The descendants of original Osage allottee Paschal F. Canville have refused to submit to a non-invasive DNA test ordered in the case Osage Nation vs. Reta Marie Lintner.
ON First Assistant Attorney General Clint Patterson said in ON Trial Court on July 12 that he reached out to several of Canville’s descendants, who are all registered Osage tribal members, and one of the descendants told him “they’re not giving their DNA to anybody.” In April, Patterson said in court that he spoke to one of the descendants by phone and they had agreed to the DNA testing.
Lintner is one of 60 individuals whose tribal enrollment is being challenged. Lintner and members of her family claim they are the descendants of an alleged illegitimate daughter of Canville, Lola C. Brown, and they should be on the Osage Nation Membership roll.
Legal counsel for Lintner, Brad Hilton of the Hilton Law Office in Skiatook, said that she is agreeable to settling the case by mediation if the DNA testing cannot be conducted. Patterson said the Nation would be agreeable to a settlement.
If Lintner is found not to be a legitimate tribal member, she and her relatives could be compelled to pay back all Osage Nation monetary benefits received while they were members on the tribal roll. Those benefits could include ON Higher Education Scholarship money, ON Health Benefit Card money, JOM money, Financial Services crisis assistance money and other such monetary programs the Nation offers. Lintner was enrolled in 2013.
ON Trial Court Associate Judge Lee Stout said he wanted to exhaust all avenues before mediation and ordered Patterson to send a Writ to order the descendants of Canville to submit their DNA samples to Bio-Gene DNA Testing, LLC, the facility chosen by the Nation to conduct the tests. Patterson said the DNA samples are conducted by mouth swab and are not blood samples.
“We’re venturing into uncharted oceans in this case,” Stout said. “Let’s exhaust all avenues … I really hope we can bring a resolution to this case. We’ll settle a 100-year-old mystery if we do. Let’s do it if we can.”
Osage tribal memberships came into question after a former Membership Department employee was caught falsifying records to enroll her adopted children and her sister’s adopted children in 2015. After her departure, an investigation ensued into the membership records during her tenure. After the investigation was completed, those individuals who could not be verified were served with petitions for removal. Seven individuals have voluntarily relinquished their memberships and the memberships of their children.
To qualify for Osage tribal membership a person must prove they are of lineal descent from an original allottee from the 1906 Osage Allotment Act. Birth certificates, death certificates, and paternity tests are normally used to prove one is of lineal descent.
The next court date is scheduled for Oct. 4 in the ON Trial Court, at 1:30 p.m.