UPDATE: The MCN Supreme Court has issued a stay of enforcement of the District Court’s recent ruling in the Freedmen case.
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – Rhonda Grayson and Jeffery Kennedy have won their case in Muscogee Creek Nation District Court. They filed suit seeking to have their applications for citizenship evaluated based on the 1866 treaty. After a trial that resulted in the MCN Attorney General Geri Wisner being sanctioned, Judge Denette Mouser issued her decision remanding Grayson and Kennedy’s citizenship claims back to the MCN Citizenship Board.
According to the opinion,
“The Nation cannot choose to select and rely on portions of the Treaty to which it points as evidence of the tribe’s intact reservation, and also negate the clear language entitling descendants of a segment of the Dawes Final Roll – the Creek Freedmen – from eligibility for citizenship. There simply is no legal avenue for configuring a checkerboard of validity where parts of the Treaty are intact and other parts are invalid. Either the Treaty in its entirety is binding or none of it is. The Nation has urged in McGirt- and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed – that the Treaty is in fact intact and binding upon both the Nation and the United States, having never been abrogated in full or in part by Congress. To now assert that Article II of the Treaty does not apply to the Nation would be disingenuous. As such, this Court as well as the divisions and agencies of the Nation must adhere to the language found in the Treaty of 1866, including the language directing the Nation to embrace as citizens the African Creeks listed on the Creek Freedmen Roll and their lineal descendants.
The Court finds that the actions of the Board in denying Plaintiffs’ citizenship applications and appeals were contrary to law, specifically the Treaty of 1866 and its required inclusion of the Creek Freedmen and their lineal descendants within the citizenship of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.”
Judge Mouser has ordered that Grayson and Kennedy’s citizenship denial be reversed and remanded the case back to the MCN Citizenship Board for reconsideration in light of Article Two of the Treaty of 1866 and the Creek Freedmen Roll.
Mvskoke Media received the following statement from the MCN AG,
“We respect the authority of our court but strongly disagree with Judge Mouser’s deeply flawed reasoning in this matter.
We will immediately be appealing this case to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Supreme Court. The MCN Constitution, which we are duty-bound to follow, makes no provisions for citizenship for non-Creek individuals. We look forward to addressing this matter before our Nation’s highest court.”
Mvskoke Media will have ongoing coverage of this developing story.