Descendants Of Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes

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pdf/cherokee/red bird vs cherokee nation..pdf

pdf/cherokee/Professor Dan Littlefield on Freedmen 2006.pdf

pdf/cherokee/Moses Whitmire Vs Court of Claims.pdf

pdf/cherokee/JIM crow Jon Velie article.pdf

pdf/cherokee/freedmen thomas downing.pdf

pdf/cherokee/1975 1999 constitution.pdf

pdf/Assistant_Sec_letter_3_28_07.pdf

pdf/Cherokee Treaty of 1866.pdf

pdf/SC-06-12%2013- Opinion%20 12-19-06.pdf

pdf/SC-06-12%2014-Dissenting20Opnion 2012-19-06 leeds.pdf

pdf/SC-06-12%2015-Opinion 2012-21-06 dowty.pdf

dawes.pdf

claremore_meeting_june_8_revised.pdf

cno_meeting jay june 22 2006.pdf

Wichita Cherokee Meeting Aug 12 2006.pdf

unkansas1106.pdf

petition challenge.pdf

22ibia075.pdf

History_of_the_Cherokee_Indians_Freedmen_Frank_Vann.pdf

cherokee_vs_us_1963_12_icc_570.pdf

cherokee nation et al - claims court.pdf

Title 25 section 991 1962 per capita payment.pdf

Lucy_Allen_Vs_Cherokee_nation_Tribal_council.pdf

Riggs_Vs_Ummerteskee_JAT97_03_K.pdf

Tribal Council request 4 27 2006.doc.pdf

cherokee freedmen facts.doc.pdf

adopted whites on cherokee by blood.pdf

CHEROKEE FREEDMEN STORY - UPDATED 5 29 06.pdf

TribalCouncilLetter6-11-2006.pdf

cherokee nation vs journeycake.pdf

Cherokee Treaty of 1866.pdf

bia dawes rolls.pdf

bia muskogee voting 1983.pdf

bia springwater - 1984.pdf

pdf/cherokee/congressional black caucus letter 1137_001.pdf

pdf/cherokee/Gritts Versus Fisher 224 us 640.pdf

Cherokee Freedmen Story as of   August 2,  2005 by Marilyn Vann – President of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Association

Cherokee people with African blood have been members of the Cherokee nation on some basis since the first people with African blood came into the Cherokee areas of the SE United States.  The majority of the people with African blood living in the Cherokee nation prior to the Civil war lived there as slaves of Cherokee citizens or as free black non citizens, usually the descendants of Cherokee men and women with African blood.  (Children of Cherokee women tribal members were tribal citizens regardless of race of the father – This is clear in the Cherokee constitution of 1827 and 1839).

In 1863, the Cherokee government outlawed slavery through acts of the tribal council. In 1866 , a treaty was signed with the US government in which the Cherokee government agreed to give citizenship to those people with African blood living in the Cherokee nations who were not already citizens.  (see 14 Stat. L. 799). The 1839 constitution was amended by the national council on November 28, 1866 so that its provisions would be in line with the 1866 treaty.  Between 1866 until the end of the end of tribal government, about 1907, African Cherokee people participated as full citizens of that nation, holding office, voting, running businesses, etc.  This time of tribal peace and harmony began to come to an end, however when the Dawes Commission, under Acts of Congress came to the Cherokee nation and registered almost all of the people with African blood as “Freedmen tribal members”; not recording “blood quantum’s” for African Cherokee people . The tribal citizens could not decide how they were to be classified – such classification was the prerogative of the Dawes commission.  (It must be emphasized that even the blood quantums of non freedmen citizens were mere guesses and were only meant to be used for land restrictions; ie whether or not a tribal member could sell his allotment without government approval. Rolls of citizens prepared by the tribes prior to the 1890s had no “blood quantums”). In 1907, “Jim Crow Laws” were passed by the white majority in the state of Oklahoma, which created legal distance between the Freedmen tribal members and the rest of the tribe.   Between 1907 and 1975, the Cherokee Freedmen tribal members received the same per capita payments as other tribal members and intermittently accessed benefits as tribal members. Under Title 25 section 991, members of the Cherokee nation listed on the “final rolls” of the Dawes Commission.  were entitled to receive a Judgement fund  payment during the early  1960s. CHEROKEE FREEDMEN  AS TRIBAL MEMBERS RECEIVED THIS PAYMENT.   In 1907, Freedmen represented about 10 to 12% of the tribe, according to US  government records.

