Brantley Blue, 53, an administrative law judge for the Department of Labor and the only Indian to serve as a commissioner on the old Indian Claims Commission, died Thursday at his Arlington home after a heart attack.
The Indian Claims Commission was established in 1946 to hear and determine claims against the United States on behalf of any Indian tribe, band, or identifiable group of American Indians living in this country.
Mr. Blue, a Republican, was appointed a commissioner in 1969 by former president Richard M. Nixon after Nixon withdrew former president Lyndon B. Johnson's nominee, former Maryland governor Theodore R. McKeldin, to fulfill a campaign promise to name an Indian to the commission.
Mr. Blue served as one of four commissioners until the commission expired last October. He then was a special counsel to Native American Consultants Inc. in Washington before being named an administrative law judge for the Labor Department in April.
He was born in Pembroke, N.C. The Lumbee Indians, although never organized as a tribe, have lived in Robeson County, N.C. for hundreds of years.
Mr. Blue was the first Lumbee Indian to become a lawyer, having earned his law degree in 1946 from Pembroke State College in North Carolina. In 1949, he earned a doctoral degree in law from the old Cumberland University School of Law in Lebanon, Tenn., now part of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.
He practiced law in Kingsport, Tenn., for 20 years and was Kingsport city judge from 1955 to 1959. He also was a past president of the Kingsport Bar Association.
A vice chairman of the American Indian Tribal Leaders' Conference on Scouting and a member of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Mr. Blue was awarded scouting's Whitney M. Young Jr. award for "his diligent advocacy of the right of Indian youth to enjoy the benefits of scouting..."
He served in the Navy in Europe and in the Pacific theater during World War II.
Mr. Blue was a former Sunday school teacher and a member of Fairfax Baptist Church.
Survivors include his wife, the former Dorothy Milam, and a daughter, Patricia, both of the home in Arlington; another daughter, Janet Batchelor, of Jacksonville, N.C., five sisters, Kitty Sanderson, of Bryson City, N.C., Rena Mae Cochran, of Madison, Fla., Gola Lowry, of Gaston, N.C., Bernice Lowry, of Towson, and Alicia Wise, of Pembroke; three brothers, Adolph, of Pembroke, Don, of Baltimore, and Carl L., of Kingsport, and two granddaughters.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Brantley Blue Scholarship Fund, 2111 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Arlington, 22202. CAPTION: Picture, BRANTLEY BLUE