This is the statement of the Idaho Delaware Indians to the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs made by Clyde Wesley Creech Sr. on January 14, 1980.
Mr. Chairman and honorable members of the committee:
My name is Clyde Wesley Creech Sr. I live in Boise, Idaho and am here representing The Delaware’s of Idaho, Inc. for which I serve as a member of the Tribal Council. My uncle, Arthur A. Creech, who is chairman of the Tribal Council of the Delaware’s of Idaho, Inc. is here with me and joins me in this statement. Also with me is our Washington D.C. Attorney, Mr. Robert H. Hunt of the Firm Hudson & Creyke, which serves as co-council with our Idaho attorney, Mr. W. Anthony Park, of the firm of Park & Meuleman, Chartered in Boise.
The Delawares of Idaho, Inc. is a non-profit corporation, the members of which are Delaware Indians comprising approximately 200 in number. The majority of the tribe live in the State of Idaho but younger members are also located in the States of Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma and California. They have gone there seeking employment.
The Delawares of Idaho, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Idaho in January 1978. Prior to the incorporation of the group, it had existed as a loosely knit band of Delaware Indians. The ancestors of the members of the group (and indeed, some of the older members who are still living) migrated from Oklahoma many years ago to the northwestern states.
The Delawares of Idaho have been diligently seeking two main objectives. (1) certification as a federally recognized Indian tribe of the United States of America; and (2) that its members, all of whom are descendants of the same Delaware Indians who entered into the Delaware Treaty of 1866 with the US Government, be designated to share in funds appropriated by congress for distribution to Delaware Indians in redress of past wrongs inflicted upon the Delaware’s generally by the U.S. Government.
Although those efforts to date have been unsuccessful, the Delawares of Idaho, Inc. believe that they should be entitled both to tribal certification and to share in any funds presently being considered by the Congress of the United States for appropriation to Delaware Indians, for the following reasons:
All of the members of the Delawares of Idaho, Inc. trace their Indian blood directly to four common Indian ancestors named Rebecca Lucas, William Marshall, Lucinda Marshall and Francis Marshall, all four of whom appear on the 1867 Pratt’s Registry of Delaware Indians. The 1867 Pratt’s Registry is the “Register” referred to in section 1 of S1466; persons who are descended from a lineal ancestor whose name appears on the “register” are eligible for enrolment under S 1466. Rebecca Lucas is listed as entry No. 638, Allotment No. 929, on the Pratt registry. Rebecca Lucas’ daughter, Lucinda Marshal, appears on the same roll as Entry 310, Allotment 928, along with her husband William Marshal Entry No. 399, Allotment No. 333. Copies of pertinent portions of the Pratt Registry are included as Exhibits “A” and “B”. The originals may be found in the national Archives in record group 75.
We have available six charts which describe which describe the Indian ancestry of six later born individuals who trace their ancestry directly to these four ancestors. The six later born individuals are Grace Creech, Arthur A. Creech and Elsie D. Creech, all living, and Bruce L. Creech, Viola Creech and William Fent, all deceased. (Exhibits “C” through “H”) The remainder of the 200 members of our group are descended from one of these six named individuals. Birth Certificates and other documentary evidence are available as to each member of the group in support of the claimed lineage.
Our group’s ancestors do no appear on either the Dawes Commission Roll of 1906 or the 1940 Base reconstructed Census Roll, upon which eligibility to share in past judgment funds has been primarily based. The reason for this omission is not clearly known, but the evidence we have suggests that the names were fraudulently omitted from the rolls with out knowledge of the person who was omitted. For example, William Marshal’s name appears on the 1898 roll of Delaware’s residing in the Cherokee Nation under the name “William Marshal 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 Pratt’s Registry. Lucinda Marshal appears on the same roll, and a copy of the original record of 1898 roll on file with the Kansas historical Society is attached as Exhibit “I.” There are many other documents that establish clearly the Delaware lineage of the Delaware’s of Idaho. If the committee desires further documentation, we will be happy to provide it. However, we feel the attached letter from Rick Lavis, the then Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs makes it clear that the Idaho Delaware’s, on the Basis of their descent from persons on the Pratt’s Registry, and are entitled to inclusion. (Exhibit “J”)
It is, therefore, our strong opinion that the members of The Delawares of Idaho, Inc. should share in the distribution of any proposed Delaware funds. The documentation that we have establishes that the members’ ancestors should have been included in all earlier awards, and that omission should now be rectified.
To date, however, none of The Delawares of Idaho or their ancestors have ever yet shared in any award made for the benefit of the Delaware Indians by the United States Government down through the years. One of the primary reasons for the past omissions is that our members, separated by great distances from the main tribe, were simply unaware of the awards and their entitlement to share in them. They have initiated their efforts diligently upon learning of the awards, only to find that the time period had run out for filing claims. Interestingly, my aunt, Viola Creech, through an attorney, wrote the appropriate authorities in the U.S. government clear back in 1911 seeking entitlement to her land allotments in Oklahoma, (Exhibits U, V and W) Her efforts went unrewarded. Because of this long history of frustration, a substantial injustice will occur if The Delawares of Idaho are not permitted to share in the funds now available for distribution in such a manner as to “make up” for the past omissions. S1466 will provide for this “make up” and we urge its passage.
The Delawares of Idaho appreciate very much this opportunity to testify before you today and we thank you and your staff for your efforts on our behalf.
Very truly yours,
Clyde Wesley Creech Sr.