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High-level misconduct alleged in tribal citizenship case

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jul 09, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — The Muscogee Creek Nation is accused of high-level misconduct two weeks before a historic hearing.

Two Creek Freedman descendants said tribal leaders are illegally working behind the scenes to keep them from citizenship.

Rhonda Grayson and Jeff Kennedy started fighting for citizenship into the Muscogee Creek Nation in 2019.

Last year, a district judge said they should be granted citizenship - but now their attorney said the nation is actively working against them.

“I believe it is unjust. It is a disgrace," said Grayson.
She and Kennedy said the Muscogee Creek Nation National Counsel appointed two "special justices" who will only hear their citizenship case.

Their attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons said a whistleblower alerted them to this and they came across a video breaking down the new law. They said those justices were put in place to vote against them and that these actions are unlawful and unheard of.

Two of the original seven justices recused themselves from the case and they expected only five justices at the hearing on July 26.

They filed a motion asking the Muscogee Nation Supreme Court to rule this new law unconstitutional.

“We could have never anticipated something like this happening, and we hope the courts will quickly decide that this is a side issue," Solomon-Simmons said. "We hope that the court will not be swayed or intimated by the actions of the national counsel and the principal chief and focus on the law and not focus on the politics that’s trying to mandate a decision against the Creek Freedman.”

Attorneys for the Muscogee Creek Nation have said that since the beginning, Rhonda, Jeff, and other Freedman have been denied citizenship because, according to their constitution, they aren't Creek by blood.
However, a district judge ruled last year that the Treaty of 1866 granted them citizenship to the tribe.

“Justice needs to prevail,” Grayson said.

Muscogee Creek Nation sent this statement:

The brazenness with which this group lies is appalling. First, Individuals of African descent who are also Creek are more than welcome as citizens. Indeed, many already are citizens. The issue here is that the individuals seeking citizenship are not Creek at all, and our Constitution does not allow citizenship for anyone who is not a Creek descendant by blood. 

Second, the video they point to is no bombshell. It’s nothing more than a candidate committing to do what every other government official in America is obligated to do—uphold the Constitution they swore an oath to uphold. The notion that any official of any government should pick and choose when to follow the law is dangerous and nonsensical. As a US military veteran and longtime MCN Council representative this is something Mr Jennings would understand well.

Lastly, the attacks on the appointment of special justices are a distraction. Every issue that comes before the court deserves the consideration of a full panel of justices and the appointment of special justices follows the same process as every other judge. Judges are nominated by the executive branch and confirmed by the legislative branch.

Both sides will be in front of the Muscogee Supreme Court in two weeks on July 26th to argue their case. 2 News will be in the courtroom, and we’ll keep you updated on what happens.

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