Marilyn Vann Talk Materials

On November 9, 2007, Marilyn Vann spoke about the history of the Cherokee Freedmen here at MSU law college. As she did during her talk at last April’s Federal Bar Association’s Indian Law Conference, she presented a slide show of numerous materials.

Here are the materials — Marilyn Vann Materials

And here is a description of each page in the materials provided by Marilyn:

  1. 1971 Department of Interior Letter after passage of 1970 Principal Chiefs Act – Cherokee Freedmen must have opportunity to vote on the Principal Chief. (between 1907 & 1970 chiefs were appointed).
  2. 1975 Department of Interior letter listing all sections of the Dawes Rolls. This includes the Freedmen section of the Dawes rolls. People listed on any section of the Dawes rolls were citizens based on Acts of Congress. All persons on any section of the Dawes rolls were citizens of the Cherokee nation approved by Congress (April 26 1906: 34 Stat 137) and entitled to receive part of a per capita judgment fund. (Title 25 Section 991).
  3. A page from the Text “And still the Waters run”, showing how many tribal citizens were listed on the freedmen sections of the Dawes rolls, as opposed to full bloods, The Cherokee freedmen tribal members were approximately 10% of the tribe in 1907; and so would be about 25,000 total in 2007.if all Descendants of Dawes enrolled freedmen were allowed to register /reregister.
  4. Page from Dr Emmitt Starrs book – History of the Cherokees showing freedmen such as Frank Vann and Samuel Stidham from the Illinois District served on the Cherokee tribal council. This is to combat reports by some tribal officials who have stated that “freedmen never voted in the history of the tribe”.
  5. Copy of a voting card issued in 1971 to a freedmen tribal member Mrs Gunter. It shows that freedmen have voted in the history of the tribe contrary to misleading propaganda by tribal officials. Also, it proves contrary to misleading propaganda from tribal officials that the freedmen came to register as tribal members during the 1970s when the tribe had next to nothing; tribal officials and former tribal officials falsely tell people that the freedmen have just now only appeared when the tribe got money.
  6. Page of the 1975 Cherokee constitution showing membership provisions. The membership provisions do not say anything about having to be a “Cherokee by blood”, having Indian blood, or requiring cdib cards. Some tribal officials have stated that the constitution required “Indian blood, etc”. The constitution requires that a citizen be a Dawes enrollee or a descendant of Dawes enrollees.
  7. 1984 Affidavit of former BIA superintendent Joe Parker stating that freedmen have voting rights as members of the Cherokee nation and that the tribe had been so informed..
  8. March 28 2007 letter by BIA Assistant Secretary Artman that freedmen are still members of the Cherokee nation
  9. Discussion of Ballot language for 2007 constitutional amendment to kick out freedmen tribal members by tribal attorney Hammons. She does not let people know that the “By blood rolls” include adopted whites – whose descendants make up all or almost all of the current “white” tribal members as opposed to the descendants of the approximately 200 “intermarried whites” whose spouses (or dead spouses) were Cherokee Indians 100 years ago . Descendants of these “intermarried whites” and their Indian spouses are on by blood rolls.
  10. Page of the Dawes Commission book which was written by Kent Carter, former Director of the national archives which states that the Dawes Commission policy was to class persons with African ancestry as freedmen regardless of their Indian ancestry.
  11. Dawes census card made about 1902 by the Dawes Commissioner for Cherokee freedmen tribal member Thomas Downing, showing his Dawes roll number on the left, age,
  12. 2nd page of Dawes census card of Freedmen Thomas Downing showing his father, William Downing is a “Cherokee by blood”. This is introduced to combat Cherokee nation propaganda that freedmen cannot prove they have “Indian blood” (The common man presumes that a person with an Indian parent has “Indian blood).
  13. Testimony made by the Dawes Commission in June 1902 for Freedmen Thomas Downing. He states that his father, William Downing, is a deceased Cherokee by blood. Because Thomas Downing died prior to September 1902, he is stricken from the list of “Cherokees by blood” (The Cherokee agreement, an act of Congress written in 1902 (32 Stat 716) stipulates that persons dying prior to September 1902 will not receive Dawes roll numbers and land allotments). This means, that regardless of the fact tht Thomas Downing and the Dawes Commission agree he has an Indian father, he does not have an ancestor on the “by blood section” of the Dawes rolls and thus is not an “Indian” under the policy of the current Cherokee administration; and his descendants were kicked out in the illegal March 2007 election if they have no other ancestors on the “by blood” rolls.
  14. 1st page of Dawes Census card of Freedmen Frank Miller. The page shows that Frank miller received a citizenship certificate and also shows his Dawes roll number.
  15. Back page of Dawes census card of Freedmen Frank Miller. The page shows his father was Cabin Miller, a Cherokee Indian. (Dr Starrs book shows that Cabin Miller served on the national Council). Because Cabin Miller was dead prior to September 1902, his descendants who were listed as freedmen would have been booted out as “non Indians” in the March 3 2007 vote.
  16. page showing Frank Miller and his parents.
  17. 1st page of Cherokee freedmen Dawes enrollment card for Jack Baldridge and his Childeren. Note that the card shows that the Baldridges have a citizenship certificate and Dawes roll numbers.
  18. 2nd page of Cherokee freedmen Dawes enrollment card of jack Baldridge and his children. The card shows that his children’s mother is Nancy Baldridge, a Dead Shawnee Indian. (Note – she was listed on the 1871 list of Shawnee citizens who took citizenship in the Cherokee nation after emigrating from Kansas in 1869.
  19. Freedmen Jack Baldridge testimony given to the Dawes commission in 1901, explaining that his dead wife was a Shawnee Indian. Because she died prior to 1902, she is not listed on the Dawes final roll as per the Cherokee agreement. Her Descendants were removed as Cherokee tribal members by the march 2007 vote because they are “non Indians” – the kind of people described by Cherokee tribal officials as the kind of people who just have “stories” of their Indian ancestors.
