Thursday, September 21, 2017

The DNA of Our Ancestors Proves They Were Telling the Truth

Equity Case 7071
Bettie Ligon et al. v Douglas H. Johnson et al.,
Green McCurtain et al. & James R. Garfield Secretary of the Interior

Daily Ardmoreite April 14, 1907 p6c5

One of the biggest questions I have concerning the lawsuit concerning more than 1500 women, children and men who sought a transfer from the Chickasaw or Choctaw Freedmen rolls to the Chickasaw or Choctaw by Blood roll is who are the living descendants?

During their lifetime the claimants on Equity Case 7071 never realized their effort to be recognized as citizens based on their ancestry and genealogy related to the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians. During that time they were denied this recognition based generally on having a mother that was considered a slaver or former slave. It didn’t matter if their father was a recognized citizen or considered a Chickasaw or Choctaw Indian they were to be denied solely because they were seen as someone of African descent.

However it is a new day and the descendants of these children, women and men may never be recognized and accepted as Native American or Chickasaw or Choctaw Indians the historical record should reflect the truth of their ancestry and the truth of their struggle to be recognized and accepted as Chickasaw or Choctaw Indians.

The science of DNA was not invented in 1907 but the genetics of today has the possibility of bringing truth to the lie that denied our ancestor’s their rightful place in the nation of their birth. It is through their descendants and our ability to have our DNA tested we are able to bring some much needed and long overdue attention to this issue that has festered for more than one hundred years. 

I will be posting the Dawes Cards and other documents that provide the initial records that the claimants on Equity Case 7071 left us to direct our research on their claims as Chickasaw or Choctaw Indians. For the record I don’t know if everyone listed on Equity Case 7071 has a legitimate claim to Chickasaw or Choctaw ancestry but we have an opportunity to set the record straight on those that do.

The most expedient way to do this is to have the descendants of these men and women have their DNA tested for Native American DNA. The other and equally important aspect of this list is the people who descend from the people on this list should conduct the research that would connect you to your ancestor on “Bettie’s List.”

I have been tested by 23andMe as well as Ancestry and both have determine I have Native American DNA (ancestry) with about a 4% indicating my Native American ancestor was probably 4 or 5 generations before me.  I have discovered at least two other people who have done the research on their ancestors and performed the DNA test indicates we have ancestry in common. Once I compared our ancestors I was able to locate our common ancestor as Thomas LOVE an intermarried white who had two "Chickasaw" wives. 

Chickasaw Freedman Card #391 (rear) Lydia JACKSON

This individual has research that indicates his ancestor claimed to be the child of Benjamin LOVE. My great grandmother Bettie claimed her father was Robert Howard LOVE the half-brother of Thomas. They had different mothers but the same father who was Thomas LOVE our common ancestor. Clearly, we didn’t get our Native American DNA from Thomas but both his wives possessed some degree of Native American blood. This may not be the only source of our Native American DNA but it does provide some convincing evidence that both of our ancestors were telling the truth about who their father was.

Choctaw Freedman Card #106 (rear) Bettie LIGON

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Isabella GILLISPIE et al.,

sabella Gillispie was enrolled as a Chickasaw Freedwoman in 1898 with her thirteen children ranging from eighteen year old son Christopher to her son Andrew who was born May 18, 1902. The family resided in Pontotoc County in the community of Wiley, Indian Territory.

M 1186 Chickasaw Freedman Card #40 Front GILLESPIE, Isabella

Isabella and her children filed a petition to be transferred from the Chickasaw Freedmen Roll to the Chickasaw by Blood Roll which became part of the Joe and Dillard Perry files as petition ninety-five. Their claim of Chickasaw blood like so many on Bettie’s List is based on her father being a Chickasaw blood citizen. Also like other African-Chickasaw mixed people her mother Unity Chico, was a slave of the same man that was her father; his name was Osburn (sic) Fisher also known as David Osborne Fisher.

