Idaho Petition for State Acknowledgement (1982) (failed)

PETITION FOR STATE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF
THE DELAWARES OF IDAHO, INC.
AS AN INDIAN TRIBE

I

INTRODUCTION

This petition seeks state acknowledgment of the Delawares of Idaho, Inc. and its members as a tribe of Delaware Indians.

The name and address of Petitioners are:

Delawares of Idaho, Inc.
3677 N. Maple Grove Rd.
Boise, Idaho 83704

The name and telephone of the Chairman of the Committee appointed to act as spokesman for the group is:

Charlotte Simmons
10170 Sagramore Ave.
Boise, Idaho 83704
(208) 377—1984

The attorney for the Delawares of Idaho, Inc. is:

W. Anthony Park
Park and Meuleman, Chartered
Attorneys at Law
P. 0. Box 2762
Boise, Idaho 83701
(208) 336-2820

II

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF PETITIONERS

All of the members of Delaware Indians of Idaho, Inc. trace their Indian blood to a common group of Delaware Indian ancestors. We have available, and submit herewith, six master charts which describe the Indian ancestry of six individuals: Grace Creech, Arthur A. Creech, Viola Creech, Elsie D, Creech, Bruce L. Creech and William Fent. (Exhibits “A” through “F”). The remainder of the members of our group are then keyed into these master charts by tracing the member’s ancestry to one of the six named individuals. Birth certificates and other documentary evidence have been filed with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Muskogee, Oklahoma, in proof of the lineal bloodline for each member of the Delawares of Idaho, Inc. with the exception of several newborn children.

Our group’s ancestors do not appear on either the Dawes Commission Roll of 1906 or the 1940 Base Reconstructed Census Roll, upon which eligibility for recognition as Delawares has been primarily based in the past. The reason for this omission is shrouded in mystery. The member’s eldest known ancestor, Rebecca Lucas, was clearly a member of the tribe as it existed in 1867. The remainder of whose members eventually became known as the “Cherokee Delawares.” She is listed as Entry No. 638, Allotment No. 929, on the 1867 John C. Pratt’s Registry of Delaware Indians which listed the Delawares who elected to remove from Kansas to Oklahoma, pursuant to the Treaty of 1866. Rebecca Lucas’ daughter, Lucinda Marshall, appears on the same roll as Entry No. 310, Allotment No. 928, along with her husband William Marshall, Entry No. 399, Allotment No. 333. Copies of pertinent portions of the Pratt Registry are included as Exhibits “G” and “H”. The originals may be found in the National Archives in Record Group No. 75.
Rebecca Lucas and William and Lucinda Marshall are also listed as Delaware Indians on a number of receipts prepared by the United States in order to record the payment of various allotments. Rebecca Lucas received $125.00 in 1867 (Exhibit “I”) and a total of $75.00 in 1868 (Exhibits “J” and “K”). It is noteworthy that the receipts are signed by Lucinda Marshall as “daughter and head of family of allottee.” Lucinda also received $75.00 on her own behalf in 1868 (Exhibit “L”). William Marshall received some payments in 1868 as one of the heirs of a certain Annie Marshall (Exhibits “M” and “N”). In addition, a formal document recording William Marshall’s 1865 land allotment as a Delaware is attached as Exhibit “O”.

There are a number of other records describing William and Lucinda Marshall as Delaware Indians. William’s name appears on the 1896 payroll of Cherokee Delawares prepared by D. W. Lipe (Exhibit “P”) He is also listed on the 1898 roll of Delawares residing in the Cherokee Nation under the name William Marshall Connor-Washer, Despite the addition of the name Connor-Washer, his true identity is established by the use of his entry number, which corresponds with the number issued to him on the Pratt Registry. Lucinda Marshall appears on the same roll, and a copy of the original record on file with the Kansas State Historical Society is attached as Exhibit “Q”.

William and Lucinda Marshall had a daughter named Mary Francis Marshall, who was apparently born in 1846. In 1866, Mary Marshall married James R. Fent and a certificate regarding the marriage record is attached as Exhibit “R”. Mary Marshall is listed as a member of the Cherokee Delawares in an 1887 Pine Book on file with the Federal Records Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Our group has been unable to obtain a copy of this document, but the BIA may be able to do so. Mary’s Delaware ancestry is established, however, by her death certificate (Exhibit “S”) which lists William and Cynda (Lucliada)’s Marshall as her parents.

James Fent and Mary Marshall had nine children, including William Fent and Otelia E. Creech (nee Fent) (Exhibit “T”). All of the group’s members are direct lineal descendants of either William Peat and Otelia B. Creech, and they are able to trace their ancestry in an unbroken line to members of the Delaware tribe who were living adults when the Delawares’ Kansas Land was ceded to the United States. See 14 Stat. 793 (1866).

