Freedmen File Lawsuit Against Muscogee Creek Nation Demanding Tribal Citizenship
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - A freedmen group has sued the Muscogee Creek Nation to regain status as part of the tribe. Freedmen are the decedents of slaves once held by the tribe.
The freedmen were part of the tribe from 1866 to 1979 pushed out through a new constitution. Now they're suing the tribe and the federal government to enforce the original treaty that ensured they were, in fact as Creek as anyone else.
It's a battle that's been fought several times before in court without a clear resolution. In 2005 Fred Johnson sued and thought he won but today the Nation still denies freedmen citizenship.
In fact, it's the same lawyer taking on the case again himself a descendant of a Creek who signed the Treaty that made Freedmen full citizens. On Thursday the lawyers says the Muskogee Creek Nation is turning them away.
"In the United States of America, you cannot discriminate against people because of race, period and that is what's happening," said attorney Demario Solomon-Simmons.
“There were rights given to our ancestors that were just taken away, and we would like to re-establish those,” said Freedman descendent Collota Cade-Bailey.
It's personal for Collotta as she wants her children to know their history.
"And our kids and grandkids, they don't know anything about that, and they need to. That's history and that's family," said Collota.
Calvin Marshall wants to claim his father's roll number, number 369.
“To me to get that back, even in his name, and if I get the citizenship back, I'll get his roll number, and oh yes, it means a lot to me, it does,” said Marshall.
The Muscogee Creek Nation said today they were not ready to comment on the lawsuit.