The minutes from the London Yearly Meeting
(of the Society of Friends) includes, about war tax resistance, only this
brief note (from ):
In relation to the advices on War, Richard Brockbank mentioned that two
members had refused to pay the
1½d. income tax imposed to meet
the Egyptian war expenses. It would be well if the whole Society had done so.
White Americans living in Muscogee (Creek) territory before Oklahoma became a
state in 1907 resisted paying taxes to the Creek Nation government, hoping the
federal government would back them up if push came to shove.
Commercial Club of Tulsa and Muakogee Raise Fund to Make Test.
People to Resist Removal
Writs of Injunction Against Indian Police to Be Asked For — It is
Collectible on .
. — The Commercial Club of
this city has raised a fund of $200 to go into a common fund raised over the
Territory, which will be used in resisting the collection of the Creek Nation
tribal tax, imposed by the Creek Nation Counoil, when the nation was under
control of that body. The tax has not been collected for three years, pending
a decision in the courts and since the decision was adverse to the white
people, the first payment becomes due .
It has been practically decided not to pay the tax without resistance, and
plans to escape the assessments have been made. Congress recently passed an
act that provides no United States Court or official has authority to enforce
a law passed by an Indian council. The punishment for refusing to pay the tax
is removal from the nation, and the plan is to resist removal by asking writs
of injunction against the Indian police, which will delay matters until such
a time as a decision can be had from the Supreme Court of the United States,
and later from the President, in case the court’s decision is adverse to the
position the people [sic] have taken.
. — At a meeting of business
men here last night a resolution was adopted pledging every man present to
resist the payment of the Creek tribal tax. Over six hundred of the leading
business men of the city were present, and not only did they declare against
paying the tribal tax, but subscribed liberally to the fund being raised to
defray the expenses of the case now pending in the United States Supreme
Court. They are confident of winning this case and will send a committee of
five with attorneys in the case to Washington to appeal to the Secretary to
defer collection of the tax which under a ruling of the Secretary of the
Interior, must be paid tomorrow under penalty of closing every man’s place of
business who refuses. If Secretary Hitchcock refuses the committee will
appeal to President Roosevelt.
There is no penalty for refusing to pay, as it has been decided that no one
can be ejected from the Territory who refuse to comply with the ruling of the
Secretary, and an act of Congress prohibits the judiciary from enforcing a
tribal law. This is an absolute law of the Creek tribe which Indians have
never sought to have enforced, and the business men of the entire Creek
Nation have passed resolutions refusing to pay it.
The day after the taxes came due, the tribal government shut down businesses
that refused to pay. Muskogee police, allied with the businesses, had the
tribal police chief and his officers arrested, but the charges didn’t stick.
The tax stayed on the books and continued to be enforced through
, after which it was abolished (along with
the independence of the tribal governments) in
the “Five Civilized Tribes” Act of 1906
by the U.S.