M 1186 Chickasaw Freedman Card #40 Rear GILLESPIE, Isabella

 David Osborne Fisher was well known in the Choctaw and Chickasaw community and was first married into the large slave owning Kemp family through his wife Elizabeth Kemp. Elizabeth died in 1866 and Fisher married a Matilda Olive in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1868. Prior to his death, Osborne filed an application for enrollment in the Chickasaw Nation with his “intermarried white” wife Matilda, their children as well as an “intermarried white” son-in law Henry Muldrow Jr.

Unfortunately there is not a lot of information contained in either file that provides the basis of Isabella’s claim of her Choctaw ancestry other than the information on the rear of her Chickasaw Freedman enrollment card number 40. The summary page indicates she was the property of Elizabeth Fisher; the wife of David Fisher, contrary to the information provided on the enrollment card. Isabella also provided the names of her eleven children who were also classified as Chickasaw freedmen and not Choctaw or Chickasaw by blood.

Because there is not a lot of information contained in these files the “petition to transfer” file # 95 becomes a very important document to analyze and determine the merits of Isabella’s claim of being the daughter of David Osborne Fisher.

Another interesting insight would be if the descendants of David’s “other” children who appear on Choctaw enrollment card “by blood” number 308 submitting to have their DNA compared to the DNA of Isabella’s descendants.

Don Martini Who's Who Among Southern Indians, a genealogical notebook 1698-1907 p232

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Thomas LOVE Connection, Blood of Their Fathers

Recently I had been contacted by some Chickasaw LOVE descendants and one in particular took me to task about my grandmother’s claim to be the daughter of Robert Howard LOVE . He stated emphatically that it was impossible for Bettie LIGON to be Robert’s daughter and he had the Dawes Choctaw Freedmen card to prove it. Mr. COLE the self-described Chickasaw Elder exchanged a few pleasantries with me and abruptly stopped communicating on the subject; why, I’ll probably never know.  

Fast forward, the other day I was having a discussion with a research colleague about this and that and that and this when she asked me if I had my DNA tested and when was the last time I went online to look at the results. Unfortunately I had to inform her I had not been to 23andme in quite some time and I hadn’t been to the Ancestry DNA site in an equally long time.

After getting off the phone and all of the guilt she was “trying” to lay on me for not having a GED file loaded and some other stuff that was above my pay grade I decided to go online and take a look at what was at Ancestry and came across an email from someone who was classified as a 4th to 6th distant cousin. This individual wanted to share some information and so I accepted his offer. After looking at some of the possible matches we had in common I wrote him back about my first impressions on what his information revealed.

As I told him, at first blush the surname BENNETT stuck out and because his information indicated they lived in Berwyn, Indian Territory of all the names he had in his family tree, this one might have promise.

Well I received a response and my new DNA relative gave me a little more background on the BENNETT and THOMPSON families; how they were “Chickasaws to his knowledge.” I wasn’t totally convinced this was out connection. It was a start and after receiving this message I went back and took another look at the information in his family tree.

Now I saw the LOVE surname but it was only one and it had question marks after the name Liddie so I really didn’t pay a great deal of attention to it at the time initially. I saw another surname JACKSON and of course we all know what a common name this is! I went back to take a closer look and recalled I wrote an article about this very family some time ago.

Liddie or Lidia JACKSON was a claimant on Equity Case 7071 and on her Dawes card you can plainly see where she was seeking a transfer from the Chickasaw Freedman Roll to the Chickasaw by Blood roll; the phrase “See Petition to transfer” is prominent on those who protested being enrolled as Freedmen.

On the rear of Lydia’s card (Chickasaw Freedman #391) she provided the name of her father who was listed as Ben LOVE, Chickasaw. I also remembered Lydia’s daughter Jennie DAVIDSON, (Chickasaw Freedman #390) being the key person seeking a transfer to the Chickasaw Blood Roll

All of this attention and people suddenly coming into my life in some way is a powerful message that illustrates how sometimes things have a way of emerging to tell the story that people like Lydia JACKSON and Bettie LIGON never had the opportunity to effectively tell during their life time.

