The two-year-old disenrollment case of Reta Marie Lintner will be decided by a jury trial, made up of six Osage Nation citizens.
At a pre-trial hearing on Dec. 19 at the ON Trial Court, Judge Lee Stout ordered attorneys in the case to prepare pre-trial orders. Information about witnesses, descriptions and jury instructions were discussed.
Attorney for Lintner, Brad Hilton from the Skiatook-based Hilton Law Office, asked questions about the setup of the courtroom for the trial. Since this is the Nation’s first jury trial, Stout said they will look into how to best efficiently set up the small room for a six-member jury, a witness stand, and an area for exhibits. Hilton said they would be showing a video and other media for the jury and needed a large screen for presentation.
A petition for Lintner’s disenrollment was first filed in April 2016. Lintner’s family claims they are descendants of original allottee Paschal Canville through an illegitimate daughter, Lola Brown. According to the ON membership law, a person must be a lineal descendant of an original allottee from the 1906 Allotment Act in order to be eligible for Osage citizenship.
Judge Stout ordered the Attorney General’s office in December 2017 to collect samples from 11 of Canville’s known descendants, noting the membership office’s use of DNA testing in paternity cases. 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. Attorneys agreed to move forward in the case after there weren’t enough participants from the Canville family.
Stout said he anticipates a jury trial will last three to four days. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Jan. 16 at 1:30 p.m.