Cherokee Freedmen descendant Anthony King, center, asks a question while Freedmen descendants Raymond Foreman, left, and William Lawrie listen during a July 14 meeting in Muskogee, Okla. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Freedmen anticipate winning citizenship rights

Cherokee Nation citizen David Cornsilk shares tribal registration information with Cherokee Freedmen descendants during a July 14 meeting in Muskogee, Okla. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX A Cherokee Freedmen descendant wears a T-shirt that honors his heritage during a July 14 meeting in Muskogee, Okla. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen David Cornsilk shares tribal registration information with Cherokee Freedmen descendants during a July 14 meeting in Muskogee, Okla. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter
07/20/2012 08:28 AM
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Area Cherokee Freedmen descendants gathered July 14 at the First Missionary Baptist Church to discuss the latest development in their fight for Cherokee Nation citizenship, saying justice would soon be served on their behalf.

On July 2, the Department of Interior filed a counterclaim against the Nation to obtain a declaratory judgment that the 1866 Treaty between the CN and United States provides Freedmen descendants with certain rights and privileges, including tribal citizenship.

The counterclaim is now part of a lawsuit filed in 2009 by the CN against five Freedmen and the Interior in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in Tulsa. No hearing dates have been set for the suit or the counterclaim.

“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been waiting for justice to be served for the Cherokee Freedmen,” said Kathy Washington, one of the Freedmen defendants in the case.

She said many of her ancestors are on “all the Cherokee rolls” and her great-great-great-great grandfather was a by-blood Cherokee named Mose Mackey.

“We come from a long line of Cherokee history and to be told that our history no longer matters, it really does hurt. It deeply hurts,” she said. “We came across the Trail (of Tears) and suffered along with the Cherokee and helped build the Nation.”

A Sept. 2, 2011, injunction from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia allows Washington and approximately 2,800 other Freedmen to have CN citizenship while the case is pending.

Washington said she’s praying that soon other Freedmen would be able to enroll in the CN, too.

CN citizen David Cornsilk, a supporter of Freedmen citizenship, spoke to about 50 Freedmen who attended the July 14 meeting. He said he believes with the Interior’s counterclaim Freedmen are “close” to victory and the CN would soon start processing Freedmen applications that have been in the Registrar’s Office since March 2007.

On March 3, 2007, CN voters amended the tribe’s constitution requiring a citizen to have an ancestor with Indian blood on the Dawes Roll.

“I’m not trying to speak for the chief (Bill John Baker)…it just makes sense to me that if people have been denied the ability to be registered in the tribe for as long as you folks have, they need to take special steps to go ahead and get those that have been sitting there waiting through the process,” he said.

Cornsilk walked Freedmen through the registration process and provided tips for getting citizenship applications processed with minimal delays.

Freedmen are basing their rights to CN citizenship on the 1866 Treaty, which was signed after the Civil War. The treaty dictated terms to the CN because it allied with the Confederacy.

In support of its countersuit, the Interior alleges Article IX of the treaty provided, and the CN agrees, that all Freedmen “who have been liberated by voluntary act of their former owner or by law, as well as all free colored persons who were in the country at the commencement of the rebellion, and are now residents therein, or who may return within six months, and their descendants, shall have all the rights of native Cherokee…” Also in November 1866, the CN amended its constitution to comply with treaty.

The Interior is also asking the court to rule that the treaty provided Freedmen and their descendants with “all the rights of native Cherokees,” including the right to citizenship; that the Five Tribes Act and other statutes did not repeal the 1866 Treaty; and that the March 3, 2007, Cherokee constitutional amendment is “inconsistent with the treaty.”

In May, CN Attorney General Todd Hembree filed for a declaratory judgment against the Interior, asserting the treaty “did not guarantee to Freedmen and their descendants eternal, unimpeachable rights to citizenship within the Cherokee Nation.” Additionally, Hembree’s complaint seeks a judgment declaring that the treaty “does not bestow upon…Freedmen a right to citizenship within the Cherokee Nation that cannot be altered by the Cherokee Constitution.”

Hembree said he looks forward to having “all interested parties in the same courtroom and getting a definitive resolution to this matter.”

will-chavez@cherokee.org


918-207-3961

About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life.
He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association.

Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years.
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life. He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association. Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years.

