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African-Native American Research Forum Archive

Re: Creek Freedmen Descendants
In Response To: Re: Creek Freedmen Descendants ()

Lets get to the truth. its easy for anonymous posters to take pockshots at people who are on the front lines trying to make a difference such as Ron Graham . Ron Graham, a professional genealogist who was determined by the Creek courts to be an expert witness during the Graham and Johnson trial regarding whether or not Descendants of Creek freedmen can be "creeks by blood" under the Creek constitution has to my knowledge never said that the old Creek series cards prove that the majority of persons registered as Creek freedmen have a Creek Indian ancestor. Rather Ron Graham has looked at a variety of Creek and Federal records before coming to that conclusion - Such proof would be finding a particular Creek Freedmen previously being listed on the Creek Old Settler roll (or having a parent who was so listed), as well as the Dawes testimony regarding the person having an Indian parent, etc.

Furthermore, Ron Graham has never said that he made a copy of every Creek series card located at the national archives. This would take hundreds and hundreds of hours. I have heard Ron Graham speak at almost every descendants of freedmen meeting and workshop which we have had. He did make copies of those of Creek freedmen who had blood quantums listed on the Old Series cards. These cards are Mr Grahams personal property which he paid for out of his own pocket and not the property of the Descendants of Freedmen Association. I want to also state that the board members of the Descendants of freedmen are not on salary as every dime that we raise goes into our mission of education, litigation on behalf of treaty rights, etc. Our board members all have donated many hours and incurred many out of pocket unreimbursed costs on behalf of the descendants of Dawes enrolled freedmen people.

Furthermore, as to the person who criticized the Descendants of freedmen association for charging money at workshops or not putting up sufficient genealogy on our website or on this message board, the Descendants of Freedmen Associatian is well aware that the majority of Freedmen Descendants hae no internet access. We have went to the hedges and highways to get information to the people - many elderly without computers who cannot go get information from the internet. In order to do that we have had to rent meeting rooms, sometimes rent audio visual equipment, etc. That takes money. We also must fund the lawsuits which we currently have going. It is certainly more difficult to have in person workshops than putting up some genealogy info on a message board.

The Descendants of freedmen association was not organized primarily to be a genealogy organization, but to bring changes to the status of the Descendants of Freedmen people so far as enforcement of treaty rights. We were upfront that some lawsuits (such as a lawsuit against the Chickasaw nation in federal or tribal court regarding tribal membership - (because the Supreme Court has determined that the Chicksaw freedmen were not members of the tribe) could not be won in the courts and that we would use the moneys that the people entrusted to us to try to fight battles where we could win. However, we have through our genealogy tips, workshops, etc. been able to assist individual Chickasaw freedmen descendants in registering as citizens in the Chickasaw nation.

I also want to address some persons complaints about the genealogy workshop they attended - they said that Ron graham used info about the Huttons. When we do workshops, we are trying to show people how to read the information on the census cards, etc. and where to find that information. The cards for his own family were readily available and served the purpose of showing that for example, the freedmen census card does not have a blood quantum column, etc. We have found out that some people have an ancestor on the "by blood rolls" but have not known how to interpret the information on the census cards or testimonies of their families. Some have a "by blood card" as well as a "freedmen card" for different ancestors but did had insufficient knowledge of what they have .

Marilyn Vann

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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