In 1971, the Federal government authorized the Cherokee nation (CNO)  to once again establish its own government. Cherokee Freedmen voted in elections in 1971, 1975, and 1979. A constitution was voted on by the Cherokee people, including  some  freedmen in 1975 which indicated that  Dawes enrollees and their descendants were  entitled to membership  in  the Cherokee nation.  The constitution made the tribe subject to all of the laws of the United States and required that the tribe receive the permission of the President or his designee before adopting new constitutions or constitutional amendments.   However, the Cherokee Freedmen were blocked at the polls, beginning in 1983 under the orders of Chief Swimmer (now special trustee appointed by President George W. Bush who also served as BIA head during the 1980s under President Reagan) because they supported a rival candidate for Chief , Perry Wheeler who was Deputy Chief at that point. 

Subsequently, the tribal council, under the direction of chief Wilma Mankiller,  later passed an Act requiring that all tribal members be able to provide a Certificate of Indian blood Card (CDIB), based  strictly on the Degree of blood listed on the Dawes Rolls for themselves or their ancestor.  Since that roll did not list a degree of blood for Freedmen tribal members, this effectively removed all Freedmen and their descendants from tribal membership, even though a large number if not the majority could provide a degree of Indian blood from their Dawes testimony, Guion Miller  payment roll testimony, Henderson payment Roll, death and heir ship documents of the US government , etc.  This action of blocking the freedmen from tribal membership was not done under the direction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), for BIA Muskogee officials Dennis Springwater and Joe Parker had met with tribal officials in 1983, and emphasized that the Cherokee constitution as well as the treaty of 1866 granted citizenship to the Cherokee Freedmen and their Descendants. The tribe was told the Freedmen should be allowed to vote. Affidavits of the  longstanding BIA position are a part of the Nero case file. See also:  BIA’s Solicitor’s Opinion, October 1, 1941, 1 Op. Sol. On Indian Affairs 1076 (U.S.D.I. 1979),   where the BIA reaffirmed  that the  Cherokee Freedmen voting and  membership rights were fixed by treaty and formal tribal actions . 

The press took note of these matters, especially when a Reverend Nero and several other Freedmen filed a lawsuit against the Cherokee nation and the BIA in 1984. Then Chief Swimmer stated in the Oklahoma Eagle newspaper that it was “easier for the registration department to process tribal memberships of people with  CDIB cards (at that time, the tribe did not have a contract with the BIA to process CDIB cards), which must raise the question of why Cherokee citizens must be deprived of their rights in order to make the job of registration easier for tribal employees on salary.  The Baltimore son reported on July 29, 1984 that then Deputy  Chief Wilma Mankiller  told the Baltimore Sun that Cherokee Freedmen should not have tribal membership since such membership should be for “people with Cherokee blood”-  words which must  clearly be seen as an effort to prejudice the Cherokee people as well as the general American people that people with African blood cannot document Cherokee blood and are not Cherokee Indian people,  and perpetrating those old “one drop of blood” standards that  people with African blood have no other blood and must be kept as a people completely apart unlike any other people.  Cherokee nation attorney Wilcoxen during the Nero case appears to have clearly attempted to prejudice the judge against the Cherokee freedmen plaintiffs by wrongly proclaiming that the “Freedmen did not have Cherokee blood”, and that the 1975 constitution only allowed “Cherokees, Delaware, and Shawnee” to be tribal members”;  although the Constitution does not say that. (Bands of Delaware and Shawnee Indians were adopted into the Cherokee nation after 1866, whose individuals are not required to also have “Cherokee blood” to be Cherokee citizens). The Nero lawsuit was dismissed by the judge in 1989 over jurisdictional issues; that for example the case should have been tried in the court of claims due to the amount of dollars the plaintiffs were requesting. 