Bettie protested her enrollment on the Freedmen Roll until her death and I suspect others like Lydia JACKSON and her daughter Jennie DAVIDSON were determined to be rightfully recognized as Chickasaw citizens. Here we are more than one hundred years later and the blood of their fathers may be the one thing that will ultimately tell their story and justify their final acceptance into the nation their birth?

I’m sure anyone who researches LOVE ancestry already understands the connection I have with my new DNA cousin but for those who haven’t figured it out or may not understand some of the intricacies of blended families of Indian Territory I will do my best to explain it.

Simply put, if it is true that Ben LOVE is the father of Lydia JACKSON and if it is true that Ben’s half-brother Robert Howard LOVE is the father of Bettie LIGON,  as I suspect, that indicate the common ancestor for Lydia’s descendants and Bettie’s descendants  is Thomas LOVE.

From everything I can see I have no other connection through marriage or blood that would indicate any descendants of Lydia JACKSON and I have an ancestor in common other than Thomas LOVE.

Throughout my research of Bettie and the claimants of Equity Case 7071 I never made this connection despite the fact it had been staring me in the face for many years. It never dawned on me to look at the siblings of Robert Howard LOVE for confirmation that Bettie was a LOVE.

So this in my opinion opens up a whole new avenue for research and hopefully cooperation of those who are descendants of the people on Equity Case 7071. I would love (no pun intended) to see more of these descendants get DNA tested and compare their test as well as the records of the Dawes Commission to establish that our ancestor’s claims were valid and the Dawes Commission as well as the tribes went to great lengths to deny thousands of people millions of dollars in land allotments.

One last thing; when I took a look at the common matches between me and my new DNA cousin the results indicated there were two other people who had the same or similar DNA match. One of those individuals I knew as one of my sister’s son and the other was someone related to my new cousin.

When I first saw that information it threw me because I couldn’t imagine who this fourth person was and how they fit into the puzzle. BUT if I’m correct this is a whole new ballgame!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lorenzo RUSSELL et al.

I have to repeat why I enjoy researching the history of the Choctaw and Chickasaw freedmen and not just concentrate on my family’s history among these tribes. I take the position that if I research the freedmen at certain points I will discover my own family. The reason I do this is simple, the blending of families was obvious when I began researching this history and researching entire history (for me) is more interesting which serves to maintain my.

As I was going through some names of people associated with Bettie’s List (Equity Case 7071) I came across the name of Lorenzo Russell who appeared to have a Choctaw Indian father and freedwoman for a mother. The fact that it also appeared both of his parents were alive and possibly had Dawes cards and packets meant there was a great possibility there was more information to uncover regarding any claim Lorenzo had to have his file transferred to the Choctaw by Blood Roll.
Chickasaw Freedman Card#1306 rear 
 Based on the information provided on the rear of Lorenzo Russell’s Chickasaw Freedman card number 1306 a Choctaw Indian named Jim Russell is given as Lorenzo’s father.  Who knows if it was by malice or just the Dawes Commission working with the leaders of the Choctaw Nation; the pattern of denying people of mixed African-Choctaw ancestry has done a disservice to the history and legacy of the Five Slave Holding Tribes in general.
Choctaw Freedman Card#1364 front

You can peel through pages of Lorenzo Russell’s Dawes packet and aside from the notation on the rear of his Dawes card there is absolutely no mention of his father or the fact that Lorenzo and all of his descendants possess the blood of his father James Russell. What is remarkable is the file of his father!

Choctaw by Blood M1301 #1545 p4
This is another example of the complex nature of relationships and identities that governed the lives of all who lived in Indian Territory. The fact that in 1904 this couple was married and a Choctaw Indian was married to a freedwoman for many years prior to this date had implications the Dawes Commission had to deal with when enrolling this family for land allotments.

