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Video: Judge Patrick Moore discusses the legal ramifications of the current suit by Creek Freedmen

Video:  Judge Patrick Moore discusses the legal ramifications of the current suit by Creek Freedmen


While I was a Consulting Architect to the Muscogee-Creek Nation, Judge Patrick Moore was involved in two cases in which Creek Freedmen had been denied citizenship in the Nation.  In both cases, his sympathies were with the plaintiffs.  Judge Moore administered the funds for education and research from which I was paid.  We became friends during that period.  Creek Freedmen were former slaves and African free people, who were living among the Creeks at the end of the American Civil War.  The 1866 Treaty between the Creek Nation and the federal government mandated that all persons of partial African descent, living with the Creeks, be allowed to join the tribe, if they so-wished.  The Muskogee Creek citizenship committee has tended to deny citizenship to Creek Freedmen in recent years.  That is why they are being sued in federal court. 

I was particularly interested in these cases because under the old rules of citizenship, my mother’s entire family would have been eligible for citizenship.  We were not Freedmen, but my grandmother’s oldest brother by 28 years had received a Creek allotment in 1905 and also my mother’s family listed on the Eastern Creek Docket . . . a 1937 federal court case, in which certain Creek families in Georgia, Alabama and Florida were declared to be Creek Indians, whose lands had been illegal stolen from them by bogus magistrate judgments, after they had been promised state citizenship.  Her family received reparations, which means that they were recognized by the federal government as legitimate Native Americans.  However, under the current citizenship rules, we are not eligible.  Ancestors of MCN citizens must have signed the Dawes Rolls.  My grandmother’s parents did not sign the Dawes Rolls.

In 2008, when organized crime temporarily took control of the MCN, Judge Moore was fired.  However, he still held in high esteem by the Oklahoma Creeks and lawyers around the nation.  As you can see, despite being in his mid-80s, he is still quite feisty.   I was impressed by the very professional quality of this program by Mvskoke Media.  As might be expected of Creeks and Seminoles, it gave close attention to the colors of the background and clothing, plus the location of the speaker in the viewing frame. 

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

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