  20. Dawes census card of John Tucker, his wife, and daughter. These persons were listed on the “Cherokee by blood” section of the Dawes rolls; note blood degrees listed on the cards
  21. Testimony of John Tucker saying he is a Shawnee Indian. This testimony and census card show that there is not a separate “Shawnee” section of the Dawes rolls of the Cherokee nation.
  22. Check received from Cherokee freedmen in the 1960s as their share of the 1960s per capita payment which Cherokee citizens were entitled to based on act of congress. The lower part of the page shows part of a page of Barbara Benges book, the 1880 Cherokee census which lists race, 1880 tribal number (issued by the tribe in its own census, and also the Dawes census card number when the Dawes commission did their work about 1900. The page show that many persons listed by the tribe in 1880 as “native Cherokee’ (ie Cherokee Indians) were classed as freedmen 20 years later by the Dawes commission.
  23. First page of the Bernice Riggs case – Cherokee nation tribal court case filed by Berniece Riggs, a descendant of Dawes enrolled freedmen who registered as a tribal member during the 1970s but was removed by acts of the tribal council during the 1980s.
  24. Tribal court ruled that Berniece Riggs had Cherokee blood but her ancestors were registered as freedmen. (Note – this meant that Berniece Riggs Indian ancestor died prior to September 1902 and was not listed on the Final Rolls of the Dawes commission based on the act of Congress). Although the court implies that people with Indian ancestors have Indian blood, some tribal officials position effectively is that that depends on when the Indian died.
  25. Tribal court in the Riggs case ruled the tribe could register who they wished to (date 8 2001).
  26. Wilma Mankiller quoted as saying that freedmen should not members of the Cherokee nation and tribal membership should be for those with Cherokee blood . (Baltimore Sun – July 1984). Mankiller tries to build support for removing freedmen tribal members by pretending that freedmen lack Cherokee ancestors. Note Mankiller also did nothing to remove “non Cherokee” Shawnee, Delaware, Natchez or Creeks who continue to hold membership in the tribe.
  27. “Information” supplied by Jackie Bob Martin of the Cherokee council to Adair County voters just prior to the March 3 2007 freedmen removal election. Martin pretends to the voters that freedmen are “non Indians” (most peoples understanding that someone is a “non Indian” would be that a person has no documents establishing that they have Indian ancestors who were members of an Indian tribe in what is now the United Statues . . He pretends that the freedmen have no legal rights to Cherokee citizenship based on the Cherokee constitution. He pretends that freedmen can’t prove “Indian blood’. He pretend that the people previously voted to exclude freedmen although the written record of the 1999 Cherokee constitutional convention makes it clear that the attendants understand that the freedmen have citizenship rights under both the 1975 and the 1999 constitution.
  28. Anti Freedmen propaganda passed out in flyers and sent around the internet by councilwoman Cara Cowan Watts in July 2006 to encourage people to sign the illegal freedmen removal petition. The email falsely implies the tribe may have to pay back the money used by freedmen at Indian Health Services facilities. It also falsely implies to the people that because most of the Descendants of Dawes enrolled freedmen do not have an ancestor on the “Cherokee by blood” section of the Dawes rolls, they are “non Indians” – not explaining to the people that most of the freedmen peoples Indian ancestors died prior to 1902 and are not listed on any section of the “Dawes rolls” to keep down the number of tribal citizens getting allotments. (Note – the Sango case states that a freedmen is a non Indian for land allotment purposes. This was a case of a person registered as a freedmen whose mother was listed as “by blood”)
  29. Cowans email pretends to Cherokee voters that the election will only cost 110,000 although the Election commission officials had stated the cost would be much more at a subcommittee meeting in May 06
  30. Dawes census card for 3 year old Robert Byrd. He is on the Cherokee by blood Minor Section of the Dawes rolls. In the blood quantum column, his is listed as “Aw” for adopted whites. The card shows he has a Dawes roll number and a citizenship certificate.
  31. Dawes final rolls listing again listing 3 year old Robert Byrd as “aw”. This is to show that whites were included on the by blood rolls that were not on the “intermarried citizens” section of the Dawes rolls. These “intermarried citizens” listed on the Dawes roll on a separate section were white spouses of Cherokee Indians who had married them prior to 1875 and were still married to them or were widowers/widows of the Cherokee Indians they had married prior to 1875.
  32. Census card of 39 year old Richard Byrd, registered by the Dawes Commission with blood quantum ‘aw: (adopted white). (For Your info – Byrd was a descendant or Reverend Evan Jones, a white missionary who was adopted by the Cherokee nation during the 1850s-1860s to honor his services to the tribe)…. . This also proves that the Dawes commission registered white tribal members on the Dawes rolls who are not on the “intermarried white” section of the Dawes rolls. This proves that the Dawes rolls are not broken down into “non Indian “sections such as freedmen and all “Indians” such as the “Cherokee by blood rolls”.
  33. Dawes Census card of Robert Lunday, a white man who was a member of the Delaware tribe who received Cherokee citizenship thru treaty. About 200 persons were listed on a section of the Dawes rolls entitled “Delaware Cherokees”. These persons including whites such as Lunday was entitled to 160 equivalent acres of land allotments based on treaty rather than 110 equivalent acres that the other tribal members received. The members of the tribe (including the freedmen) received land allotments because they were members of the tribe who owned the land in common. The allotments were not reparations for anyone including the freedmen.
  34. Testimony of Robert Lunday stating he is a white man, a Delaware citizen who received Cherokee citizenship in 1867.
  35. List of Delaware Cherokees shows that it includes Robert Lunday, a white man. This again proves that the Dawes rolls of the Cherokee nation are not broken down into lists of “Indians” and “non Indians”

