African-Native American Genealogy Forum
Creek Freedmen Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 5, 2005
“150 year-old Citizenship rights of Black Creek Indians eliminated without notice or due process.”
Okmulgee, Oklahoma—Two Creek Freedmen have hearings at the Muscogee (Creek) Nation District Court in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, on Wednesday, August 10, 2005 at 9:00 a.m., in which they seek equality and citizenship in the Creek Nation. Since 1979 thousands of eligible Creeks of African descent (also known as Creek Freedmen) have been summarily denied citizenship, monetary benefits, and equal protection under law within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation -- contrary to Creek Nation’s own Constitution and ordinances, and federal law.
This case mirrors the Seminole Nation’s unsuccessful attempts to eliminate Seminole Freedmen’s citizenship rights within the Seminole Nation in the early 2000’s. Citing the same treaty provisions that are binding on the Creek Nation, the United States government forcefully opined that Seminole Freedmen’s citizenship rights cannot be eliminated by the Seminole Nation. However, unlike the Seminole cases which were heard in an impartial Federal Court, the Creek Freedmen case is being heard in the Creek Tribal court.
Since 1994, Mr. Ron Graham and Mr. Fred Johnson have been applying for citizenship in the Creek Nation to no avail, even though both men met the Creek Nation’s eligibility requirements. Both Mr. Graham and Mr. Johnson’s parents were Creek citizens,. “Each time Mr. Graham and Mr. Johnson attempted to enroll, they would be directed down roads filled with empty promises and disappointing outcomes” says Damario Solomon-Simmons, one of the Freedmen’s attorneys.. Co-counsel Selim Fiagome adds “Those two gentlemen and all other similarly situated Freedmen deserve justice, and they deserve it now.”
“In a time during which Native Americans, including the Creek Nation, are gaining economical advantages within the State of Oklahoma based on past atrocities and discriminatory treatment, how ironic it is for them to be doing to their own citizens what they scold others for doing to them. Truly, it is a shame what these two Creek gentlemen have had to endure from the Creek Nation,” says co-counsel Solomon Simmons.