WHEREAS, the mission of the NAACP, a national civil rights organization, is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all citizens, and will continue to fight for justice until all, without regard to race, gender, creed or religion, enjoy equal status; and
WHEREAS, people of African and Indian descent began to live and intertwine in the Muscogee Creek Nation, an indigenous Indian nation, prior to the century as Black Indian slaves, free Black Indians, and in some instances tribal citizens; and
WHEREAS, in the 1830s, members of the Muscogee Creek Nation were removed from their lands in the southeastern United States and forced to migrate to Indian Territory, what is now Oklahoma. This migration is known as the Trail of Tears. Among those persons forced to migrate were the Black Indian slaves of the Creeks, and free Black Indians; and
WHEREAS, in 1861, during the Civil War, some of the Black Indians, or African Creeks, joined the Union Army as soldiers. Later, they would be known as Loyal Creeks and/or Freedmen; and
WHEREAS, following the Civil War, the United States re-established relations with the Muscogee Creek Nation through the Treaty of 1866. Article II of this Treaty declared to adopt the "persons of African descent.. .residing in said Creek country ... and their descendants ... shall have and enjoy all rights and privileges of native citizens ... and the laws of said Nation shall be equally binding upon and give equal protection to all such persons, and all others, of what-so-ever race or color, who may be adopted as citizens or members of said tribe"; and
WHEREAS, later, Congress passed the Curtis Act, June 28, 1898 (30 stat. 495). This act allowed the United States government to terminate the Muscogee Creek Nation tribal government by taking away ownership of the land which was held in common by the Muscogee Creek Nation and replacing it with individual ownership of 160 acres per Muscogee Creek Nation citizen. To accomplish this task of allotting 160 acres parcels, Congress established the Dawes Commission to find, identify, and enroll all citizens of the Muscogee Creek Nation eligible for land allotment; and
WHEREAS, the Dawes Commission divided the Muscogee Creek Nation by creating two separate rolls of citizens: 1)the "Creek Nation Creek Roll or Creek Nation Indian Roll," (also known as the by blood roll), which was purportedly composed of Muscogee Creek Nation citizens with Creek Indian blood; and 2) the "Creek Nation Freedmen Roll," which was purportedly composed of Muscogee Creek Nation citizens who were persons identified or defined as Freedmen and not listing their Creek Indian blood. In fact, "in cases of mixed Freedmen and Indian parents, which was common among the Creek ...the applicant was always enrolled as a Freedmen and not given credit for having any Indian blood;" and
WHEREAS, the Dawes Commission separated families by enrolling full siblings with different blood degrees and enrolling some family members on the Creek by blood roll and others on the Freedmen roll. The blood degree or blood quantum was originally to be used only for land allotment purposes; and
WHEREAS, in 1979 the Muscogee Creek Nation established a new Constitution which eliminated the Freedmen from citizenship, by violating the 1866 treaty and laws governing the relationship between the United States Government and the Muscogee Creek Nation; and
WHEREAS, the Creek Freedmen Indians or African/Black Creek Indians association was organized and is continuing to establish our unique identity as members of the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band Association, and to protect our identity from principalities and powers that seek to eliminate it; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP National Resolution Committee adopted an emergency resolution in 2007 supporting the rights of Black Cherokee Freedmen in their plight to be recognized as tribal members with the same rights as other Cherokee Tribal members; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP National Resolution Committee adopted a resolution in 2010 in support of Native American Indians; and
WHEREAS, the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band Association submitted a letter dated May 22, 2010, to Mr. Larry Echo Hawk, Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs, Office of Federal Acknowledgement, Washington, DC, petitioning to become a federally recognized Indian Tribe.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls upon member branches to inform themselves concerning the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band Association petition, and to support local and national efforts of the Freedmen Band to call attention to their issue; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP offers to facilitate a fair resolution in the support of the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band, by means of education and fact finding to address the history and current impact of the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band and promote understanding of tribal sovereignty; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP is committed to immediately help publicize the plight of the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen during its National Convention in Los Angeles in 2011.