In 1998, the Cherokee nation justices heard a citizenship case by a descendant of Cherokee Freedmen, Bernice Riggs . (Bernice Riggs Versus Lela Ummerteskee, Acting Registrar of the Cheorkee Nation  (JAT 97-03-K) In 2001, The tribal justices  ruled that  the testimony and records provided that Mrs Riggs indeed had Cherokee blood. However, they held that this Cherokee ancestor, a man named Rogers was deceased at the time of the Dawes enrollment; - had he been alive at the time of the Dawes enrollment, she would have been able to become a Cherokee citizen based on his degree of Cherokee blood but that since his descendents were listed as Freedmen by the Dawes Commission, she did not have an ancestor with a Dawes Final Roll number from  whom she  could obtain a CDIB card. The tribal justices determined that the Cherokee nation is  a sovereign nation and could grant membership  to whomever they wished.  (It must be noted that individuals with Caucasian mothers and dead Cherokee fathers were not excluded from being enrolled as “citizens by blood by the Dawes Commission” and that the descendants of such individuals are not barred from Cherokee membership today.).

In 1999, the Cherokee nation prepared a new constitution to submit for BIA approval.  The BIA, under Kevin Gover, rejected the new constitution, partially under the grounds that the Cherokee nation would not allow Cherokee Freedmen to vote on it, and that the new constitution would not allow Cherokee freedmen to hold office.  According to the official Cherokee Phoenix tribal newspaper (Spring 2001), the CNO attempted to take the new constitution directly to president Clinton, but he would not sign it either.  According to the tribal newspaper, they determined to request instead that the BIA agree to remove requirements of federal   government approval of constitutional amendments and new constitutions. A decision was made to wait for a “friendlier administration”, in the words of the Cherokee Phoenix tribal newspaper.  The same tribal newspaper article also carried a statement from Attorney And Cherokee citizen Ralph Keen, that it is not the tribal constitution which bars freedmen and their descendants from voting on the constitution but a tribal statute.

In 2002, BIA head Neal McCaleb was approached with a request to allow a referendum by Cherokee voters on a constitutional amendment removing federal approval.  Neal McCaleb wrote a letter in March 2002, stating that the Freedmen must be allowed to vote on the amendment and that no amendment of the Constitution could eliminate the Freedmen from tribal membership.  In April 2002, another letter, with Neal McCalebs signature said he did not write the first letter; the second letter did not say anything about the Freedmen being required to vote on the constitutional amendment. Note that this second letter was completely opposite of all BIA policy since the 1940s. The Cherokee nation government, under Chief Smith, held various meetings around the Cherokee nation, encouraging people to approve the referendum and also the proposed constitution, which has no provision for federal approval of constitutional amendments and did not make the Cherokee nation government subject to US law.

In May 2003, a referendum was held regarding the constitutional amendment, and a vote was held in July 2003 on the proposed new constitution. Both were passed by those individuals who were allowed to vote. Descendants of Cherokee freedmen who tried to participate as voters were not given voting cards, or absentee ballots, and were given “challenged ballots” at the polls if they tried to vote in person. 

In June, 2003; several descendants of Cherokee Freedmen, through the law firm Velie and Velie; contacted the Department of the Interior, challenging the 2003 elections, based on the rights of the freedmen in the 1866 treaty, the 1975 constitution, and the Seminole nation versus Norton cases of 2001 and 2002 where Judge Kolar Kotelly had upheld the treaties of 1866 for the Seminole freedmen and their voting and membership rights in the Seminole nation.  Several prominent Cherokee nation individuals such as then Deputy Chief Hastings Shade also sent a letter to the BIA questioning the validity of an election when the Cherokee freedmen were not allowed to vote. Various letters went  from  Chief Smith to the BIA accusing the BIA officials of “having a bias against the self government rights of the Cherokee nation”.                                  

                       In late July 2003, the Muskogee BIA director wrote a letter, temporarily recognizing chief Smith, but still withholding approval of the constitutional amendment, citing the Seminole nation cases. About 1 week later, another letter, written by the same Muskogee  bia official recognized Chief Smith as principal chief , but still  did not approve the constitutional amendment.

On August 11, 2003, descendants of Cherokee Freedmen, thru the Velie and Velie law firm filed the lawsuit Vann et al Versus Norton ((1:03 CV01711) in the District of Columbia district court. After the initial complaint was filed, various stays have been granted by Judge Kennedy for the parties to attempt a resolution.  During this time period, Cherokee nation officials made  statements to the press such as  the following to the Fort Smith Times on August 8, 2003, “Freedmen had never voted  for officials of the Cherokee nation (made by  tribal spokesman Mike Miller). This is an untrue statement as  such men as Freedmen Councilman Stick Ross even now have several streets, companies, etc named after him and there is even a plaque with his name on the grounds of the council house in Tahlequah.).  The Muskogee Phoenix   newspaper on September 13, 2003  interviewed Principal Chief Smith, an attorney,  who  reportedly stated that  “the Cherokee constitution requires  CDIB cards”. 

