Author Topic: More on Freedmen Issues  (Read 24724 times)

Offline educatedindian

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More on Freedmen Issues
« on: November 09, 2004, 05:18:48 pm »
Anissia" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 19:33:06 -0000
Subject: [newagefraudsplastichshamans] Re: Off topic but needs to be seen

While the group is on the subject I just wanted to share the following just in case it never makes it to the news.

The following was sent to various newspapers this weekend:

During the last week, there has been nationwide press regarding statements made by former Oklahoma Congressman Tom Coburn ® of
Muskogee who is challenging current Congressman Brad Carson (D) of Claremore as to issues of Indian Identity and the validity of treaties between the U S government and the Cherokee nation. It is
unquestionably clear to me that treaties between the US government and the Indian nations are indeed the Supreme law of the land as per
the Constitution of the United States. It is also my belief that an individual with "1/512 Cherokee blood" can rightfully be classified by the Cherokee nation, the Department of Interior, and his own
personal beliefs as a Cherokee. This is my position as an individual and for the organization of which I am President, the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Association. However, due to
various acts by the US government and officials and representatives of the Cherokee nation, there is much confusion as to "treaty rights" and "Indian blood".
First of all, the issue of the "proper degree of Indian blood" Prior to the 1890s, rolls of citizenship of the Cherokee nation did not contain "blood quantum" numbers. Like the US each citizen was a
citizen with full rights and no such concept existed in the Cherokee nation. Citizenship within the Cherokee nation was determined by Acts of the National Council adopting a group of individuals where the US government was involved, ,being the offspring of a citizen, and Acts of the council or the tribal courts in adopting individuals where the
US government was not part of an agreement. Review of the 1880 authenticated roll which was the base roll used by the Dawes Commission to prepare tribal rolls in order to allot the tribal lands
about 1900 makes this clear. However, Congress had determined around the turn of the 20th century that a minimum number of tribal members
were going to have "land restrictions". Those individuals who appeared to the Dawes Commission to have "lower degrees of Indian
blood" and who they determined were "freedmen " ( tribal members with African American blood who had been former slaves of the Cherokees ,
or Free blacks (almost all of whom had Cherokee blood) living in the Cherokee nation prior to 1862 who had been adopted into the Cherokee
nation with all the rights of native Cherokees based on a treaty signed between the US government and the Cherokee nation in 1866)
would not have land restrictions and would be able to sell their tribal allotments without permission of the Department of the Interior and. Thus, the US government Dawes Commission, which was
given the job to prepare rolls of tribal citizens was more likely to guess lower than higher on a "blood quantum" or to class an individual tribal member as a "freedmen in order to increase the amount of land which could be easily purchased by white settlers coming into what is now Eastern Oklahoma. The Dawes commission made
no effort to quantify degrees of Cherokee blood for those classed as "freedmen" tribal members. The Curtis Act (Act of June 28, 1898 :
30 Stat 485), the Act of April 26 1906 ( 34 Stat 137), the Groundhog case (442 F.2d 674), and Title 25 Section 991 (which authorized per capita payments to those listed on the rolls prepared by the Act of April 26 1906 and their descendants if the original enrollee was decreased) make it clear that the individuals who were listed on the
Dawes rolls and their descendants were members of the Cherokee nation. The rolls of the Cherokee nation also included separate rolls of Delaware tribal members who had been adopted by the Cherokee nation in 1867. It is clear upon research of the Dawes Roll census cards, the enrollment packets which give the Dawes roll testimony,
the Guion Miller Roll (a payment roll prepared by the US government after the closing of the Dawes Rolls) that the "degree of blood" recorded of any individual (or lack of Indian blood recorded on the
part of "freedmen" tribal members) who was an original Dawes enrollee except for Intermarried white citizens who married into the tribe prior to 1877 was arbitrary and capricious and should only be considered for purposes of land restrictions which was the purpose that the "blood quantum" was designed for.  

