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Memorial  of the Chickasaw Freedmen Part 2 (Continued)

From the terms and language of this clause of the treaty, it is quite evident that the leading desire and intention of the Government of the United States was the complete enfranchisement of the "persons of African descent" in the said nations. Besides the emphatic words used in this clause touching the "laws rules and regulations necessary" etc, we have the additional assurance from the very date of the instrument, 1866, that this enfranchisement of the Negro was the leading design of this clause; because at that time the Government was especially looking to the accomplishment of that event in all its enactments touching the colored race, as well as its amendments to the Constitution of the United States. If this be the true intent and meaning of this clause of the treaty we respectfully suggest the question: Will the Government of the United States quietly allow itself to be thwarted in this beneficent design?

The Chickasaw Indians, have up to this time, neglected and refused to pass the "laws, rules and regulations" enumerated in the said clause of the treaty. In 1877, after the lapse of eleven years from the date of said treaty, the Legislature of the Chickasaw Nation passed the following statute:

AN ACT CONFIRMING THE TREATY OF 1866
Section 1: Be it enacted by the Legislature of the Chickasaw Nation, that whereas a treaty was concluded at Washington City, on the 28th of April 1866, by commissioners duly appointed on the part of the Chickasaws and Choctaws and the United States Government, which treaty was ratified with amendments by the United States Senate, and confirmed by the President, The Chickasaw Legislature does hereby give its assent and confirm the said treaty and amendments made by the Senate of the United States.

Section 2: Be it further enacted, That the Chickasaw Legislature does hereby give its assent to the sectioning and allotment of the lands in severalty under the system of the United States, as provided of in the treaty of April 1866 and the President of the United States is hereby requested to cause the same to be done as soon as may be practicable.
Section 3: Be it further enacted, That the provisions contained in article 3d of the said treaty, giving the Chickasaw Legislature the choice of receiving and appropriating three hundred thousand dollars therein named for the use and benefit, or passing such laws, rules and regulations as will give all persons of African descent certain rights and privileges, be and it is hereby declared to be the unanimous consent of the Chickasaw legislature, that the United States shall keep and hold said sum of three hundred thousand dollars for the benefit of this aid to Negroes; and the Governor of the Chickasaw Nation is hereby requested to notify the Government of the United States that it is the wish of the Legislature of the Chickasaw Nation that the Government remove the said Negroes beyond the limits of the Chickasaw Nation, according to the requirements of the 3rd article of the treaty of April 18th, 1866.

Approved October 17th 1877 B.F. Overton, Governor
This act reflects the settled design and purpose of the Chickasaw Nation not to enfranchise the said "person of African descent" named in said treaty. They have refused and neglected, and still refuse and neglect to pass such laws. Besides the evidence of the settled purpose of the Chickasaws, as found in this statute, we are enabled to state as a fact that on several occasions during pending elections, applications have been made at the polls of voting, to be allowed to vote, by persons of "African descent" yet these applications though made by some of the oldest and most respectable of such persons---persons born and bred in the nation----have been invariably rejected.

In the aforesaid act of their legislature, as it appears to us, the Chickasaws show a disposition to shuffle off upon us, in lieu of our rights the money, this, $300,000 or a part of it; and to thus absolve themselves from their obligations under the treaty; and we feel obliged here to assert that we do not consider ourselves in any way entitled to any portion of said money, as matters now stand; and we protest most solemnly against the bartering of our rights and privileges for money.

The Removal of the Negroes From The Nation

The stipulation of the Government of the United States, to remove from the nations persons of African descent, applies only to such persons as might elect to move. In this connection we take occasion to say, that although sixteen years have passed away since the ratification of this treaty yet no persons of African descent have so elected to remove. And it is our belief that the United States Government has not removed from the nation any persons of African descent under this stipulation.
Now, when the Government agreed to this stipulation in the treaty, to remove from the nation such of the persons of African descent as might elect to remove, and such as were "willing" to remove, the Government asserted implicitly that it would not remove any persons of African descent, who did not so elect to remove; for an agreement reached in diplomacy is supposed to embody the ULTIMATA of the treating parties.

Continue to Part 3