However, an examination of Article III of the  tribal Constitution shows there are no requirements for CDIB cards  or mention of  “blood”  for tribal members. The same newspaper article  quoted the Principal Chief as saying  the driving force behind the Federal lawsuit were  losers of tribal elections who are  “sore losers”  .  When the Daily Oklahoman on August 17,  2003 raised the issue of many descendants of Dawes enrolled Cherokee Freedmen being barred from tribal membership despite documentable Cherokee blood, tribal spokesman Mike Miller stated that “perhaps some cases needed to be looked at again”.  (However, no  actions  have been taken by the Cherokee nation government to  change the tribal code to give tribal membership to such individuals or recommend issuing CDIB cards to them as of  August  2005). Neither have individuals such as Bernice Riggs whom the tribal courts and or the BIA determined to have Cherokee blood   sources from other than a blood quantum listed on the “Cherokee by blood rolls” been issued CDIB cards  and or tribal memberships  as of August 2005. 

In January 2005, the Cherokee nation, through its Washington law firm, Sonowsky et all filed motions to intervene in the lawsuit for the sole purpose of filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.  The CNO lawsuits insisted that this was not a waiver of the tribe’s sovereign immunity. One of the CNO  chief complaints was that they had not been allowed to participate in any negotiations between the Cherokee Freedmen descendants attorneys and the Department of the Interior.  However, this was untrue, as during the summer of   2004, the Velie law firm had made contacts with Cherokee nation chief and the general council through a Cherokee nation community leader; and indeed a phone conversation regarding the issues had taken place between Jon Velie and CNO general council Fite and a tentative agreement was made  for face to face meetings.  After the single phone conversation, the general council  Julian Fite refused to take phone calls from the plaintiffs attorneys and did not contact plaintiffs attorney  ).   The law firm of Velie and Velie filed a response to the CNO motion to intervene on February 1, 2005, and pointed out the attempts of the Sonowsky firm to mislead the Judge regarding the plaintiffs attempting to “keep  the Cherokee nation from the negotiating table”.  Furthermore,  in an attempt to engage the tribal officials, the very night of the lawsuit filing, attorney Jon Velie had addressed the tribal council, regarding the rights of the Freedmen. And, on March 18, 2004, plaintiff Marilyn Vann had addressed the rules committee, which consists of the entire tribal council, regarding the desire of the Cherokee Freedmen to work with the council. Plaintiff Marilyn Vann has also provided several documents to the council from time to time regarding the rights and history of the Cherokee Freedmen. Cherokee council members have been invited to almost all of the general  meetings of the Descendants of Freedmen in Eastern Oklahoma since 1/2004.

On February 7, 2005, the agenda for the upcoming February 17, 2005  CNO  rules committee was posted on the council house door, and contained an  agenda item titled “A Resolution Ratifying Intervention in Litigation in the US District Court for the District of Columbia”. This item was associated with a resolution to obtain council approval retroactively of the filing of the motions by the Sonowsky law firm to dismiss the freedmen lawsuit. Contacts made by various Cherokee citizens with tribal councilmen indicated that they had no idea that such a resolution was on the agenda, or that any motions had been already filed, or how much money was involved.  The resolution indicated that the lawsuit was an attack on the sovereignty of the Cherokee nation, stated that the Cherokee nation had not been allowed to participate in negotiations between the Cherokee freedmen attorneys and the bia.  Plaintiff Marilyn Vann contacted the head of the Rules Committee,  Attorney Meridith Swimmer Frailey, and asked to be allowed to speak at the meeting. The committee chair said that legally, it was too late for her (Vann) to be added to the agenda, as agenda additions must be made 10 days before the meeting. Vann stated that of course she must abide by the rules of the tribal council and the committees but had no way of knowing more than 10 days ahead of time that the resolution would be on the agenda. 

On February 17, 2005, the resolution was presented by Melody Knight of the Cherokee nation Justice Department.  She stressed that the filing of the complaint was a direct attack on the Cherokee nation; and again, wrongly  reiterated to the listeners that the Cherokee nation had been kept out of the negotiations, (This allegation, however,  had been refuted on February 1, 2005 by the Velie law firm brief filed with the Federal court).  A few questions were asked by a councilman, to clarify that the motions had already been filed, the validity of the expenditures, and the council’s right to review the expenditures.  A councilwoman Cowan  said she wanted for a judge to make a decision and not the BIA regarding the Freedmen rights.  8 Councilmen – Frailey, Yargee, Smoke Conner, Garvin, Anglen, Johnson, Martin, and Cowan voted for the resolution. Hoskin and Thornton voted against the resolution.  Other council members were not present for the vote.

