Federal Acknowledgment Project

of the

Texas Band of Choctaw Indians

The purpose of the Federal Acknowledgment Project of the Texas Band of Choctaw Indians of the Mount Tabor Community is to secure and redevelop the government to government relationship that has existed since 1835 in Texas. While the band is a small group of Choctaw Indians, currently numbering some 176 individuals. We expect overall enrollment will be in excess of 250, once the project is completed and the petition ready for submission. Services for Choctaw Indians by the federal government for family members enrolled with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma are currently unavailable to Texas Choctaws as a result of the lack of acknowledgment. The constitution of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma does not make a provision for proven descendants such as our band as do others such as the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. While most of the group is of Chickasaw blood, not all are, thus leaving the prospect of Chickasaw enrollment distant at best.

The scenarios available to the band are many, in particular since we are a treaty tribe by virtue of the treaty of February 23, 1836 with the Republic of Texas. Thus the Federal Acknowledgment Project, coming under the direction of the Choctaw Business Committee and the Board of Directors of the Thompson-Choctaw Indian Descendants Association (per Choctaw General Assembly resolution) shall seek all avenues open to the group that are the least restrictive and offer the quickest and fairest resolution to the acknowledgment question. Further it is the function of the FAP to review all previous litigation attempts regarding said treaty and subsequent treaty of Birds Fort in 1843 to insure federal compliance with said agreements. Additionally, previous acknowledgment by United States President Polk, Republic of Texas President Houston shall be investigated fully. Finally, it shall be the duty of the FAP to investigate discrimination against the Texas Choctaws by the Dawes Commission and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and pursue accordingly to reach a consensus of the status of the government to government relationship between the Texas Band of Choctaw Indians of the Mount Tabor Community and the United States of America.

Constitutional Authority

8.12.a In accordance with previous mandates and pursuant to the direction of the General Assembly, so assembled on June 19, 1999, it shall be the objective of the said General Assembly to pursue Federal Acknowledgment as an American Indian Tribe, pursuant to United States Code 25 CFR 83.1-11, by the Secretary of the Interior or his representative within the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Or through any other means at the disposal of the General Assembly including but not limited to:

8.12.a-1 Adoption as an entity into another federally recognized American Indian Tribe.

8.12.a-2 Recognition as an American Indian Tribe through the United States Court of Claims.

8.12.a-3 Recognition through Executive Order based upon previous acknowledgment and/or claims.

8.12.a-4 Recognition through an act of the Congress of the United States of America based upon previous acknowledgment and/or claims.

8.12.b In accordance with this section, the General Assembly may render this constitution null and void in part or in whole, if so warranted to accomplish the goals outlined previously in Article 8.12. Doing so in order to place the band in a position to be adopted into another federally recognized American Indian Tribe and/or to make the constitution acceptable to the Secretary of the Interior upon gaining acknowledgment as an American Indian Tribe pursuant to United States Code 25 CFR 83.1-11.

Information on letter of intent to petition for federal acknowledgment

Previous submission of letter of intent:

Section 2. Affiliation and Previous Submission

Further, this organization known as the Texas Band of Choctaw Indians of the Mount Tabor Community shall also be referred to as the Texas Band of Choctaw Indians or Texas Choctaws. We have been affiliated with the Texas Cherokees and Associate (Affiliate, Associated) Bands from 1871-1999. Additionally, this is our second submission of a letter of intent. The Department of the Interior, although acknowledging receipt, never recognized our first attempt on 8 August 1990 under the name of Texas Band of Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians, Inc., as it was only signed by the Chairman. However, since then, another group whose Chairman was the only signator, was accepted in 1992 under the name Sandy Lake Band of Ojibwe. This change of the name of the band was not approved by the General Assembly and by virtue of this, in 1992 the name was again Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands. It remained such until the General Assembly of 1999. At such time, it was agreed upon, after several years of debate, "the community had evolved into a Choctaw group". The Choctaw part of said "associate bands" having maintained a tribal community in Texas along with our Cherokee relatives from historical times to present.

Previous Acknowledgment listed in letter of intent:

Section 3 Previous Acknowledgment

Further, previous recognition of the group as an "associate band" of the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands has been as follows: (1) Republic of Texas by treaty February 23, 1836 as a part of the Texas Cherokees and Twelve Associated Tribes. (2) Republic of Texas 1837 as Yawani Choctaws in Indian census data. (3) Republic of Texas misc. correspondence 1838-1843. (4) Republic of Texas by treaty on September 29, 1843 as a part of the Texas Cherokees, (ratified by the Congress of the Republic of Texas on February 9, 1844). (5) Republic of Texas by treaty in October 1844 as a part of the Texas Cherokees. (6) Republic of Texas by Articles of Agreement in 1845 as a part of the Texas Cherokees. (7) 1871 as a part of litigation in connection with the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands. (8) 1914 as a part of litigation in connection with the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands. (9) 1920 as a part of United States Supreme Court briefs in connection with the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands. (10) 1948 as a part of litigation before the Indian Claims Commission in connection with the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands. Continued recognition of the Band by the government of the United States of America is demonstrated through the appointment of W.W. Keeler as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma by President Harry S. Truman. This while Keeler was also serving as Executive Committee Chairman of the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands.