  • Should the children be enrolled as Choctaw by blood? 
  • Would the children receive three hundred and twenty acres of land as opposed to the forty freedmen received? 
  • Was James’ wife entitled to be enrolled as an intermarried citizen? For an Indian with children by a white woman the answer was clear, she and her children would be enrolled as Choctaw citizens by blood.

For whatever reason the attorney for James Russell inquired about James being entitled to enroll as an intermarried citizen “the same as other intermarried Indians by blood.” The commissioner caught this statement and clearly must have scratched his head on why such a question would be up for discussion.

I suspect the attorney inadvertently used James’ name when he should have been asking about the intermarried status of James Russell’s wife. It is later in the file on another page that the name of James’ wife is revealed. 
Choctaw by Blood M1301#1545 p7
There is nothing contained in this “interview” given by Julia Russell the wife of James Russell that prompted Commissioner Needles to see if Julia’s children were on the Choctaw by Blood roll nor did he determine if she wanted to be enrolled as an intermarried Choctaw citizen due to the fact she was “legally” married to a Choctaw Indian. Commissioner Needles simply rubber stamped the interview and enrolled Julia as a Chickasaw freedmen until she was later transferred to the Choctaw Freedmen roll.

Two remarkable documents were present in the file of James Russell; this one with Julia commenting on her parents provided information about her mother and siblings. The document provided information that Julia’s mother had been sold to someone in Texas and while there she gave birth to three other children.

It was this document and that history of being sold along with the name of her mother that rang a familiar tone to me and my own family history. Phoebe Jackson and the story of her being sold by a James Lanihee is the same story of my great great grandfather on my maternal line; Isom Jackson.

Choctaw Freedman Card#1213 rear

Choctaw Freedman Card#1213 front

Choctaw Freedman M1301# 1213 p3
Looking at the brother of Julia, Isom Jackson’s Dawes card you will note Isom’s wife also claimed to have a father of Indian (Chickasaw) descent and blood. This is again a reminder of just how fluid and complex the relationships were during this time and that despite all claims to the contrary there is more and more evidence that Choctaw and Chickasaw men father a large number of children with their slaves and subsequently denied their own children the same privileges of citizenship in the nation of their birth.

To illustrate just how misguided a policy this was by the tribes with the complicity of the United States government, the other document in the packet of James Russell is one dealing with the citizenship claims of another son, Dan Russell.

M 1301 Choctaw by Blood#1545 p2
  •        Naturally the question becomes is this one of Julia’s sons?
  •        Was he enrolled as a citizen by blood or was he a freedman?
  •        Dan and Lorenzo have the same father so they both should be considered “Choctaws by Blood?”
  •       You probably know where I’m going with this but bear with me…
  •        If Dan was mentioned in his father’s Dawes file, he should have a file of his own, right?

Choctaw by Blood # 5371
Dan is the son of James Russell, he is also the half-brother of Lorenzo Russell but because Dan’s mother Molsy was considered a Choctaw Dan was placed on the Choctaw by Blood roll. Dan received payments in 1893 and was considered to be one-sixteenth Choctaw Indian.

Lorenzo on the other hand was placed on the freedmen roll, no mention of his Choctaw blood is provided and despite the marriage between James and Julia, not one other person in this family was placed on the Choctaw by Blood roll.

Quite frankly I don’t know how these tribes morally continue to toe this line of ONLY those who have an ancestor on the “blood” roll have a right to citizenship when the Dawes Commission clearly ignored the relationships and genealogy of the thousands of men and women who sought to be placed on the correct roll for citizenship in the nation of their birth.

There is a third document that has nothing to do with claims of citizenship but was an interesting piece of historical knowledge contained in the file of Dan Russell.