Plaintiff Marilyn Vann, at the request of a councilman, was allowed to speak for 5 minutes after the vote.  She called for the council to do the right, legal and moral thing for the good of all the Cherokee people and that the Cherokee nation did not need to file motions to dismiss the Cherokee freedmen litigation in order to be able to negotiate with the Freedmen attorneys and the department of the interior. The resolution was set to be voted on by the full council on March 14, 2005 at 6PM.

After discussion with Councilman Joe Crittenden ,  Marilyn  Vann contacted tribal employee Gina Blackfox who advised her of how to structure a letter to be placed on the   agenda for the March 14, 2005 council meeting. This letter was faxed to the council house on February 18, 2005 to Ms Blackfox. Marilyn Vann was later contacted by Councilman Crittenden, who indicated that the letter had been distributed to the council, as well as the tribal council attorney, Todd Hembree.  Councilman Crittenden stated that  Attorney Hembree had researched this issue and  had stated that Marilyn Vann could address the council legally.  Head of the tribal council,  Deputy chief Joe Grayson had been advised of this clearance and that Marilyn Vann would be addressing the council during the reports section.   However, the night of the council meeting, Marilyn Vann was told by Councilman Crittenden that Meridith Frailey preferred her to address the council during the resolution  discussion and not at the reports section.  He further stated that Joe Grayson asked for the report to be limited to 5 minutes.   When the resolution agenda item came up,  Committee Chair Frailey began addressing the council regarding the reason to vote for the intervention (a key reason being the need for the tribe not being a part of the negotiations) and time was allowed for the council to discuss the issue, Mr Crittenden asked that Marilyn Vann be allowed to give a report. Councilwoman Cara Cowan objected, saying that Marilyn Vann was not a member of the council, was not actually listed on the agenda, and had not given 10 days notice for the council to be allowed to speak.  She Said that Marilyn Vann could not be allowed to go back and forth with the council since she was not a council member and had  addressed the council before regarding the freedmen issues (this is an incorrect statement – Marilyn Vann had never addressed the full tribal council – and has never debated with any member of the tribal council on any issue , although she has provided information to certain councilmen  (for example copies of the tribal constitution to a councilman who had been told by  parties not named by him that the “tribal constitution requires CDIB cards” ) and sometimes  had provided information to the full council). She said that Marilyn Vann had presented some information to the rules committee and that is where she should present her information she wanted to give the council.  Joe Grayson said that Cowan was right and asked Marilyn Vann, what type of information she wanted to give the council. Vann said she wanted to address the litigation, the resolution,  and the freedmen issue. Grayson said that the resolution was not about the freedmen and that Vann would not be allowed to speak.  (Since Marilyn Vann  was not allowed to  speak, she was not able to present the council with written evidence  that  General Council  Julian Fite and  Principal Chad Smith had refused to meet  face to face with the freedmen attorneys  for negotiation purposes after indicating interest in doing so  after being contacted by plaintiffs attorneys) .    A vote was taken on approving the resolution to intervene in the DC lawsuit filed by the Cherokee Freedmen descendants and the full Council voted 7 to 6 to support the resolution.  After the meeting, Marilyn Vann approached Joe Grayson  and tried to tell him that she had meant no disrespect to the council by coming to provide a council report, but she  had been informed that she had been cleared to speak by council attorney Todd Hembree and had given 3.5  weeks notice to the tribal council.  Grayson raised his voice at Vann, and asked was she or was she not a citizen? Vann said, she did not have a blue card and Grayson said -  That says it all!”   Cherokee citizen Ed Crittenden of Tahlequah  then began to talk of the treaty of 1866 and  Joe Grayson shouted at him “I don’t care about the treaty of 1866!” . Someone came forward and told Grayson his wife needed him and Vann quickly retreated.   Later on Vann, was contacted by several parties who told her that the streaming video had been turned off almost as soon as the discussion on the resolution agenda item came on.  One  tribal councilman said that he saw the  streaming video being turned off of both cameras  with his own eyes.  Discussion with tribal members over the age of  45 who have been present at many tribal council meetings since the tribal council first began meeting again back in the 1970s said that NO  tribal council member  in the history of the Cherokee nation had  ever been barred from having a person  speak  to the council (whether  the proposed speaker  held a blue card or not) who they  felt had information to present to the tribal council on an agenda item.

