Choctaw and Chickasaw Enrollment Cases
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Regulations of Commissioner of January 2, 1906, Relative to Petitions for Rehearing Under the Loula West, Mary Elizabeth Martin, and Joe and Dillard Perry Enrollment Cases.
Numerous inquiries have been made of this office as to the procedure to be followed by the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes relative to the right to enrollment of persons as citizens of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nation under the opinions of the Assistant Attorney-General for the Department of the Interior rendered November 11, 1905, in the matter of the application for the transfer of the names of Joe and Dillard Perry from the roll of Chickasaw freedmen to the roll of citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation; December 8, 1905, in the Choctaw enrollment case of Loula West et al., and December 8, 1905, in the Choctaw enrollment case of Mary Elizabeth Martin.
The attorneys for the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations have insisted that no hearings be had or procedure of any character be taken by the Commissioner under the opinions above referred to without proper notice to them of the institution of such proceedings and an opportunity to be present to cross-examine applicants and witnesses in the event that a hearing is had in such cases before the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes.
For the convenience of this office, the Department, and applicants who may claim to be benefited by the opinions above referred to, the following procedure has this day been adopted by the Commissioner:
Any person claiming a right to be enrolled as a citizen of either the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nation by reason of any of the above-named opinions of the Assistant Attorney-General will be required to, first, file with the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes a written petition, signed and sworn to by the petitioner and containing a particular statement of the grounds upon which the petitioner s claim is based.
Said petition must state facts sufficient, if true, to show that the petitioner is entitled to be enrolled as a citizen of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nation under one or more of the opinions above referred to, and must also show that a copy of said petition has been served on Mansfield, McMurray & Cornish, South McAlester, Indian Territory, attorneys for the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, who will be allowed fifteen days from the date of service thereof in which to file with the Commissioner any answer thereto which they may desire to make, which answer must show service on the petitioner or his attorney.
After the expiration of said fifteen days the Commissioner will fully consider the petition, and if, in his opinion, it does not state sufficient reasons to justify granting a hearing in the case, said petition will be denied and for warded to the Department for review, with an order of the Commissioner, stating his reasons for denying the same.
If, in his opinion, the reasons stated in the petition are sufficient, the Com missioner will set a date for a hearing and notify the petitioner, his attorney of record, and Mansfield, McMurray & Cornish, the attorneys for the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, thereof. At said hearing the petitioner will be permitted to introduce such testimony or other evidence as he desires in support of the allegations set forth in his petition. The attorneys for the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations will also be permitted to introduce testimony and evidence in rebuttal.
The testimony at the hearing will be confined to the allegations in the petition.
The case will be closed immediately after the introduction of testimony on the date set for the hearing, and as soon thereafter as practicable the Commissioner will render a decision upon the rights of the petitioner to be enrolled as a citizen of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nation.
Said decision, together with the record in- the case, will then be transmitted to the Secretary of the Interior for review.
In such cases where the decision of the Commissioner is favorable to the petitioners and the decision is affirmed by the Secretary of the Interior, the names of the petitioners will then be placed upon a schedule of citizens of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nation, which schedule must first be approved by the Secretary of the Interior before the petitioners are entitled to select and receive an allotment.
In cases of petitioners who do not appear from the records of this office to have formally applied for enrollment to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes as citizens of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nation, within the time prescribed by law, the Commissioner will require conclusive evidence to the effect that application was made or attempted to be made within the time specified for that purpose.
The proceedings herein set forth are without reference to any action hereto fore taken by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, the United States court, or the Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship court upon the rights of the petitioners to be enrolled as citizens of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Nation.
In order that the cases of persons claiming under the opinions of the Assistant Attorney-General in the cases hereinbefore referred to may be disposed of as soon as possible, it is earnestly desired that all petitions be submitted and filed at the earliest practicable date.
Tams Bixby, Commissioner
Muscogee, Ind. T., January 2, 1906