Dan considered him self a cowboy and in 1896 in volunteered to fight in the Spanish American War as a “Rough Rider.” This meant he may have had a relationship or at least knew Teddy Roosevelt before he became president of the United States.
M1301 Choctaw by Blood 5371 p3
There is another historical point to make here and that would be the time Dan spent in Leavenworth Penitentiary. From listening to an online presentation given by the National Archives and from prior experience, there is a good possibility that an image of Dan exist.

His military records I was able to locate online again through NARA only provide some basic information about Dan that is repeated in his testimony before the Dawes Commission so if there is additional information or another military record, the descendants of Dan Russell or for that matter the Choctaw Nation might be encouraged to locate more on this man because of his contribution as a Rough Rider.

M1301 Choctaw by Blood#5371 p5

12 Record of Service Dan Russell NARA National Archives Identifier: 301365
As you can see, the story of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen has a great deal to do with the history of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. Their story should be included as a vital part of both nations so a complete and accurate portrayal of the tribes and all of its people are presented.

To dismiss the history and presence of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen is morally indefensible. The relationships formed by freedmen and Indian despite the institution of slavery suggests the fear of blacks within the tribe is totally without merit. Contrary to the popular belief you have to be “Indian” to be a citizen ignores just how freedmen were ostracized from the nation of their birth and how subsequent generations sought to survive in a hostile community that marginalized their lives and relationships.

Why are the tribes continuing this legacy?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chicken or the Egg?

I have been working on a database for the more than 1500 claimants on Equity Case 7071 or as I like to call it now, “Bettie’s List.” The database I’m constructing will contain many documents from various sources which include Dawes Cards M1186, the interview packets and census records.

One of the census records I've been considering including in the database was the Choctaw Freedman Roll of 1898-1900 that is part of the Green McCurtain Collection. What became evident when I constructed this montage was the information that is reflected in these two documents.

First I was under the impression that the Choctaw freedmen were citizens of the Choctaw nation and therefore they were duly documented in various tribal census records since 1885.

I was also under the impression the information contained on the Dawes cards was derived from person to person interviews conducted during the Dawes Commission allotment activities from 1898 to approximately 1914 when the rolls supposedly closed.

The fact that the information regarding tribal enrollment number and the age of the enrollee on the Dawes card was supposed to be generated from an interview conducted when the “freedmen” “applied” for their forty acre allotment?

Clearly if there was an interview of the enrollee the information on the front and rear of the card should be reflected and documented in a verbatim interview. I have concluded long ago the so called Dawes “Interview” jackets were essentially summaries of the interview and in the majority of cases omitted pertinent information that is reflected on the card without any reference of it in the summary.

Choctaw Freedmen Card # 106 rear Bettie LIGON et al.

For example, in the case of the people on Bettie’s List in practically every instance when one of these individuals indicated they had a parent (male) who was Choctaw or Chickasaw “by blood” the name appears on the rear of the card but does not appear anywhere in their interview.

As I recall the Chickasaw Nation didn’t have a census for their former slaves because they did not adopt them as citizens and felt no special need to document them. However, the Choctaw Nation did adopt their former slaves and their descendants and there are at least two census records that reflect this, the 1885 and the 1898-1900 Choctaw Freedman Censuses.

It appears in this case the 1898 Census was created from the information received during the Dawes Allotment period. I would imagine the Choctaw Nation did not have a full accounting on who was a citizen in their nation when it came to the freedmen until 1898?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bettie's List ~ Julia Jackson

Bettie’s List ~ Julia JACKSON
Choctaw Freedmen # 1213
Choctaw Chickasaw Citizenship Court # 66

Julia Jackson and her children were part of the complainants in Equity Case 7071. They sought to be transferred from the Dawes Choctaw Freedmen Roll to the Choctaw by blood roll; their actions left a record that becomes further evidence not everyone who possessed Choctaw blood got on the blood roll.

