Report of Commissioner J. George Wright, November 15, 1907

Department Of The Interior,
Commissioner To The Five Civilized Tribes,
Muskogee, Ind. T., November 15, 1907.

The honorable the Secretary Of The Interior.

Sir: June 28, 1907, former Commissioner Bixby called to the attention of the department certain enrollment cases that were brought to his attention after March 4, 1907, in which it appeared that the applicants were probably entitled to enrollment, but were not placed upon the final rolls of the’ tribes of which they were members, and that in view of section 2 of the act of Congress of April 20, 1906, there was no existing law under which they could obtain relief.

July 23, 1907 (I. T. 59745-1907), the Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs in reporting in the matter stated:

It appears from the commissioner’s letter that the parties mentioned by him are entitled to enrollment and that for various reasons their names were not placed on the roll. As it appears to be thoroughly established that they are as much entitled to enrollment ns any of the citizens of the tribes to which they belong, and as there is no existing law by which they can be enrolled, it is recommended that the list be preserved and that the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes be requested to investigate further similar cases, to the end that relief may be afforded to all such persons by a special act of Congress authorizing the placing of their names on the rolls of citizens of the nations to which they belong.

This recommendation was approved by the Secretary of the Interior July 25,1907.

The question of the advisability of requesting congressional action with a view to affording relief to certain persons not enrolled as members of the Five Civilized Tribes, through fault of their own or otherwise, was again discussed in the Cherokee case of Alta May Brassfield. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs on August 21, 1907 (I. T. 69588-1907), forwarded this office, for report, a letter from John Brassfield, and on September 10, 1907 (I. T. 73379-1907), in transmitting the report of this office of August 30, 1907, stated:

In cases such as the Brassfield the Mitchell Adams and a few others that have come to the notice of the office, where the parties were not enrolled through no fault of their own, but through error of Government officers, Congress should be requested to enact legislation authorizing their enrollment, and their names should be inserted in the law as was done by section 9 of the act of June 30, 1902 (32 Stat. L., 500), in the cases of Ner-wal-le-pe-se, Mary, Walter, and Willie Washington, citizens of the Creek Nation.

It Is recommended that the office be authorized to advise the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes as herein indicated, and request him to prepare a list giving the names of the persons whom his records show were legally entitled to enrollment and were omitted through oversight on the part of the Government, in order that the subject may be presented to Congress with a view to protecting their interests.

This recommendation was approved by the Secretary of the Interior, September 11, 1907.

In accordance with these instructions I have investigated the records in the citizenship cases in the different tribes and respectfully submit the following cases which I believe come within the purview of the department’s instructions, to wit:

Cherokee by Blood and Newborn, July 1, 1902

Creeks by Blood, Act of March 1, 1901

Mississippi Choctaw, July 1, 1902

Choctaw and Chickasaw Citizens

Choctaw Freedmen Newborn

Miscellaneous Cases

There is also called to the attention of the department, for such action as it desires to take, the Mississippi Choctaw case of Mitchell C. Adams, referred to in the Indian Office letter of September 10, 1907, special reference being made to his application for the identification of his minor children.

January 13, 1906 (I. T. D. 1312, 18094-1905), the department approved the decision of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes dated January 19, 1905, denying the application of Mitchell C. Adams for the enrollment of himself and minor children, Lillie M., Nora M., and Mitchell C. Adams, jr., as citizens by blood, and for the enrollment of his wife, Nannie C. Adams, as a citizen by intermarriage, of the Choctaw Nation. On March 3, 1907. Commissioner Bixby, having received a telegram dated March 2, 1907, from A. F. McGarr, who was an employee of the commissioner then stationed in Washington, stating that the department had directed the identification of Mitchell C. Adams, Lillie M. Adams, Nora M. Adams, and William C. Adams (Mitchell C. Adams, jr., died in 1898 or 1899), as Mississippi Choctaws, rendered his decision identifying them and on that day wired said employee of his compliance with the department’s directions, and stated that as the records did not show that said persons had ever removed to and settled within the Choctaw-Chickasaw country, no action would be taken other than their identification. Subsequent to the rendition of said decision the commissioner received the department’s decision in the case dated March 2, 1907 (I. T. D. 5748-1907), wherein the decision of the commission of January 19, 1905, adverse to the applicants, was reversed except as to said Nannie C. Adams. This action was taken in accordance with the approved opinions of the Assistant Attorney General of February 20, 1907, and February 28, 1907. Said Mitchell C. Adams was ordered identified as a full-blood Mississippi Choctaw Indian, and in connection with the identification of Adams’s children the department states that:

In the concluding paragraph of the above-cited opinion recommendation is made that no action should he taken at this time looking to the enrollment of Adams’s family. This recommendation is approved only to the extent that they should not now be finally enrolled as citizens.

In accordance with the approved opinion of the Assistant Attorney General of February 16, 1907, in the case of the infant children of Nicholas Charlas et al., based on section 2 of the act of April 20, 1906 (34 Stat. 137), the children of Mitchell C. Adams are entitled to Identification as Mississippi Choctaws if said children were minors living on March 4, 1906.

It appears that when the record was made up Lillie M., Nora M., and William O. Adams were the living minor children of Mitchell O. Adams, and that Mitchell O. Adams, jr., has since died.

Accordingly you are also directed to identify Lillie M., Nora M., and William O. Adams as Mississippi Choctaws, following said opinion in the Charlas case.

Mitchell C. Adams resides at Bluefield, W. Va., and it would have been impossible for him to have removed to and settled within the Choctaw-Chickasaw country and submitted proof of such settlement within time for his enrollment to have been approved by the department on March 4, 1907.

The children of Mitchell C. Adams, being of the mixed blood, and no attempt being made to prove that they are the descendants of a beneficiary under the fourteenth article of the treaty of 1830, were not entitled to identification as Mississippi Choctaw Indians under the act of July 1, 1902. It is not clear as to the right of these children under the act of April 25, 1906, considering their case in the light of the department’s decisions in the Nicholas Charlas et al, case above referred to, and its decision of May 25, 1906 (I. T. D. 5066, 17858-1905, 9022-1906), in the Willis Willis case. Had Mitchell C. Adams, after his identification as a Mississippi Choctaw Indian, made proof of settlement within the Choctaw-Chickasaw country and been duly enrolled as a Mississippi Choctaw, and his enrollment approved by the Secretary of the Interior, his said children would have been entitled to enrollment under the act of April 26, 1906, as amended by the act of June 21, 1906, as the minor children of a duly enrolled Mississippi Choctaw Indian, provided they were minors living March 4, 1906.

The commissioner’s decision in this case of March 3, 1907, is enclosed; the record in the case was transmitted to the department October 21, 1905.

The records of proceedings in a number of the above cases have been heretofore forwarded, and, with the date of the letter of transmittal, are as follows:

Sallie Foster, Creek new born, February 27, 1907.

Clemogene Farve et al.. Mississippi Choctaws (in consolidated case of Nancy Agloff et al.) M. C. R. 2370), December 21, 1906.

Gilbert McKinney, Choctaw freedman (in case of Boling McKinney et al.), February 26, 1907.

Hattie Burris et al., Choctaw freedmen new born, March 4, 1907.

Mitchell C. Adams et a1., Mississippi Choctaw, October 21, 1905.

The records in the other cases above referred to are transmitted herewith.
Respectfully, J. G. Wright, Commissioner.

United States Congress. Five Civilized Tribes In Oklahoma, Reports of the Department of the Interior and Evidentiary Papers in support of S. 7625, a Bill for the Relief of Certain Members of the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma, Sixty-second Congress, Third Session. Department of the Interior, United States. 1913.

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