Because of the negligent, and perhaps willful, failure of the Dawes Commission to enroll the progenitors of the petitioning group and because of the resulting failure to issue an allotment of land to them, the following named Delaware Indians who were entitled to receive land under the July 4, 1866 treaty were uprooted. See Exhibit “Ta”. A temporary area office for Delawares filing complaints for non allotments of land was established at Billings, Montana. This band of Delaware Indians endured much hardship to reach Billings, Montana, traveling in makeshift wagons all the way from the Verdigree’s Valley of Oklahoma. It was there in Billings, Montana, in 1911, that Violet Smith nee Viola Creech was appointed by the group to seek the assistance of an attorney to establish her groups Indian rights and their entitlement to the land allotment promised by the Treaty of 1866. An exchange of correspondence between Mrs. Violet Smith nee Viola Creech’s attorney and various officials of the Office of the Commission on Indian Affairs are attached as Exhibits “U”, “V”, “W”, “X”, “Y”, “Z”, “1”, “2”, and “3” of this petition. These attempts did not bear fruit.

After several frugal years in the Billings, Montana area, this small band of Delaware Indians emigrated to Wyoming seeking better living conditions and employment. Some of the elders hoped to establish the group with the Indian population already residing on the Wind River reservation. Finding this impossible, they settled in Basin, Wyoming. The great Flu epidemic of 1918 swept through the band killing several members leaving the rest sickly and unable to work in the harsh conditions of the Wyoming climate. In the early 1920’s, the band migrated to the state of Idaho where they have remained to this day. The band suffered many hardships brought about primarily from the transition from reservation life to existence in the surrounding white community. The main occupation of the members consisted of agricultural field work, fruit harvesting and the like; the members, being uneducated Indians, had difficulty competing in the white man’s world.

Gradually, after a long period of years of this kind of existence, the group was able to raise its standard of living t the level of an average poor white family. However, throughout this period, the group maintained cohesion and intra-tribal contact. The young men of the group would leave the area in Idaho in search of work to help support themselves and those remaining in the central area. Idaho remains the core residential area of the Delawares of Idaho, Inc., and the membership is located primarily in three southwestern Idaho counties. These counties are Ada County, Payette County and Gem County, commonly know as the “Treasure Valley” in the State of Idaho.

III

DESCRIPTION OF PAST GROUP

The Lenape, or Delawares proper, were composed of three principal tribes;  they were called Munsee, Unami, and Unalachtigo. Each of these had its own territory and dialect, with more or less separate identity. Each of these three tribes were comprised of a great many minor divisions. In the Unalachtigo tribe there existed twelve subdivisions. They comprised the Turkey clan. The historic villages of the Unalachtigo section of the tribe were Buckstown, Custaloga’s town, Kilibuck’s town and Coshoctan.

A clan consisted of no more than two to three hundred people and a new clan was formed under new leadership when a old clan became too large to manage. In this way the uprooted members of the Turkey clan took upon themselves the name Antelope Eaters as was the custom when they moved to the State of Wyoming and was forced to subsist mainly upon the wild antelope. Continuing into the Treasure Valley where the surviving members of the band found a permanent home in Idaho.

The Unami section of the Delaware tribe was accepted by the Cherokee nation and received allotments of land in the Verdigree’s Valley under the Treaty of 1866.

The Munsee section of the Delaware tribe established themselves on a reservation in Canada.

IV

DESCRIPTION OF CURRENT GROUP

The Delawares of Idaho, Inc. number approximately 209 men, women and children who are all direct lineal descendants of the common group of ancestors identified in the preceding section, all of whom were listed on the John G. Pratt’s Registry of Original Delawares in 1867.

Tribal headquarters is located in Boise, Ada County, State of Idaho. As mentioned above, the majority of the Delawares of Idaho reside in the south western counties of Idaho: Ada County, Payette County and Gem County.

The Delawares of Idaho also include among their members a number of people, primarily young persons, who live outside the central area described above. Many of these persons have not yet established permanent homes and have moved in and out of the central area because of working conditions. It is anticipated that many of them will at some time in the future return to settle in southwestern Idaho with the majority of the group. Notwithstanding the movement of some of the group in and out of the central area, there continues to be close ties and contact among all the members.

Monthly newsletters and correspondence are sent to the members of the group.

The present leader of the group is A. A. Creech, who is the eldest living male. This is in keeping with the historical tradition of the Delawares of Idaho. The group has a governing council which is duly elected by the membership. The Delawares of Idaho, Inc. are a non-profit corporation duly qualified in the State of Idaho.