Like so many people classified as freedmen the record to establish their blood ties for citizenship are incomplete and require a great deal of deep research. The information contained in the Choctaw Chickasaw Citizenship Court records provided some insight into the paternity of the transfer cases.

Joe and Dillard Case Files #F-66 Julia Jackson et al.,
This document summarizes the facts of the case for transfer from the freedmen roll to the by blood roll for Julia Jackson and her children.

It purports to give accurate information that reflects why she considers herself and her children as people who possess Choctaw blood and therefore entitled to be listed as a “Choctaw by Blood.”

In this document supposedly fifty-six year old Julia informs the Dawes Commission her father was a Choctaw by the name of Ben Gilbert who was the son of a Choctaw by the name of John Gilbert.

If that is the case then Julia rightfully concludes all of her children would also be descendants of Ben and John “Gilbert” and should have been placed on the Choctaw by blood roll.

Historically we know that the Dawes Commission did not enroll everyone with Choctaw blood on the by blood rolls and it appears they went to great lengths to prevent people like Julia Jackson her children and her grand children from being placed on the proper roll.

This record would seemingly be factual and contain all the correspondence received from the attorneys of the Jackson family but as I continue to look at the available records some things just don’t add up.

In the first paragraph of this letter it mentions a petition was filed on February 12, 1906 by attorney Albert J. Lee “praying for the transfer” of Julia and her children. Looking through the entire file the correspondence from attorney Lee is nowhere to be found.

I would think in such an important matter as this that the record of the Dawes Commission should be complete but this is another case where the commission fails to maintain a clean record in the case of people placed on the freedmen roll who sought to be transferred.

The reason this is important becomes clear when you look at the rationale commissioner Tams Bixby gave for denying a transfer in this case.

Joe and Dillard Case Files #F-66 Julia Jackson et al.,
The importance of a clean record in this case has to do with the method the Dawes Commission determined their cases and how that record was  forwarded to the Secretary of the Interior for a final decision.

The Secretary of the Interior could only give a judgment based on the information he was given and it appears two important pieces of information may have never been provided.

It is an established fact that when a file was sent to Washington D.C. for the approval or disapproval of the Secretary of the Interior, the actual Dawes Card was never included in the packet of information. Secondly, the oral interview that resulted in the information placed on the Dawes Card did not and does not exist in the majority of the transfer cases. In the vast majority of cases a summary of the interview is all that remains in the record.

The only time we will see any question and answer interview would be the result of some follow-up interview that occurred after the person enrolled or when there was doubt about their connection to the tribe in question.

In the case of Julia Jackson and her children we have the rare question and answer oral interview but it was not by her; it was given by her husband and in the response to this application the commission is quick to note there was no evidence of an attempt to be enrolled as a citizen by blood prior to 1906.

The other curious factor in this case is the name the Dawes Commission gives as the name of Julia’s father and grandfather; Ben and John Gilbert respectively. Had the clerks or commissioner provided the actual petition for transfer and the original Dawes card they may have caught their errors.

The commission stated there is no record of Ben or John Gilbert and that may be true but it is not the name given to their clerk during the time Julia’s husband Isom gave testimony when he allegedly enrolled the family as Choctaw Freedmen in 1899.

It is possible the names of the individuals given to the commission could have been misspelled because there is some phonetic likeness to Gilbert and McGibrey or McGilberry or McGillivray all of these factors meant it was imperative the commission get it right and have a complete record, which in my opinion they came up woefully short.

We don’t have much information about Ben Gilbert or probably more accurately; Ben McGillivray, but there is some information about a John McGillivray that fits the description of who might have been the grandfather of Julia Jackson.

Don Martini "Who's ?Was Who Among the Southern Indians a Genealogical Notebook 1698-1907"
Don Martini "Who's ?Was Who Among the Southern Indians a Genealogical Notebook 1698-1907"

It will take further research to determine whether one of those male children between ten and twenty was named Ben to see if there is any truth to the rumor that this may have been Julia’s grandfather but clearly the Dawes Commission was completely inaccurate about the name of Julia’s father.

