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In 1896-1897 the Kern-Clifton Roll was created to fill in the omissions of the Wallace Roll.
Proposed Legislation for the Full-blood and identified Choctaws of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama: Memorial Evidence and Brief published I believe in 1913.
“Disapproval of McKennon Roll Without Notice, Hearing or Investigation”
“The Indians identified by the Commission on the roll reported March 10, 1899, had in some instances, that is to say, in the cases of 539 individuals, not appeared before the subsequent hearing of the Commission and were therefore not included in the second roll of Identified Mississippi Choctaws, which was prepared by the Commission under the act of July 1, 1902, and was based upon the hearings conducted in Mississippi in 1900, 1901 and 1902. On March 1, 1907, this roll was disapproved without notice to anyone, without a hearing and without considering the merits of the rights of the individuals enrolled who were not included in the subsequent roll.
In the letter of Asst. Secretary Jesse E. Wilson of March 1, 1907; disapproving the roll, he states that the Indian Office recommends, “In order that the roll may be disposed of and no question may arise concerning it in the future, that it be disapproved….. In accordance with said recommendation I have this day disapproved the copy of the roll in possession of this office.”
The injustice and illegality of this action is commented upon in the brief filed by the attorney for Robert L. Owen in the Court of Claims on April 20, 1913, in the following words:
“It will thus be seen that there was a secret underhanded opposition to the Mississippi Choctaws because it must be remembered that this roll of identification made by the Dawes Commission March 10, 1899 and submitted by “report to the Secretary of the Interior” was pigeon-holed for eight years and then disapproved without notice. This policy was ruinous, for many of the Mississippi Choctaw, full-blood Indians, relied upon the Interior Department to advise them when their identification was complete so the might move to the Choctaw country with safety. The Interior Department held those identified on this roll of 1899 in ignorance and uncertainty until it was too late to move and then disapproved the roll. The gross injustice of this procedure is manifest and no pretense can be made that the controlling officials of the Interior Department really entertained any genuine sympathy with the enrollment of the poor full-blood Mississippi Choctaws.”
“The Secretary also refused to approve any plan proposed to finance the removal of the Mississippi Choctaws who were too poor to remove themselves, although plaintiff Owen urged that it be done from 1900 to 1903.”
“The report declares that the Mississippi Choctaws were poor, ignorant and helpless. This report in behalf of the full-blood Mississippi Choctaws, signed and submitted by the Dawes Commission was disapproved eight years later by Mr. Secretary Hitchcock on March 4, 1907 without notice or warning so that no person upon this roll ever knew for eight years whether he was so far identified as to be entitled to remove as an identified Mississippi Choctaw, and finally the entire schedule was rejected without notice.”
The information for these pages is contributed by Jackie Matte, author of “They Say the Wind is Red”, and Dusty. We thank them for allowing us to provide our readers with this valuable Choctaw history.
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