The front-running Obama has met Indian issues head-on, even where they could put him at odds with other voters.
His own allies, for instance. Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., has already taken a slap at Obama's "campaign for change" by accusing him, in the headline of an essay, of "politics as usual" for supporting a court resolution of the Cherokee freedmen issue. Watson's bill, H.R. 2824 in the House of Representatives, would penalize the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma for trying to expel its freedmen, tribal citizen descendants of slaves and free blacks who lived among the Cherokee before, during and after the Civil War. The bill has 24 co-sponsors, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Thirty-five CBC members have also threatened to oppose passage of a bill to reauthorize the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act if it doesn't cancel Cherokee funding under the bill until the tribe recognizes freedmen and their descendants as citizens.