News

BY STAFF REPORTS
04/20/2015 04:00 PM
WASHINGTON – On April 16, the National Park Service announced the awarding of eight Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act grants totaling $74,348, which will assist in the repatriation of individuals and sacred objects, objects of cultural patrimony and funerary objects back to the tribes. “The work funded by these grants is a step toward addressing past violations of the treatment of human remains and sacred objects of native peoples, while restoring the ability of American Indian and Native Hawaiian peoples to be stewards of their own ancestral dead and cultural heritage.” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. Enacted in 1990, NAGPRA requires museums and federal agencies to inventory and identify Native American human remains and cultural items in their collections, and to consult with culturally affiliated Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Native Hawaiian organizations regarding repatriation. Section 10 of the Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to award grants to assist in implementing provisions of the Act. The award recipients include the Native Village of Barrow in Arkansas, the Regents of the University of California, Smith River Rancheria in California, Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, The Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma and Sweet Briar College in Virginia.
BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
04/17/2015 04:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to campaign disclosure reports released on April 15, Principal Chief Bill John Baker has raised more than $830,000, which is more money than all other candidates combined, including two Tribal Councilors who are no longer campaigning for seats. According to the Cherokee Nation’s Election Commission, the first campaign disclosure report was due April 15. A report consists of a beginning campaign fund balance and ending balance. Also included are contribution amounts, in-kind donations, loans, expenditures and advertising statements. Of those running for principal chief, Baker raised the most with $815,054.77 in monetary donations and $17,262.22 in in-kind donations for at total of $832,316.99. He loaned his campaign $4,220 bringing the balance to $836,536.99. After expenditures, his ending balance was $434,934.41. According to the disclosure reports, all other candidates combined raised $572,488.69. Included in that total is Tribal Councilor Cara Cowan Watts, who campaigned for the principal chief seat but did not file to run, and Tribal Councilor Julia Coates, who the EC and CN Supreme Court ruled ineligible to run for the deputy chief seat because she didn’t meet residency requirements. Former Principal Chief Chad Smith received $92,850 in monetary donations and no in-kind donations. He loaned his campaign $10,072.97 bringing the balance to $103,780. After expenditures his ending balance was $50,120.64. Former CN Community Services Group Leader Charlie Soap raised $30,400 while loaning his campaign $7,565.46, bringing his balance to $37,965.46. After expenditures his ending balance was $24,943.56. State Rep. Will Fourkiller’s contributions totaled $10,800. He loaned his campaign $3,153.67 for a balance of $13,953.67. After expenditures his ending balance was $8,538.49. Cowan Watts raised $71,429 in direct contributions and $8,086.99 in in-kind donations for $79,515.99. She loaned her campaigned $50,013.87, which includes direct expenditures, according to the disclosure report. After expenditures her total came to $23,410.88. Also, according to her report, she returned several contributions. In the deputy chief race, incumbent S. Joe Crittenden raised $77,250 with $10,606.50 in in-kind donations. Crittenden loaned his campaign $2,255 making his total revenues $90,111.50. His ending balance for the campaign was $52,517.92 after expenditures. Tribal Councilor Lee Keener totaled $8,450 in direct contributions with $942.27 in in-kind donations for a total of $9,392.27. He loaned his campaign $1,272. After expenditures, his campaign fund was $6,519.97. Coates raised $10,200 with no loans to the campaign. Her ending campaign balance was $0 after expenditures. The Supreme Court on April 13 affirmed the EC’s ruling that stated Coates did not live within the tribe’s jurisdiction 270 days before the June 27 general election, which is required for a deputy chief candidate. To view any candidate’s disclosure report click the links below. <strong>Principal Chief Candidates</strong> <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_allbjbakerfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Bill John Baker's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_csmithfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Chad Smith's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_csoapfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Charlie Soap's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_wfourkillerfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Will Fourkiller's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_ccwattsfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Cara Cowan Watts' campaign financial disclosure report. <strong>Deputy Chief Candidates</strong> <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_sjcrittendenfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> S. Joe Crittenden's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_lkeenerfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Lee Keener's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_jcoatesfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Julia Coates' campaign financial disclosure report. <strong>Tribal Council Candidates</strong> <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_banglenfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Buel Anglen's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_bberryfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Brian Berry's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_bgirtyfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Brandon Girty's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_bkmccoyfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> B. Keith McCoy's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_bmckeefinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Benjamin McKee's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_bswimmerfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Betsy Swimmer's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_bwarnerfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Bryan Warner's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_cbunchfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Corey