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African-Native American Genealogy Forum

Re: Freedman Journalist vs. Chad Smith

Greetings Mr. Velie,

I just had to ask you a question concerning your arguments before the DC court in Kempthorne v Vann et al.

As I recall reading your brief (or the one posted) you utilized an argument based on the 13th amendment?

If I'm not mistaken of the particular amendment I have to say I found that to be a point of contention that was interesting for a number of reasons. Granted I'm not an attorney and I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn last night, but it was interesting as the wording of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery was the same or similar language used in the Treaties of 1866 in the case of the Chickasaw-Choctaw, article 4.

What made this of interest is the ideal that "all vestiges of slavery" were to be abolished and one of those in my opinion has everything to do with the individuals who were classified as freedmen but had a male ancestor who was a citizen of their particular tribe, such as the litigants in Equity Case 7071 Bettie Ligon vs Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, and in the Cherokee Nation I believe the Berniece Riggs case was similar in nature.

My "theory" concerning the vestiges of children born of enslaved women as a result of Native American men is not unlike the situation of Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson. The progeny of these relationships did not have a "legal" right of inheritance but that did not exclude their being “descendant” to someone on the blood roll or who was considered a citizen of the nation.

I could be totally wrong about the amendment (correct me if I’m wrong) but I’m curious about your view concerning the “vestiges of slavery” and the continued practice of defining certain freedmen of the Five Slave Holding Tribes as not having “Indian” blood when it was clear the tribes and Dawes Commission actively worked to deny the rights of citizenship if your mother was of “African descent” and your father was Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and/or Seminole.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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