AS of  August 2005, Judge Kennedy is still reviewing the initial motion to intervene filed by the Sonowsky law firm in January 2005.

LUCY ALLEN CASE TRIBAL COURT Case: 

In the fall of 2004, Mrs Lucy Allen of Tulsa, whose ancestors were enrolled as Cherokee Freedmen despite their document able Cherokee blood  (Her ancestors  classed as  Cherokees  (as opposed to adopted coloreds) by the 1880 authenticated Cherokee nation tribal roll,  were listed as ‘freedmen” by the Dawes Commission) filed a lawsuit in the Cherokee nation tribal court to challenge whether or not the Cherokee nation tribal council has the authority to strip citizenship from descendants of Dawes enrollees who are citizens based on the 1975 tribal constitution especially since such individuals were not allowed to vote on those actions of the tribal court. Attorney for the current tribal council, Todd Hembree filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in December 2004 in the tribal court.  The plaintiff, Mrs Allen was threatened by tribal attorneys  with court costs for filing a “frivolous lawsuit”.  Briefs were filed by all parties   The case went to trial on August 2, 2005.

On August 2, 2005, the tribal court case of Lucy Allen was heard by the Cherokee nation tribal court. Tribal attorneys  Richard Osborne and Todd Hembree had earlier presented briefs stating that the Cherokee nation should not have to include people who were not Cherokees, that the Freedmen had been removed from the tribe in 1907,  that the 1975 constitution did not specifically list freedmen as being tribal members,  that the Riggs case should be followed, that the tribe had been forced to adopt the Freedmen against their will in 1866, that amendments to the 1839 constitution to adopt the Freedmen after the treaty had been incorrectly made, and that the Cherokee Freedmen were not listed on the Dawes Rolls.   Lay Advocate David Cornsilk for Lucy Allen had filed briefs showing that the freedmen had not been removed from the tribe in 1907 and issues regarding whether or not the tribe had not adopted the freedmen or had been forced to,  had been addressed in favor of the freedmen by the court of claims during the 1960s, that the Cherokee nation already included people who had no Cherokee blood, that the Cherokee constitution of 1975 did not need to list all of the categories of Dawes enrollees when it stated that Dawes enrollees were members, that Riggs was different than Allen regarding who was being sued and the nature of the suit, and provided evidence to the court that the Freedmen Dawes enrollees did receive Dawes Roll numbers just the same as other tribal members.  Lay Advocate briefs also stated that the current tribal court could not ascertain the validity of the 1839 constitutional amendments.  (Note  to the reader: –  The Indian Claims Court case 12 Indian  Ct Claims 570 reported that the 1839 constitutional amendments approved by the National Council in November  1866  had been written by then chief WP Ross , who was  a Princeton Educated lawyer and the nephew of  the deceased Chief John Ross and clearly holds that the tribe had not been forced to adopt the freedmen and that  objections to their adoption had not been made by the majority of the delegates.) The brief also cited:  US Court of Claims in 180 Ct. Cl. 181 in May  1967 affirms lower court decision of the Indian Claims Commission as pertain to the freedmen and their citizenship rights.