4 thoughts on “Marilyn Vann Talk Materials

  1. jill relph June 20, 2008 / 5:10 pm

    I am a direct descendant of richard byrd. He is my great-great grandfather. I would like to know more info about him. Such as, married to whom and if any direct tribal blood line. We all look cherokee and thought we were.

  2. peggy rickard February 9, 2009 / 1:37 am

    The Freedmen should be no different than any one else. They should be made to prove they are Cherokee by blood. There are many folks that are Native by blood and cant be enrolled so why should the Freedmen come before those real Indians. It is an Indian reserve not an African American reserve. Those Freedmen that cant prove Cherokee blood should ask the government to give them a black reserve-it is the government thet created this situation-not the Cherokees, so they should fix it. I know folks who are 3/4 native and cant be enrolled. They should come first before any none Indians. Why would they want to force themselves on people who want to preserve their heritage. Make them prove Cherokee blood or leave. The Cherokees have a right to selfrule. Stay out of Cherokee affairs.

  3. tarecia herring October 12, 2010 / 10:44 pm

    god made us all a like but not the same it doesnt matter what color we are.and if we have indian blood in us.then the blood is going back to our indian brothers.but only if they will allow it to.and god has made us all one with the earth and all living things. So my indian brothers dont forget we with indian blood in us have rights just like you.we with little or a lot of indian blood are bringing your blood rights back to we all can be one with all living things give us the right to be your brothers and sisters as one.

  4. Charles Meigs, Jr. November 7, 2011 / 8:20 pm

    Just as I am a citizen of the United States and have full rights of citizenship, I am also a descendant of several Cherokee citizens who became called Cherokee Freedmen. In the U.S., I am also a descendant of slaves who became “Freedmen” after the Civil War. Citizenship is not determined “by blood,” it is determined by Laws and this is true in The U.S.A. and in the Cherokee Nation. And, right, wrong or otherwise, the laws of the U.S. supercede those of the Cherokee Nation.

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