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Plaintiffs ResponsetoMotiontoIntervene11 Vann.doc

Plaintiffs ResponsetoMotiontoIntervene11 Vann.doc

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Published by Thalia Sanders
briefing Cherokee Society
briefing Cherokee Society

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Thalia Sanders on Apr 25, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/25/2013

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1
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
MARILYN VANN, RONALD MOON, )HATTIE CULLERS, CHARLENE WHITE, )and RALPH THREAT, ))Plaintiffs, )v. ) Case No.: 1:03cv01711 (HHK))GALE A. NORTON, Secretary of the United )States Department of the Interior; UNITED )STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE )INTERIOR, ))Defendants. )
PLAINTIFFS’ RESPONSE TO THE MOTIONOF THE CHEROKEE NATION FOR LIMITED INTERVENTION
The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma’s Motion to Intervene should be deniedbecause its interest in this matter has been limited by the 1970 Principal Chiefs Act, theGovernment Defendants can adequately represent its interests, the Motion has been filedeighteen months after the initiation of the suit, and granting intervention would interferewith ongoing settlement discussions between the parties.
INTRODUCTION
On May 24, 2003, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (“CNO”) held an election for itsofficials that was in violation of applicable United States law. The CNO did not obtainapproval for its voting procedures pursuant to the 1970 Principal Chiefs Act, Pub. L. No.91-495, 84 Stat. 1091, which states that the principal chiefs of the Cherokee, Choctaw,Creek, and Seminole Tribes of Oklahoma and the governor of the Chickasaw Tribe of Oklahoma shall be popularly selected by the respective tribes in accordance withprocedures established by the officially recognized tribal spokesman and/or governing
 
2entity. The Principal Chiefs Act further mandates that such established procedures shallbe subject to approval by the Secretary of the Interior.The Secretary of Interior could not have approved the procedures adopted by theCNO because they prohibited the Black Cherokee Nation Citizens – the CherokeeFreedmen – from voting in the election. The Secretary of the Interior recently refused torecognize a similarly situated tribe – the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma – when itattempted to vote out the Seminole Freedmen and preclude their right to vote. TheGovernment took the position that the Seminole Freedmen were members of theSeminole Nation pursuant to the Treaty of 1866 and possessed the right to vote in Tribalelections. The Government then successfully defended its position in two cases beforethis Court. See Seminole Nation v. Norton, No. 00-2384 (D.D.C. Sept. 27, 2001) (CKK)(“Seminole I”), and Seminole Nation v. Norton, 2002 WL 31109804 (D.D.C.) (RBW)(2002) (“Seminole II”).
 BACKGROUND ON THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF THE CHEROKEE FREEDMEN
Cherokee Freedmen were granted membership in the Cherokee Tribe pursuant tothe Treaty with the Cherokee Indians, July 19, 1866, 14 Stat. L., 799 (the “1866 Treaty”),The 1866 Treaty contains the following provisions:ARTICLE 4.All the Cherokees and freed persons who were formerlyslaves to any Cherokee, and all free negroes not havingbeen such slaves, who resided in the Cherokee Nation priorto June first, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, who maywithin two years elect not to reside northeast of theArkansas River and southeast of Grand River, shall havethe right to settle in and occupy the Canadian districtsouthwest of the Arkansas River, and also all that tract of country lying northwest of Grand River, and bounded onthe southeast by Grand River and west by the Creek reservation to the northeast corner thereof; from thence
 
3west on the north line of the Creek reservation to theninety-sixth degree of west longitude; and thence north onsaid line of longitude so far that a line due east to GrandRiver will include a quantity of land equal to one hundredand sixty acres for each person who may so elect to residein the territory above-described in this article:
Provided 
,That part of said district north of the Arkansas River shallnot be set apart until it shall be found that the Canadiandistrict is not sufficiently large to allow one hundred andsixty acres to each person desiring to obtain settlementunder the provisions of this article.ARTICLE 5.The inhabitants electing to reside in the district described inthe preceding article shall have the right to elect all theirlocal officers and judges, and the number of delegates towhich by their numbers they may be entitled in any generalcouncil to be established in the Indian Territory under theprovisions of this treaty, as stated in Article XII, and tocontrol all their local affairs, and to establish all necessarypolice regulations and rules for the administration of justicein said district, not inconsistent with the constitution of theCherokee Nation or the laws of the United States;
Provided 
, The Cherokees residing in said district shallenjoy all the rights and privileges of other Cherokees whomay elect to settle in said district as hereinbefore provided,and shall hold the same rights and privileges and be subjectto the same liabilities as those who elect to settle in saiddistrict under the provisions of this treaty;
Provided also
,That if any such police regulations or rules be adoptedwhich, in the opinion of the President, bear oppressively onany citizen of the nation, he may suspend the same. And allrules or regulations in said district, or in any other districtof the nation, discriminating against the citizens of otherdistricts, are prohibited, and shall be void.ARTICLE 9.The Cherokee Nation having, voluntarily, in February,eighteen hundred and sixty-three, by an act of the nationalcouncil, forever abolished slavery, hereby covenant andagree that never hereafter shall either slavery or involuntaryservitude exist in their nation otherwise than in thepunishment of crime, whereof the party shall have beenduly convicted, in accordance with laws applicable to allthe members of said tribe alike. They further agree that all

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