Cherokee roll taken. This is logical when determining Cherokee blood versus national citizenship.
There are legal 'standings' that determine just who can join which tribe. This is generally due to their status as federal corporations and their "corporate charter"(constitution), their status as persons descended from people enumerated at some event (Dawes rolls, Baker rolls, UKB rolls) to satisfy a treaty or agreement with the US Government. If our Cherokee ancestors; expatriated, refused to enroll, hid for fear of social retribution, just minded their own business in them thar hills or whatever else, then they are not party to the required treaties.
They are Cherokee and probably are citizens of one of the several states. Citizenship is an extremely strange quirk of law, in that where most US citizens can claim to be states citizens unless they are citizens of the United States(I know it sounds weird, but it is true).
They may be also party to other treaties that are currently not in force due to lack of participation.
All Indians, by amendment and law are citizens of their Indian nation AND citizens of the United States OR citizens of the United States. This is a legal reality.
Remember, the card is a right to benefits and services of the Department of War and is not legally related to your right to be Cherokee. It is a legal right extended from a particular treaty to select groups of combatants at the conclusion of hostilities of war or polity.
Your right to be Cherokee is in your blood, not in a card or any particular citizenship. You own it, no group does ... not even the federally recognized tribes and nations. Your right to be Cherokee only extends to you, not a group or club. It is an individual right, not a collective right.....and it is not convertible.
I would ask all the Cherokees out there...Who do you want to be recognized BY: The US government's BIA or the real live traditional Cherokee people? What will the card give you that you do not already have....and what is your motivation to obtain one? Is it better validation than actual recognition by your own people?
If your answer is that your goals transcend the need for a card, go home and visit your folks. They are waiting, the door is open and they want you to come. It's worth a drive to go find out isn't it?
The above article, received in email on 03/23/01 was written in response to Cherokee Chief Publicly Acknowledges the Existence of Undocumented Cherokees by Tony Mack McClure
I’d like to respond to that email I received. As a child growing up in southwestern Oklahoma, Dad had taken us to local pow-wows. I have had other experiences with local tribal events (and some not local) and made friends through the years.
Hello Mr. Hawkins. I just read a blog that you wrote on December 24, 2015 about your journey and decision to join The Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama.
Now before I ever joined that organization, I knew about Mike Johnson and Tony McClure’s comments above. I had been searching my ancestry many years. As I said, I knew Mike Johnson and had emailed Tony McClure. Mike, sadly, passed away several years ago. I kept researching genealogy and have even had a Cherokee Nation genealogist tell me one of my ancestors was the same “John Brown” as the man called “John Brown Jr.” on the Reservation rolls of 1818. Those on the Reservation rolls left the tribe and their descendants are not eligible for tribal membership. I also knew at that time the Cherokee Nation didn’t approve of the Alabama Echota Cherokee Tribe. It is recognized as a Native American Tribe in the state of Alabama alone. I wrote a letter to people I thought represented the Cherokee Nation asking them why they disapproved of the Echota Cherokee of Alabama. They NEVER answered my question and straight away started insulting me. I have since found out they NEVER represented the Cherokee Nation, and several enrolled Cherokee apologized to me for the behavior of that group.
I would like to know if you are active within the tribe and how your life as an at large member of a state recognized tribe has been?
I had hoped to become active. But there were no opportunities, as I live in southwestern Oklahoma and they were all hundreds of miles away. I also have ancestors who were Catawba, and they have always been kind to me.
Have you been studying the culture and language more since your acceptance into the tribe?
Frankly, I learned more from the Cherokee Nation than from the Echota Cherokee of Alabama. As I said, I attended several stomps. Frankly, I think I could have taught the Echota a few things. They wanted everyone to have a clan, and since my Cherokee blood is on Dad’s side, I can’t be in one. Clan membership comes down the maternal side, not the paternal. The Echota still wanted to assign me a clan.
Have you had to deal with negativity from Cherokee people that are in Federally Recognized tribes.
Yes, I have. But NEVER from people who have met me, face to face – only from people online. Well, there was one guy I met. Never say never – there are always exceptions. That reminds me -- never say “always”, either. Once I was in an Indian bar in Lawton, Oklahoma, with a Caucasian friend. A very large and drunk man came over to me and said, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU!?” in a loud obnoxious voice. I took it to mean he could tell I was of mixed race, so I really wasn’t too offended. I ignored his question, & said, “Sit down! Help us finish this pitcher.” It worked, lucky for us, ‘cause he was pretty big. It was time for me to be “little brother” to his “big brother”. We left after a while. That only happened once. But you were asking about Cherokee people. No Cherokee who has met me in person has disrespected me – NONE. Like I said, they do that online, but NEVER face to face, Many Native people I know might be wearing old blue jeans, a cowboy hat and boots, and say “howdy” instead of hello.
I do not understand the need for a Federally Recognized tribe to have so much dislike for State Recognized tribes.
I have a theory about this. People in Alabama or Georgia who have a little Native blood have never been around fullbloods, or native culture. They come out here as White as milk and expect to automatically be accepted on equal basis. You must respond to sceptics and that response had better be made in humility to have any chance of being accepted. For instance, as a child I recall at pow-wow’s if asked of his heritage --dad would say, “Oh, I have a little Indian blood, not much”. And that was it – and he has brown skin – everyone knew he was mixed race. They are big brother, we are little brother. Learn what that means.
Below is a picture of Mom (1915-2002) and Dad (1915-1992). Mama wass German, Scots-Irish and English. Dad was also Scots-Irish and English, with no German blood. He also had Catawba and Cherokee ancestry. He always said he had some French ancestry, but didn't know where it came from. I know of no French surnames. My autosomal DNA test said I am mostly Caucasian, but I do have both Native American and sub-Sahara African DNA as well.
I appreciated reading about your thought process and decision to join. Any information you can share would be greatly appreciated. Take Care and Continue to stay safe during this pandemic.
Michael Johnson passed away many years ago, and I haven't heard from Tony McClure in many years. They both make valid points. I can't decide which is right. As far as I am concerned, they both are. I understand the desire “to belong”. That’s why I joined the group. But I also quit paying membership fees. I don’t see why a 70 year old man must pay them to be who I am, already – My Social Security check isn’t that big, anyhow. 😊 I need it to pay my bills. I know who we are, and I hope my relatives read my blog entries and learn our heritage, and that’s about it.