A group of Creek Indian Freedmen have called for the boycott of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation amid endorsement of a U.S. House resolution that would sever government ties with the Oklahoma tribe.

The Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band called for a boycott of the Creek Nation. General counsel for the band, Damario Solomon-Simmons, said they are working with their national partners to call for “all individuals of good faith, particularly African Americans,” to end business with the Creek Nation until the freedmen are able to enroll in the tribe.

“Our national partners have committed to helping us contact different organizations, different music groups that are coming through and actually performing at the Creek Nation casinos, to put them on notice that they should not spend their money with an institution that is openly, brazenly and boldly discriminating based upon race,” Solomon-Simmons said.

Indian freedmen, broadly, are the freed slaves of Native American tribes and their descendants. The history is varied with the tribes.

The Creek Indian Freedmen Band sued the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in 2018, seeking full tribal citizenship and calling for the tribe’s constitution to be declared void and in violation of the Treaty of 1866, which guaranteed tribal citizenship for the tribe’s freed slaves and their descendants, as well as those of black Creeks. That lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., is still pending.

“The 13th and 14th Amendments apply across the board here in the United States of America,” Solomon-Simmons said. “Everyone is subject to the United States Constitution. And the United States Constitution forbids discrimination based on race.”

The band endorsed Tuesday a resolution that would sever U.S. ties with the tribe. H.R. 1514, seeks to “sever United States Government relations with the Creek Nation of Oklahoma” until the tribe restores citizenship for the Creek Freedmen. U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., introduced the resolution in early March. As of Tuesday, it was in committee.

Requests for comment from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Executive Branch and Attorney General’s Office were not returned Tuesday evening.

NAACP Washington Bureau Director Hilary Shelton sent a letter to Davis on March 30 to endorse the legislation.

“Supporting this crucial legislation is an honor and a privilege, and it certainly is consistent with our mission to ensure the political, education and social equality of rights of all people,” Shelton wrote in the letter.

The Cherokee Nation signed a similar treaty that was at issue in the litigation resolved last year in the District Court for the District of Columbia between the tribe and the descendants of its freedmen. Cherokee freedmen began enrolling in the tribe in 2017.

The Seminole Nation also signed a comparable treaty that was upheld during disenrollment litigation in the early 2000s. The tribe’s attempts to remove freedmen led to the temporary suspension of its federal recognition.

Creek Nation Principal Chief James Floyd, in a statement issued two days after the Solomon-Simmons news conference, said the tribe is still reviewing the bill in its entirety.

"We note, however, that we are involved in litigation on this subject matter in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, have filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims, as has the United States government, and we are currently awaiting a decision from the Court," Floyd said in the statement.

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​Harrison Grimwood

918-581-8369

harrison.grimwood@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @grimwood_hmg

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