For the record, I’m also perplexed that there is no correspondence from Albert J. Lee correcting this obvious mistake of Gilbert as it is portrayed in the letter from Tams Bixby and McGilbrey/McGillivray as it is noted on the rear of Choctaw Freedmen card number 1213.

There is one more oddity concerning the Dawes Card of Isom and Julia Jackson; there are no slave owners indicated on the front of the card. Because of their ages, they would have them born in slavery, yet only during the interview given by Isom in 1899 he refers to his enslaver. There does not appear to be any information regarding Julia being enslaved.
This appears to be another case where the clerk at the Dawes Commission got it wrong or omitted what should have been important information just to establish the Jackson family to the Choctaw nation for citizenship as freedmen.

The transfer cases continue to bring home the question of how serious the Five Slave Holding Tribes are concerned about their "real" history? 

We see many articles in scholarly journals, history books and on their own websites that advocate the history of their tribes with great fanfare about preserving Indian nations for "Indians." Here are cases in the thousands that clearly point out there are some "Indians" that were left off the rolls and marginalized because their mother's happened to be of "African descent." 

There is no question that "race" was at the heart of these decisions. There is no question that what the tribal leaders did in conjunction with the Dawes Commission was an effort to rid itself of all connections to those slaves who bore the children of Choctaw and Chickasaw men who were entitled to three hundred and twenty acres of land like the children who were given birth by "white" women and Indian fathers.

Problem is, can anyone today say with a straight face the descendants of these men and women do not possess Choctaw and or Chickasaw blood?

Monday, December 12, 2011

One Hundred Years Ago Today...

December 12, 1911

Daily Ardmoreite April 14, 1907 p6c5
What was once thought to be the “most important suit filed” in Indian Territory on April 13, 1907; became a memorandum: just a footnote in the records of the United States Supreme Court!

Bettie Ligon et al., v Douglas H. Johnston, Green McCurtain and James R. Garfield, Secretary of the Interior is commonly known as Equity Case 7071 and the ramifications of this case should have turned Indian Territory upside down.

What happened on this day at the United States Supreme Court defies logic and understanding. The lawsuit involved millions of dollars in land that could have potentially been in the tens or hundreds of millions based on the natural resources like oil, gas, coal and asphalt that was known to be in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations following the Civil War.

The foundation of the claims of citizenship for fifteen hundred to two thousand individuals and their descendants in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations was predicated on one simple truth; we are the product of our ancestors.

In genealogical terms the 1,500 to 2,000 men, women and children who were claimants on Equity Case 7071 were the children of Choctaw and Chickasaw men and therefore should have been placed on the citizenship by blood rolls of their ancestors.

Unfortunately, like most things that involve race, their efforts at obtaining citizenship were thwarted at every turn. The Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations allowed the institution of slavery among their citizens prior to the Civil War and based on their antebellum concepts of race.

The Dawes Commission as well as the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations determined that a child was considered to be the race of their mother and if that mother was determined to be black, Negro, or of African descent, then so was the child.

This of course had to include the absurdity of completely ignoring and denying the father who was a Choctaw or Chickasaw citizen by blood. It also was in complete contradiction of the established law on lineal descent that was established at the time. It also worked to prevent the possibility that we see today that none of the descendants of the original complainants involved with Equity Case 7071 are citizens of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nation.

What we have on this day, one hundred years later a “continuing wrong” that is nothing more than a memo of the United States Supreme Court.

U.S. Supreme Court Memorandum December 12, 1911

The DNA of Our Ancestors Proves They Were Telling the Truth

Equity Case 7071 Bettie Ligon et al. v Douglas H. Johnson et al., Green McCurtain et al. & James R. Garfield Secretary of the Inte...