Attempts at resolution of the acknowledgment question in Texas as a state entity through consultations with then Texas Governor Mark White, ended when with the dissolution of the Texas Indian Commission. Again, the Alabama-Coushatta and Tigua tribes were granted federal acknowledgment following that dissolution, but not the TCAB or our associated Choctaw people with no consultations between the TCAB and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Additionally, enrollment of community members with the Choctaw Nation from 1895-1909 proved nearly impossible with the only descendants enrolled being a party to the case of William C. Thompson et al vs. Choctaw Nation. The Dawes Commission or Choctaw authorities as evidenced by correspondence and appeals of community descendants apparently lost other applications. This resulted in the disenfranchisement of at least forty-two Texas Choctaws. The data from these cases clearly demonstrated that a group of Choctaws was residing in Smith County, Texas, where their descendants remain today.

Reserve Clause in letter of intent:

Section 4 Reserve Authority

Further, that although we are submitting this resolution as a letter of intent to petition the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs-Branch of Acknowledgment and Research as an American Indian tribe pursuant to 25 CFR 83.7; we hereby reserve the right to pursue acknowledgment through other avenues. Such being but not limited to, the Congress of the United States of America, Presidential Executive Order, adoption into another federally recognized tribe or through the United States Court of Claims based upon previous unambiguous recognition by the Republic of Texas and its successor government the United States of America and apparent discrimination by the Bureau of Indian Affairs or its representatives.

Qualifications for individuals to be a part of the petition for acknowledgment

Constitution

CITIZENSHIP

2.1 By this document, all lineal descendants of Choctaw, and/or other allied Indians, whose ancestors were historically a part of the Mount Tabor Community in Texas as evidenced by the 1870 and 1880 United States Census of Smith County, Texas and/or Rusk County, Texas (refer to Article 1.2), and who can prove they have and continue to maintain contact with the present day community, shall be eligible for citizenship, provided prioritization of enrollment is met in accordance with Article 2.2. No person, who is not of community Indian ancestry in accordance with Articles 2.2 & 2.4, proven through band, state and federal records shall be allowed citizenship. The Choctaw Business Committee and the Choctaw Tribal Court shall together draft an enrollment ordinance that clarifies family lines of descent that are recognized as historically a part of the Mt. Tabor Community. Such an enrollment ordinance shall remain in accordance with this document and shall insure that such enrollment is limited to community members by blood only.

Enrollment Ordinance

{CRITERIA FOR ENROLLMENT}

EO 2.1 For the purposes of enrollment all applicants must prove lineal descent from Sally McCoy (also known as Sally Frazier and Sally Colbert) 1/2 Chickasaw Indian, or Margaret Thompson (nee McCoy) 3/4 Choctaw-Chickasaw Indian. With the exceptions of Sally Fanning (nee Doak) 1/2 Choctaw Indian, Samuel Jones (also known as Neshoba) 4/4 Choctaw Indian, Jeremiah Jones 1/2 Choctaw Indian, Woody Jones 1/2 Choctaw Indian, Ann Mangum (nee Jones) 1/4 Choctaw Indian, Isilla Mangum (nee Jones) 1/2 Choctaw Indian, Annie Thompson (nee Martin) 1/2 Cherokee Indian, Ruth Bean (nee Starr) 1/4 Cherokee Indian, Cornelius Benjamin Cooper 1/2 Cherokee Indian, George Washington Harnage 1/4 Cherokee Indian, Nancy Harnage (nee Mayfield) 1/8 Cherokee Indian, providing all descendants can prove continued community membership prior to 1975.

EO 2.3 Prioritization of enrollment will be practiced by the Choctaw Business Committee to insure compliance with Article 2.2 & 2.4 of the constitution of the Texas Band of Choctaw Indians. "Refer to 25 CFR 83.7 (b. 2-i & ii)." Prioritization in enrollment will occur in the following manner:

EO 2.3.a First priority of enrollment shall be for Choctaws who are married to other Choctaws living in community settings in relation to other Choctaws (example: several families living within one section of land) in the Enumeration District of Justice Precinct 2, Smith County, Texas.

EO 2.3.b Second priority of enrollment shall be for Choctaws who are married to other Choctaws living within seventeen (17) miles of Overton, Texas.

EO 2.3.c The third priority of enrollment shall be for Choctaws living in community settings in relation to other Choctaws (example: several families living within one section of land) in the Enumeration District of Justice Precinct 2, Smith County, Texas.

EO 2.3.d The fourth priority of enrollment shall be for Choctaws living in the Enumeration District of Justice Precinct 2, Smith County, Texas and who are married to other American Indians regardless of tribe.

EO 2.3.e The sixth priority of enrollment shall be for Choctaws living in the Enumeration District of Justice Precinct 2, Smith County, Texas regardless of the ethnicity of their spouse.

EO 2.3.f The fourth priority of enrollment shall be for Choctaws living within seventeen (17) miles of the town of Overton, Texas

EO 2.3.g The fifth priority of enrollment shall be for Choctaws living in Texas.

EO 2.3.h The sixth priority of enrollment shall be for all other Choctaw-Chickasaw descendants of Sally McCoy (also known as Sally Frazier and Sally Colbert).

EO 2.3.i The seventh priority of enrollment shall be for all Choctaw descendants of the Doak, Jackson, Jones and/or Cherokee and/or Chickasaw descendants of individuals listed in EO 2.1.

EO 2.4 At no time shall more than sixty (60%) percent of the enrolled members be living more than 20 miles from Overton, Texas.

EO 2.5 Any person so enrolled as a member of another American Indian Tribe shall not be allowed membership in of the Texas Band of Choctaw Indians.

EO 2.6 The minimum degree of Choctaw Indian blood required for membership shall be 1/32.

 

LINKS

Citizenship/Enrollment Index

Mount Tabor Indian Community Ancestral List

Thompson-Choctaw Indian Descendants Association Home Page

William C. Thompson et al vs. Choctaw Nation case information

1871 W.P. Adair Claim Summary

 

 

 

 

 

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