Descendants Of Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes
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Solutions to the Indian Freedmen Plight
1)Raise public awareness regarding Freedmen history and rights – Articles have been published in the Tulsa World, Daily Oklahoman, the Ebony Tribune, and the Oklahoma Eagle, as well as the OU student paper. Participation in panels, conferences and other public forums is being done by Descendants of Freedmen and their supporters. Public awareness is growing at this time. Academics have raised issues regarding the fallacies of the CDIB card system.
2) Organizations of the Freedmen descendents – Freedmen descendents (except for Seminole Freedmen) have not been organized on a long term basis . There have been Freedmen associations from time to time (Such as a Creek Freedmen Indian association based in Tulsa about 1990) to discuss solutions to the plight of the Freedmen. The Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Association has been holding meetings to discuss history, and possible solutions to Freedmen descendants dilemma. Interest groups are being formed, as well as identification of the Freedmen descendents along tribal roots.
3) Political Action – Congress is in the drivers seat regarding enforcement of treaty rights. The Descendants of Freedmen Association of the Five Civilized Tribes has a Petition drive for CDIB cards legislation and is working to gain support of State and and Federal officials regarding support of treaty rights, as well as black organizations such as NAACP, national black united front, etc. The Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes does not support proposed BIA regulations requiring the use of the Dawes Rolls blood quantums to determine degrees of Indian blood.
4)Lawsuits – The Seminole Freedmen as of 2003 have an ongoing lawsuit against the BIA. Tribal governments cannot usually be directly sued over enrollment issues in Federal Courts, such lawsuits must generally be taken to tribal courts . From time to time, freedmen descendants have sued in tribal courts, and have not always met with success. (An example is the case of Bernice Riggs, a Cherokee Freedmen who was unsuccessfully in obtaining Cherokee citizenship in the 1990s, even though she was descended from the Cherokee Rodgers family). Descendants of Freedmen also have issues regarding land fraud, mineral payments, and damage payments of tribal lands.
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