Citing a lack of cooperation from potential DNA test subjects, the Osage Nation is moving forward with plans for a jury trial in a disenrollment lawsuit.
At a status conference Nov. 28, Assistant Attorney General Clint Patterson and defense attorney Audra Drybread confirmed that neither had made any progress in efforts to obtain additional testing samples from descendants of original allottee Paschal Canville.
The samples are needed to help determine whether Reta Lintner and 12 members of her immediate family are directly related to Canville and therefore eligible for Osage citizenship.
“I wrote letters too,” Associate Judge Lee Stout said. “I only received one phone call back and it was from someone who had already responded.
“At this point, we need to just move on.”
A petition for Lintner’s disenrollment was first filed in April 2016 after the membership department staff reviewed a file directly connected to Lintner and noticed a notation that said the person was not eligible for a CDIB.
Lintner’s family claims that they are Canville’s descendants through an illegitimate daughter, Lola Brown. As per the tribe’s membership law, a person must be a lineal descendant of at least one original allottee from the 1906 Allotment Act in order to be eligible for Osage citizenship.
Noting the membership office’s use of DNA testing in paternity cases, Judge Stout ordered the Attorney General’s office in December 2017 to collect samples from 11 of Canville’s known descendants. Although a handful provided non-invasive samples via mouth swabs, none were male. The testing facility contracted by the tribe, Bio-Gene DNA Testing, previously stated it could not complete the testing without a male participant.
If Lintner is found not to be a legitimate tribal citizen, she and her relatives could be ordered to repay any Osage Nation financial benefits received while enrolled with the tribe, such as scholarship money from the Higher Education Department, services paid for by the tribe’s Health Benefit Card or Financial Services’ crisis assistance funds.
Without enough participants from the Canville family, the attorneys agreed to move forward with the case. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 19, with Judge Stout instructing both sides to start preparing potential jury instructions. This will be the first jury trial for the Osage Nation.
“I am at a loss on how to get more cooperation,” Drybread said.