At  the Lucy Allen trial,  the tribal court justices asked questions of both the lay advocate and the tribal attorneys.  Tribal attorneys agreed, after questioning,  that until 1975 that the Freedmen had a strong case for being members of the tribe and stated that it was their belief that at least some freedmen had voted on the 1975 constitution after being shown a Freedmen voting card from  Curtis Vann . However, they stated that they believed that by not clearly mentioning the Freedmen as part of the Dawes enrollees in the same way that the Delaware and Shawnee were mentioned that that effectively omitted them from tribal membership in the 1975 constitution.   (Note to the reader: The Constitution does not list out all the rolls such as Cherokee minor, newborn, etc ). The tribal attorney criticized the lay advocate for bringing another freedmen case to the tribal court and stated that he was sure that if he, the lay advocate,  lost that he would bring another client to court. The tribal attorney also stated that under the Oliphant Supreme Court decision, the freedmen if given tribal membership cards would not be “Indians” and would not be subject to the tribal court jurisdiction. He also stated that the Freedmen allotments would not be “Indian country since they were unrestricted”.  One of the justices challenged this statement – stating that later Supreme Court decisions placed all tribal members under the jurisdiction of tribal courts. (Note to the reader – almost no Cherokee allotments are under restriction currently due to the fact that allotments become unrestricted when the allotment holder has blood quantums of less than ½).    The tribal attorney also stated that many people of higher blood quantum are leaving the Cherokee nation and joining the United Keetowah band, because they complain of too many low blood quantum tribal members and that the lay advocate is wishing to add more people in with no Cherokee blood which will further drive people to the UKB.  He also stated that the fact that Congress passed legislation to keep people classed as Freedmen by the Dawes Commission from transferring to by blood rolls clearly meant that the Freedmen rolls were different than the other rolls .  (Note to the reader – the tribal attorney  appears to not take note of the fact that originally, only the allotments held by Freedmen and intermarried and adopted whites were unrestricted so that the Dawes Commission was under great pressure to enroll as many as possible as Freedmen in spite of their statements and proofs of Indian blood.  (See 33 Stat L 189 – Also  see Goat Vs US 224 US 458) . Regarding tribal attorneys statements that the lay advocate wishes to bring in people with no Cherokee blood,  The lay advocate had filed briefs, discussing the case of the Lynch Family where the Dawes Commission had arbitrarily classed 2 of the children of  immigrant Cherokee by blood Cynthia Clark Lynch  (who was married to a Cherokee Freedmen Allen Lynch)  as Freedmen  even though they obtained attorneys and fought the Dawes Commission regarding their Freedmen status.  Andrew Lynch and Mary Lynch Kelley  were initially given blood degrees by the Dawes Commission on temporary cards but these cards were cancelled and their freedmen census cards like all other freedmen cards contain no blood degrees.  (See Andrew Lynch Cherokee Freedmen Census Card # 1228 and cancelled Cherokee By blood Census card # 4536 which showed him with a ¼ degree of  Cherokee blood  and states he has been transferred to a freedmen census card and that the card 4536 has been cancelled. . The  Freedmen census card has no blood degree listed for him and there is no degree of blood besides his  Freedmen Dawes Roll number 3428 . Mary Lynch Kelleys Freedmen census card # is 1257 shows no degree of Cherokee blood. Her cancelled card Cherokee by blood # 3631 shows a blood degree of 1/8. It states she has been transferred to a freedmen census card. Her dawes Freedmen roll number 2953  has NO degree of blood listed by it. ).   The Dawes Commission however,  did  classify some other children  of the same husband and wife Cynthia and Allen Lynch  as Cherokee by blood with blood degrees after a great deal of fighting against their  being classed as Freedmen  by the family. Listed with blood degrees on the same Dawes card with their mother are:  Bert, Earl, and Emma Lynch – See Cherokee By Blood Census Card 3364  in which Bert, Earl and  Emma Lynch receive blood degrees of 1/8. Although not necessarily stated in the trial brief, the Lynch Family members listed as Freedmen did receive the Guion Miller Payment which they would not have received without proof of Cherokee blood. We have included the above information (much of which is filed with the tribal court case)  as additional proof to refute statements by those who continue to state that  the people of African Cherokee mixtures were enrolled as Cherokee by blood and only those without Cherokee blood were listed as freedmen. ).  

The lay advocate stated that the Cherokee nation constitution as well as the Seminole was unlike for example the Chickasaw which clearly excluded the Freedmen which states that  a tribal member must be descended from a Dawes enrollee who was listed with a blood degree on the Dawes Final rolls.  He stated that the Justices did not need to look further than the Cherokee Constitution to see who the members of the Cherokee nation were  - the Dawes enrollees and their descendants – (as opposed to being strictly limited to   descent from Cherokees by blood ”  as listed on the final rolls which is a part of the tribal code  and not the tribal constitution) and that subsequent tribal legislation after 1975 to restrict the tribal membership to only those with blood degrees  from the Dawes Final rolls should be ruled unconstitutional by the tribal court.  He mentioned the arbitrariousness of the Dawes Commission in how the rolls were made and stated that although he looked different from Lucy Allen, both their rights were the same under the laws of the Cherokee nation.   

The Justices of the JAT are reviewing the  Lucy Allen case as of August 3, 2005.

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