United States Court of Claims
THE CHEROKEE NATION, ET AL.
v.
THE UNITED STATES

Appeal No. 5-66, Ind. Cl. Comm. Docket No. 190 12 Ind. Cl. Comm. 570
May 12, 1967

ON APPEAL FROM THE INDIAN CLAIMS COMMISSION

Indian claims; appeal from Indian Claims Commission.-The Indian petitioners appeal from a
decision of the Indian Claims Commission (12 Ind. Cl. Comm. 570 (1963)) dismissing their
suit under the Indian Claims Commission Act, 25 U.S.C. § 70a, in which appellants had
claimed that their Treaty of July 19, 1866, 14 Stat. 799, guaranteeing former Cherokee
slaves the rights of native Cherokees, was procured by duress exerted by agents of the
United States, that the tribe acted under a unilateral mistake of fact as to the true
meaning of the treaty, that their concessions to the freedmen were made without
consideration, and that the United States dealt with them in a manner less than fair and
honorable. It is held that on the basis of the record on appeal the court concludes that
the Commission's decision is supported by substantial evidence and that the Commission
correctly applied the law to the facts of the case. The decision of the Commission is
affirmed.

Paul M. Niebell, attorney of record, for appellants. Earl Boyd Pierce, George E.
Norvell, Robert D. Hudson, and Oscar C. Essman, of counsel.
Frederick C. Ward, Jr., with whom was Assistant Attorney General Edwin L. Weisl, Jr., for
appellee. Wilma C. Martin, of counsel.

Before COWEN, Chief Judge, LARAMORE, DURFEE, DAVIS, COLLINS, SKELTON, and NICHOLS,
Judges.

PER CURIAM:

This is an appeal from a decision of the Indian Claims Commission (12 Ind. Cl. Comm. 570
(1963)) dismissing appellant's suit under Section 2 (3) and (5) of the Indian Claims
Commission Act, 25 U.S.C. § 70a, for revision of that part of the Treaty of July 19, 1866,
14 Stat. 799, which provided that former Cherokee slaves (the so-called Cherokee freedmen)
should have all the rights of native Cherokees. The claim was that (a) the Cherokee Nation
agreed to this portion of the treaty as a result of duress exerted by the agents of the
Federal Government; (b) the Nation acted under a unilateral mistake of fact as to the
meaning and reach of the treaty; (c) no proper consideration was provided by the United
States for the tribal property which flowed to the freedmen as a result of the treaty; and
(d) the dealings of the United States with the Cherokee Nation with respect to this matter
were not fair and honorable. Recovery was sought of the value of that portion of the
tribal funds and lands which had been distributed to the freedmen (as members of the
Cherokee Nation).

A trial was had. In a detailed and exhaustive opinion the Commission concluded that the
appellant had failed to prove a case upon which relief could be granted. More
specifically, the Commission determined that "the plaintiff [appellant] has failed to

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prove the 1866 treaty or its antecedent 1865 and 1866 negotiations were attended by
duress, fraud, intimidation, falsehood, or mistake. The plaintiff has failed to prove
that consideration was relevant to the pertinent portions of that treaty. The plaintiff
has failed to prove that the 1866 treaty or its antecedent 1865 and 1866 negotiations were
tainted by unfair or dishonorable dealings on the part of the defendant. The plaintiff
has failed to prove that in the allotment of tribal funds and lands there was any taking
by the defendant which would raise the issue of unconscionable consideration." [12 Ind.
Cl. Comm. at 643.]
Some two years ago when the Seminole Nation appealed a companion ruling by the Commission
involving a comparable treaty with that Nation (12 Ind. Cl. Comm. 798 (1963)), we found
that the Commission's decision was "supported by substantial evidence and that the
Commission correctly applied the law to the facts." Seminole Nation v. United States, 171
Ct. Cl. 477 (1965). We are of the same view here. The Commission's findings of fact in
this case are sustained by substantial evidence in the record as a whole, and its material
legal rulings were correct. There is no need to go over again the ground which the
Commission has so thoroughly covered in its findings and opinion. We affirm its decision
substantially for the reasons it gave.


Affirmed.

180 Ct.Cl. 181, 1967 WL 1509 (Ct.Cl.)

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