Idaho Petition for State Acknowledgment (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, ViolaCreech, 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 trac­ingthe 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 Delaware’s has been pri­mar­ily based in the past. The rea­son for this omis­sion is shrouded in mystery. The member’s oldest 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 Delaware’s.” 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 maybe 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 Delaware 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 Frances Mar­shall, who was appar­ently born in 1846. In 1866, Mary Mar­shall mar­ried James R. Fent and acer­tifi­cate regard­ing the mar­riage record is attached as Exhibit “R”. Mary Mar­shall is listed as amem­ber 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 allotment 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 therein Billings, Mon­tana, in 1911, that Vio­let Smith nee ViolaCreech 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 andvar­i­ous 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 Coshocton.

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 Verdigris 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 oldest 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 descendants 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 whois 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 Delaware 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 observant 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 Delaware’s who are not now mem­bers of any other North Amer­i­can Tribe.

The Peti­tioner, Delaware’s of Idaho, Inc., is not nor are its mem­bers, the sub­ject of con­gres­sional leg­is­la­tion which has expressly ter­mi­nated or forbidden the fed­eral rela­tion­ship. Inpoint 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 arul­ing 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 existence 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 the Delawares of Idaho, Inc. as legit­i­mate descendants 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 mem­bersall 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.