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Descendants of Black Creeks, or Creek Freedmen, will hold a rally demanding that the Muscogee Creek Nation restores their tribal citizenship and full rights on Wednesday, Nov. 30 ahead of a historic court hearing the following day.
Inside the Greenwood Cultural Center on Wednesday, the Justice for Black Creeks Coalition will host the rally, which is open to the public and takes place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The rally seeks to draw support and national awareness for a historic court hearing on Thursday, in which two Black Creek descendants have sued the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, or MCN, to force the tribe to reinstate Freedmen citizenship with equal rights.
According to a report from KTUL, the group, called The Muscogee (Creek) Indian Freedmen Band, Inc, says the Muscogee (Creek) Nation “with full knowledge and approval of the [Department of Interior], continues to deny so-called ‘Creek Freedmen’ and their Descendants their Creek citizenship in violation of the Creek Treaty of 1866, the Constitution of the United States, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Indian Civil Rights Act.”
Muscogee Creek Nation reneges on treaty
Prior to the Civil War, the Five Large Tribes of Indian Territory (Present-day Oklahoma) participated in the enslavement of Black people. While both free and enslaved Black people were part of the tribes, all of the tribes were forced to sign treaties after the end of the Civil War that involved giving up land and making the Black Freedmen of their tribes full citizens with equal rights. Notably, the treaties of 1866 forced the Tribes to abolish slavery and give the freedmen full citizenship and rights.
Today, out of the Five Tribes, only the Cherokee Nation has granted full citizenship and rights to their descendants of Freedmen, and only in recent years after a lawsuit reached the Supreme Court. Members of the Muscogee (Creek) Indian Freedmen Band are hoping Thursday’s court hearing will yield a similar result.
For attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, who is representing the plaintiffs, it’s personal.
“My 4x great-grandfather was a powerful Black Indian that stood for justice and equity in everything that he did. He was one of the individuals within the Creek Nation who negotiated and signed the Creek Treaty of 1866 with the United States of America,” Solomon-Simmons stated in an email to supporters on Sunday.
“But now the Muscogee Creek Nation is utilizing anti-Black discrimination to destroy all of what he and so many others fought hard to avoid. A future where Black Creek Indians were not recognized by their own people. December 1st is our opportunity to reverse the harm that the Muscogee Creek Nation has inflicted upon my family and my people,” he stated.
Lawsuit seeks full citizenship, rights for descendants of Black Creeks
On Thursday, Dec. 1, the case for Rhonda Grayson and Jeffrey Kennedy vs. Citizenship Board of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma will be heard by the Creek Courts.
Forty-three years after the Muscogee (Creek) Nation expelled Black Creeks from the tribe, the lawsuit seeks to remedy the racial and tribal apartheid.
The plaintiffs include descendants of:
- Creeks of “African Descent”
- Free “Africans” living as citizens of the Creek Nation
- “Mixed blood” Creek Nation citizens
- Individuals who were enslaved by MCN, who were listed as Creek Freedmen on the Dawes Rolls because of the color of their skin
The group is seeking “judicial recognition of their lawful heritage, not monetary compensation.”
Defendants of the lawsuit include Creek Nation Principal Chief James Floyd and the United States Department of the Interior.
To register for the free events, visit Justice for Black Creeks on Eventbrite.
This is a developing story. Follow The Black Wall Street Times for updates.