Bunch's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_dlayfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Dick Lay's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_dmatlockfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Darell Matlock Jr's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_dpatzkowskifinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Dora Patzkowski's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_dreedfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Deb Reed's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_dwalkingstickfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> David Walkingstick's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_kaustinfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Keith Austin's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_khollowayfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Kenneth Holloway's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_kpkilpatrickfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Kathy Kilpatrick's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_lbolinfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Linda Bolin's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_lpritchettfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Larry Pritchett's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_nfullbrightfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Natalie Fullbright's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_pfoxfincancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Pamela Fox's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_rgofffinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Ron Goff's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_rjordanfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Rex Jordan's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_rsierrafinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Ryan Sierra's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_scrittendenfinacial_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Shawn Crittenden's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_sjettfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Shane Jett's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_tbrownfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Trey Brown's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_tjonesfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Thomas Jones' campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_wbpearsonfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> William Pearson's campaign financial disclosure report. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2015/4/9179_whatfieldfinancials_april.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a> Wanda Hatfield's campaign financial disclosure report.
BY STAFF REPORTS
04/17/2015 02:00 PM
ROLAND, Okla. – After working at the Cherokee Casino Roland for 25 years, Arvil Norman Wolfe has decided to retire. Hoping for some extra money during the Christmas season, Wolfe went looking for a part-time job in 1990, the same time Cherokee Nation opened the doors to its first casino, Cherokee Bingo Outpost in Roland. “Cherokee Nation put an ad in the Southwest Times Record looking for part-time employees,” Wolfe said. “I applied and was hired immediately.” Wolfe was born in Lees Chapel, a small town on the outskirts of Muldrow. He graduated from Muldrow High School in 1956 and currently resides in Dora, Arkansas, with his wife, Alta. He enjoys his family and fishing for large-mouth crappie and catfish. He decided to retire in April because he celebrates 57 years with his wife. They also share the same wedding anniversary of her parents and her sister. “There has been enormous growth since I’ve been with the company. It’s unbelievable, really,” he said. “At this point in history, the Cherokees are really on the move.” Over the years, he has seen the company transform into an economic engine for the area, hiring thousands of people since he was first hired. Wolfe was an employee in 1997 when $1.2 million was spent for additions and an improved ventilation system. He was also there in 2002 for a remodel and in April 2014 when the tribe broke ground on a new, $80 million casino and hotel. “I would like to thank Arvil for his many years of service to our Roland casino and the Cherokee Nation,” said Shawn Slaton, interim CNB CEO. “Arvil is a stellar employee and a great example to all of us. We will certainly miss him. We wish him the best in his retirement and hope he enjoys it fishing.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
04/17/2015 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Election Commission discussed the transportation of ballot boxes on April 14 at the Election Services Office. The EC discussed how it would administer money for gas to individuals who are hired to deliver ballot boxes to each precinct in the jurisdiction. However, the commission wanted more information on credit cards so it tabled discussion until more information was received. The commission voted to approve the precinct official manual with minor cosmetic changes. The manual will dictate the processes used by precinct officials to during the 2015 election. Other action discussed including the approval of past meeting minutes as well as entering into executive session where no action was taken.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
04/17/2015 10:00 AM
EDMOND, Okla. (AP) — Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby (ANNA'-tubby) will be the commencement speaker at the University of Central Oklahoma's spring 2015 ceremony for the College of Education and Professional Studies. The ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. May 8 in UCA's Hamilton Field House in Edmond. Anoatubby has served as Chickasaw Nation governor since 1987 and is now in his seventh term in that post.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
04/16/2015 02:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The National Park Service has announced a $4.103 grant to the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. The grant announced Wednesday is one of eight awarded nationwide under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The act requires museums and federal agencies to inventory and identify Native American human remains and cultural items in their collections, and to consult with culturally affiliated Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Native Hawaiian organizations regarding repatriation. The grants are to assist in the repatriation of individuals and sacred objects, objects of cultural patrimony and funerary objects back to the tribes and others.