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African-Native American Genealogy Forum

Re: Why Creek Clans?
In Response To: Why Creek Clans? ()

Among the Five Civilized Tribes, the original law was one of matrilineal descent. The ONLY natural born citizens of the Nations were those born of Indian mothers who also possessed a clan from her mother. In the Cherokee Nation, around the year 1825, some Cherokee men (citizens of the Nation) with white wives and one Cherokee man with a slave wife, petitioned separately to have their children recognized as citizens of the Nation. The Council gave its blessing to the adoption of the mixed white children with no reservation. It gave its blessing to the adoption of the mixed black children with the reservation that the Cherokee man have no more children by his slave woman. This act of the National Council, from then forward, provided, under the law, that the legitimate children of Cherokee men and white women would be citizens of the Cherokee Nation and heirs to the national estate. An interesting aside to this matter is the fact that Cherokees (like myself) who are citizens of the Nation from our fathers, are actually citizens by law, in other words adopted, the same as the Freedmen. Only the children of Cherokee women with a clan constitute the natural born citizens of the Cherokee Nation. The children of similarly situated Cherokee/Negro marriages were forbidden to be citizens. When the Dawes Commission was operating in the Cherokee Nation, there was a number of socalled "illegitimate" children among the tribe. The rule of the day, as required by Congress upon the Dawes Commission, was for illegitimate children to "take the status of the mother." If the mother was a by blood citizen of the Cherokee Nation and she bore a child out of wedlock, that child would itself be listed as a by blood citizen of the Cherokee Nation. This even went so far as to determine the blood degree, as the illegitimate children of full blood women were listed as full blood, notwithstanding the blood degree or lack thereof of the father. If a non-citizen bore a child by a male citizen of the Cherokee Nation out of wedlock, then that child would take the status of its mother and would be a non-citizen. This same philosophy was applied to the Freedmen/African descendants in the Nation as well. Whether the child was legitimate or not, a child of a Freedmen mother made the child a Freedmen, regardless of the status of the father. This same rule was not applied to the legitimate children of white mothers and by blood fathers. Those children were always by blood. There are numerous examples on the Cherokee Dawes Roll of the Commission placing Cherokees by blood on the Freedmen Roll, even though their mother was a Cherokee by blood, for example Perry Ross. When the individual did not protest or seek the services of an attorney, they had no choice as to which part of the roll they landed on. And there is at least one example where a black mother was influential enough to have her children, fathered by Cherokee by blood men, placed on the by blood section of the roll, while she herself was enrolled as a Freedmen. These scenarios are common enough to totally discredit the Dawes Roll's verity.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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