Community , Legal

Dates set for Nation’s first jury trial in Osage Nation vs. Reta Marie Lintner

The dates are set for the Osage Nation’s first jury trial and the case is Osage Nation vs. Reta Marie Lintner, a question of whether Lintner is a lineal descendant of an original Osage allottee.

Associate Judge Lee Stout is presiding over the case and set the trial date for the week of Sept. 23-27 to begin each day at 9:30 a.m. Legal counsel for Linter, attorney Brad Hilton of the Skiatook-based Hilton Law Office, said he would need at least five days to present the case to the six-member jury. 

“I’m anxious to see how this turns out, how each side presents their story,” Stout said. “Glad to see we’re making some progress.”

Stout said the court will use Oklahoma Jury Instructions for its procedures and the court staff is also developing internal court procedures for the jury trial as well.

According to Osage law, “Juries, except for cases prosecuted under special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction, shall consist of six Osage Nation members who reside within Osage County, Oklahoma. The Court may, in its discretion, appoint one alternate juror. A verdict may be reached in either a civil or criminal case by the affirmative vote of four of the six jurors.”

Osage claims

Lintner, 70, claims she is a lineal descendant of Paschal F. Canville, an Osage original allottee. She claims that Canville, born in 1851, was married to Elizabeth Means and together they had two children, a son named Josiah and a daughter named Lola Clementine Canville Clawson in 1888. Lola married Roy Brown and became Lola Brown, Lintner’s grandmother. Lintner’s legal team has provided affidavits affirming the claims. The affidavits are more than 100 years old and one is from Canville himself.

Prior to 2006, Means, Brown, Lintner and her family members were unsuccessful at obtaining Osage membership from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the federal agency who issued Certificate Degrees of Indian Blood, or CDIB cards. The first application was filed by Means in 1907, according to court documents. Additional applications were filed throughout the decades, but it wasn’t until after the new form of Osage government changed the membership requirement from heirship to lineal descent, were they finally successful.

Heirship is the legal right to an inheritance of a deceased individual’s estate, such as a headright share of the Osage mineral estate. Heirship and ownership of a headright share were used to determine the membership of the Osage Nation prior to 2006. Lineal descent is the proof that an individual is a direct line from an ancestor, such as a child, grandchild, great-grandchild and so on.

In 2016 an Osage Membership Office employee discovered discrepancies in Lintner’s file that led them to believe Lintner was not Osage. The ON Attorney General filed petitions for removal against Lintner and 60 other individuals.

If the jury's verdict finds that Lintner is not a lineal descendant of Canville, she and her relatives could be ordered to repay any Osage Nation financial benefits received while enrolled with the tribe.