Offline educatedindian

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More on Freedmen Issues 2
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2004, 05:19:46 pm »
However, perhaps it is unclear to the former Congressman that `blood quantum of Cherokee people can be accurately computed due to
statements from former tribal leaders which tended to indicate that the Dawes Rolls are valid pertaining to "Indian blood", etc. For example, Former Chief Wilma Mankiller, when serving as Deputy Chief of the Cherokee nations was quoted by the Baltimore Sun in July 29, 1984 as stating that Cherokee Freedmen should not be members of the Cherokee nation because they did not have Cherokee blood. The newspaper did not explain what was the basis for Ms Mankillers statement, however, both the BIA and the tribal registration office could have provided her with many examples of individuals listed by the Dawes Commission as Freedmen who had listed a parent or grandparent in the Dawes rolls testimony or the Guion Miller Census testimony who had "Cherokee Indian blood". Furthermore, Ms Mankiller was serving as Principal Chief of the Cherokee nation when the
Cherokee nation tribal council approved a resolution limiting the citizenship in the Cherokee nation to those individuals who had received a Certificate of Indian blood based on the degree listed in the Dawes Final Rolls in March 12 1988 (Resolution 21-88). The Acts of the 1988 tribal leadership (of whom none of the affected Freedmen had been allowed to participate in the selection of ) of course had the effect of eliminating the "freedmen" from tribal membership through acts of the tribal council and the Principal Chief even though the current tribal constitution approved by the department of the Interior in 1976 establishes that membership in the Cherokee
nation consists of those individuals who are Dawes enrollees or whose ancestors were from Dawes enrollees.
Regarding the importance of treaty rights, perhaps it appears to the former Congressman Coburn that actions of some tribal leaders and legal representatives of some tribes do not believe them to be important and in force today. . For example, the fact that Cherokee freedmen tribal members were blocked at the polls during the 1983
Cherokee nation elections when the freedmen tribal members were found to support then Deputy Chief Perry Wheeler instead of Principal Chief
Ross Swimmer for the office of Principal Chief appears to indicate that the Principal Chief of the Cherokee nation in 1983 believed that the treaty of 1866 was not in force. Indeed, Cherokee nation attorney Wilcoxen made such a statement to that effect in a brief filed in July 1984 to support a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Reverend Nero and others ( R. H. Nero Vs. Cherokee Nation et al: US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma: 84-C-557-C).
Another area of confusion to the former Congressman may be the fact that tribal attorneys during the case Cherokee nation Versus Babbitt
(117 F.3D 1489 : DC Circuit 1997 with James Hamilton as Attorney for the Appellant) stated that the Delaware people were members of the
Cherokee nation based on the treaty of 1866 between the US Government and the Cherokee nation and a subsequent treaty. This 1866 treaty
under which the Cherokee nation agreed to allow other Indian tribes to settle upon certain parts of its lands was the same treaty which adopted the free blacks and former slaves of the Cherokees into the tribe as equal citizens with all other Cherokees. This treaty of course also re-established the government to government relationship between the Cherokee nation and the US government after the Civil War. (14 Stat 799: Ratified July 27, 1866)
The above are examples where tribal leaders have not upheld rights of Descendants of Freedmen tribal members established by treaty during
the 1800s and by their actions raise questions as to whether or not they believe that treaties are the supreme law of the land. Also, by demanding that the freedmen provide "certificates of Indian blood" based on a tribal membership roll (the dawes roll) which was designed to not record "degrees of Indian blood " for the vast majority of tribal members with African Indian ancestry creates the appearance to Office holders and political candidates that the "Dawes Rolls" are
accurate for determining the presence and amount of "Indian blood" of those individuals who were listed on the "final rolls" Imagine if the US government, in an attempt to completely destroy this tribal nation stated that it would only recognize as a nation a tribe made of Cherokee Indians who could provide a degree of Indian blood based on the blood quantum number written for their ancestor on the 1880 tribal roll, well knowing that that roll recorded no such numbers.
This would clearly be seen as a way to terminate the government to government relationship between the US and the tribal nation. And if
the leaders of tribal nations do not believe that treaties should be followed pertaining to the rights of small minority groups within the tribes , it may be impossible to convince the majority race including politicians and officeholders that treaties are to be followed in other matters and are indeed the Supreme law of the land.
Marilyn Vann - President - President - Descendants of Freedmen Box 42221, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma