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MCN files to remove Hobia from citizenship, Council candidacy

MCN files to remove Hobia from citizenship, Council candidacy
(MNN File Photo) The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Office of the Attorney General petitioned the MCN District Court Aug. 10 to order the MCN Citizenship Board to revoke the citizenship of Jeremiah Hobia and order the MCN Election Board to remove him from the list of certified and eligible National Council candidates.

*Update 5:05 p.m. Aug. 24 – Muscogee (Creek) Nation District Court Judge Greg Bigler has upheld the Muscogee (Creek) citizenship of Jeremiah Hobia citing the 2007 MCN Supreme Court opinion Thlopthlocco Tribal Town v. Nathan Anderson.

MCN District Court Documents on the Hobia case cite the 2007 Supreme Court case: 

‘The relationship between Thlopthlocco and the federal government is different from the relationship between Thlopthlocco and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Under federal law, Thlopthlocco is a reorganized Indian tribe; under tribal law, Thlopthlocco is a Muscogee (Creek) tribal town. The Tribal Town Constitution affects neither the status of tribal town members as citizens of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation nor the relationship of the Tribal Town to the Muscogee Nation which remains analogous to a city/state government or state/federal government relationship.‘ 

*Update 1:51 p.m. Aug. 23 – A second hearing was held Aug. 23 regarding a petition filed by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Office of the Attorney General to revoke the citizenship of Jeremiah Hobia and order the MCN Election Board to remove him from the list of certified and eligible National Council candidates.

Following the reported Aug. 21 Citizenship Board decision to uphold Hobia’s citizenship status, MCN District Court Judge Greg Bigler said a decision would be made by 5 p.m., Aug. 24 regarding the petition. 

Mvskoke Media was present at both District Court hearings but A/V recordings were not allowed. MM’s request for the court’s recordings of the proceedings were denied. 

*Update 8:50 a.m. Aug. 22 – According to Muscogee (Creek) Nation Election Board Manager Nelson Harjo Jr., The MCN Citizenship Board decided to uphold Jeremiah Hobia’s Muscogee (Creek) citizenship and another hearing is set Aug. 23 in MCN District Court. 

*Update 4:15 p.m. Aug. 17 – A hearing was held Aug. 17 regarding a petition filed by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Office of the Attorney General to revoke the citizenship of Jeremiah Hobia and order the MCN Election Board to remove him from the list of certified and eligible National Council candidates.

The court documents filed by MCN Attorney General Kevin Dellinger state that Hobia is ineligible to be a Muscogee (Creek) citizen or hold MCN office due to his citizenship enrollment with the Kialegee Tribal Town. It also states that Hobia is the KTT town king.

At the end of the hearing, MCN District Court Judge Greg Bigler requested an order be presented to the MCN Citizenship Board to verify if Hobia is enrolled as a Musocgee (Creek) citizen.

Just before the order, MCN Election Board and Citizenship Board counsel Roger Wiley said that Hobia has the right to 30 days notice regarding potential disenrollment per MCN Code.

In order to expedite the process in lieu of mailing absentee ballots, Bigler asked Hobia if waiving the 30-day requirement was OK with him, which he confirmed.

Mvskoke Media sent an inquiry the afternoon of Aug. 17 to the MCN District Court requesting any updated case information and the hearing transcript.

*Update 1:56 p.m. Aug. 15- The Election Board contacted Mvskoke Media and stated Roger Wylie is the attorney representing their office. Mvskoke Media contacted Wiley Aug. 15. He verified he is representing the Election Board and the Citizenship Board in this case. He declined to comment at this time. The story has been updated to reflect this.

Jessica McBride/Managing Editor

Case could decide if tribal town dual enrollment permissible

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Office of the Attorney General petitioned the MCN District Court Aug. 10 to order the MCN Citizenship Board to revoke the citizenship of Jeremiah Hobia and order the MCN Election Board to remove him from the list of certified and eligible National Council candidates.

The court documents filed by MCN Attorney General Kevin Dellinger state that Hobia is ineligible to be a Muscogee (Creek) citizen or hold MCN office due to his citizenship enrollment with the Kialegee Tribal Town. It also states that Hobia is the KTT town king.

The petition states, ‘Hobia either willfully failed to notify the MCN Citizenship Board when he became a member of the Kialegee Tribal Town or defrauded the Citizenship Board when he enrolled as a citizen with the MCN. All persons applying for citizenship with the MCN are required to sign a NO DUAL ENROLLMENT oath affirming that he/she will not dually enroll with another tribe.’

View the court documents.

Mvskoke Media reached out to the Citizenship Board Aug. 10 and did not receive a response as of publication.

The Election Board contacted Mvskoke Media and stated Roger Wylie is the attorney representing their office. Mvskoke Media contacted Wylie Aug. 15. He verified he is representing the Election Board and the Citizenship Board in this case. He declined to comment at this time.

Dellinger gave a written statement regarding the petition, stating, ‘It is the policy of the Office of the Attorney General to not comment on pending litigation.’

Mvskoke Media reached out to Hobia Aug. 11 and did not receive a response as of publication.

The petition is signed as received by Nelson Harjo of the Election Board and Dr. Hughes of the Citizenship Board. As of Aug. 14, there was not a listing for Hughes on Citizenship’s portion of the MCN website.

Hobia filed to run for MCN National Council Tukvpvtce District Seat B during the candidate filing July 17-19.

The petition states that because he is unable to be a Muscogee (Creek) citizen, he is therefore unable to run for or hold office.

It is unclear how many current Council representatives, 2017 candidates, elected officials or Muscogee (Creek) citizens are also enrolled in one of the federally recognized tribal towns.

According to the Federal Register website, the KTT is a federally recognized tribe, as well as Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town and Thlopthlocco Tribal Town.

The MCN Constitution states in Article II, Section 5, ‘This Constitution shall not in any way abolish the rights and privileges of persons of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation or organize tribal towns or recognize its Muscogee (Creek) traditions.’

In Article II, Section 2 states, ‘Persons eligible for citizenship in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation shall consist of Muscogee (Creek) Indians by blood whose names appear on the final rolls as provided by the Act of April 26, 1906 (32 Stat. 137), and persons who are lineal descendants of those Muscogee (Creek) Indians by blood whose names appear on the final rolls as provided by the act of April 26, 1906 (34 Stat. 137); (except that an enrolled member of another Indian tribe, nation, band, or pueblo shall not be eligible for citizenship in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.)’

The petition states that the Office of the Attorney General, ‘orally advised the Election Board that Hobia is not entitled to be certified as an eligible candidate,’ July 24, and later that day the Election Board certified him as a candidate.

It states the OAG issued an opinion Aug. 1 on the issue. According to the opinion paperwork available as Exhibit B in the petition, the opinion was sent to Principal Chief James Floyd, National Council Speaker Lucian Tiger and Election Office Manager Nelson Harjo Jr., as well as the National Council and the Election Board.

The opinion states it was issued in response to a request from Harjo regarding if a tribal town elected official was eligible for MCN office.

It states that a portion of MCN Code Annotated is in conflict with the Constitution.

MCNCA Title 7, Section 1-103 states, ‘…enrolled member of another Indian tribe, Nation, Band, or Pueblo shall not mean any person enrolled in a Tribal town of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation…’

The opinion states that because of the conflict, the Constitution is the supreme law and that any exception for tribal town citizenship must be in the Constitution.

Exhibit C of the petition is an oath individuals are required to sign stating dual enrollment is not allowed.

The oath states, ‘… as a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, hereby swear (or affirm) that, I am not enrolled and will not enroll as a citizen of any other federally recognized Indian Tribe, Nation Band Pueblo, Rancheria, or Alaska Native Village, or any other federally recognized Indian entity (except a tribal town of the Muscogee Nation), without first resigning my enrollment in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation…’

Along with the petition, Dellinger requested an expedited hearing that was set for Aug. 17. Mvskoke Media will provide coverage of the hearing.

The MCN Primary Election is scheduled for Sept. 16.

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  • Rob Trepp
    August 15, 2017, 4:02 pm

    Each of us is born into one of 47 tribal towns by blood. My being a citizen of Loca’pokv and the Nation is no different than my being a citizen of Oklahoma and the USA. Article II Section 5 comes earlier in the 1979 Constitution and governs what comes after it.

    The Election Code is correct. This is our history and culture. This is who we are.

    REPLY
    • Rob Trepp@Rob Trepp
      August 15, 2017, 6:34 pm

      Please note the word "other" each time it is used. No Mvskoke of a different town is "other".

      Before 1898, all rolls were tribal rolls. Voting, 1890 and 1895 payments, allotments before removal — all tribal government documents arrange by tribal town. The Dawes Roll was a federal roll, and every enrolled person was listed by town — including Freedmen.

      Religious freedom was tribal common law after the civil war. We had no social conflict** then.

      Each town has its own history, sometimes marks on the map, long relationships with other towns described as Mother, Daughter, and Sister. Why strip away the identities future generations are owed. Sovereignty is the right of a people with a distinct culture. No one else has "tribal town by blood" other than us. It is a unique political structure. Morris Opler said they were the oldest polities in North America because they [we!!] were first to be more powerful than clans.

      After deSoto’s invasion, these towns formed our confederacy. The USA punched that system down, not us.

      ** Full disclosure: Great-grandad faced charges for running his horse through a camp revival. His parents were church people.

      REPLY
      • Charles Ferguson@Rob Trepp
        September 2, 2017, 2:15 pm

        Seems you purposely left off your post a great amount of our tribal nation history. As we attend our nation’s college at CMN we begin to see and learn that what we were taught at a young age regarding our nation, at times is factually incorrect. Our nation’s constitution supercedes any statutory language of our judicial branch of our government. If there is conflict we have to source our Constitution to alleviate the conflict. One must remember that it is through our constitution that our judicial system came into existence. The judicial branch does not write the laws, they merely interpret our Constitution as it was written.

        REPLY