V

RESPONSE FOR PETITION

All of the present day members of the Delawares of Idaho, Inc. are in fact Delaware by blood, and can trace their ancestry in an unbroken line to members of the Delaware nation listed on John G. Pratt’s Registry of Original Delaware Indians in 1867. From the Registry of 1867 generation by generation to the present day the Delawares and their ancestors mentioned in this petition have not sold, given away, or traded off their right as Delaware Indians. The petitioners base their claim on being the direct lineal bloodline decedents of the Delaware nation. Note (Halvert vs. United States, 283 U.S. 753). The rule being that children belong to the tribe of their parents. The ancestors of the Delawares of Idaho Inc. were clearly members of the Delaware tribe of Indians. The progenitors of the petitioning group have been repeatedly identified in federal records as being members of the Delaware Tribe of Indians. The most prominent inclusion is the 1867 John G. Pratt’s Registry of Delaware Indians referred to above in this petition. (See Exhibits “G” and “H”.) The originals of the Pratt Registry may be found in the National Archives in Record Group No. 75.

Further, Rebecca Lucas and William and Lucinda Marshall have been identified as Delaware Indiana on receipts prepared by the United States in order to record the payment of various allotments. (See Exhibits “I”, “J”, “K”, “L”, “M”, and “M”).

Finally, a letter to The Honorable Teno Roncalio, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian Affairs and Public Lands dated May 24, 1978 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs is attached as BIA substantiation of the fact that the Delawares of Idaho are descended from the Delawares who lived in Kansas and were moved to Oklahoma, in the 19th Century. (Exhibit “6”.)

Attached to the petition as Exhibit “7” is a statement from Dr. Patricia K. Ourada, an Indian historian who is a professor of history at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho.

As stated elsewhere in this Petition, the petitioning’ group lives primarily in three southwestern Idaho counties, Ada, Payette, and Gem. Its members meet and conduct tribal business on a regular basis. The Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws of the tribal corporation are included as Exhibits “8” and “9”. Copies of the monthly newsletter put out by the group on a regular basis are also attached as Exhibit “10”.

Further, the group has an annual meeting held in July of each year. Minutes of the last annual meeting held in July of 1981 in McCall, Idaho are included as Exhibit “11”.

The oral history transcription attached as Exhibit “5” is helpful in identifying the group’s history as an entity in Idaho, as well as the earlier locations it settled in.

Although the petitioning group have been somewhat loose knit over the years since its unwanted departure from Oklahoma tribal life, nonetheless, as stated in the Historical Overview, Section II above, the members of the group have recognized over the generations a general central authority for solving group problems and making group decisions. The Tribal Chairman has always been the oldest living male and that is currently reflected in the Articles of Incorporation of the Delawares of Idaho, Inc.

Again, the oral history interviews provide some interesting insights into the group decision-making process concerning work for the members, moves from one area to another and the like. These moves, involving a large number of people must have been in the nature of group decisions. In all fairness, however, it should be remembered that this group is not a classic “reservation” tribe. Uprooted many years ago from the main body of the Delawares this roving band has been existing in the white man’s world and has been forced to live in a context which is reflective of that white society to the unobservant person in order for the band to survive. In view of this historic problem it is indeed remarkable that they have managed to maintain and preserve their group identity and traditions so well.

As referred to above, Exhibit “8” and “9” are true copies of the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of the Delawares of Idaho, Inc. The provisions of these documents are self-explanatory.

Enclosed herewith as Exhibits are the current rolls of the Delawares of Idaho Inc. (see office copy)

The membership of the Delawares of Idaho, Inc. is composed entirely of lineal bloodline Delawares who are not now members of any other North American Tribe.

The Petitioner, Delawares of Idaho, Inc., is not nor are its members, the subject of congressional legislation which has expressly terminated or forbidden the federal relationship. In point of fact, the petitioner has filed a petition for federal recognition to the Federal Acknowledgment Board of the United States Government approximately three years ago. It will be years before a ruling can be made due to the number of petitions filed by other tribes.

VI

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, Petitioner urges the State of Idaho to acknowledge their existende as a North American Indian Tribe. The evidence submitted with this Petition establishes clearly that the Petitioners are legitimate Delaware Indians. Who have established a distinct and separate identity from the Delawares who remained in Oklahoma. For reasons which are unknown at this time, the Petitioners’ ancestors were never given the proper recognition as Delaware Indians which they deserved, On August 1, 1980, the President of the United States signed into law a bill which passed the United States Senate and House of Representatives which recognized the members of the group known as th Delawares of Idaho, Inc. as legitimate decendents of the Delaware Tribe, entitled to share in the Delaware Judgment Funds being distributed in the future. After years of hardship we believe State Recognition should be granted to the Delawares of Idaho, Inc. so that its members can receive the recognition which is nay so long overdue.
Respectfully Submitted,

A. A. CREECH, CHAIRMAN
(signature A. A. CREECH)

DELAWARES OF IDAHO, INC.
3677 N. Maple Grove Rd.
Boise, Idaho 83704
(208) 377—0397

Footnote: The last legitimate council of the once great Delaware Nation voted to recognize as members all its roving bands and the treaty of 1866 between the U. S. Government and the Cherokee Nation and the Delaware Nation did not state at any time that any Delaware Indian who was not accepted by the cherokee Nation or who did not choose to become white citizens would cease to be Delaware Indians who were clearly members of the Delaware Tribe.