Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Study Of How Congress Is Manipulated: Conclusion

You might be releasing a sigh of relief that the forgoing comments on S. 514 and it’s companion H.R. 2028 are now completed. However, the posts were important and necessary to give a complete example of the horrendous actions that are taking place in Congress which ultimately add to the destruction of the American Indian.

The misleading statements in the bills also give an indication of how thoroughly organizations such as the Muscogee Nation of Florida can fool individuals and governments into believing that the group is a legitimate historical Indian entity, drawing hundreds into their grasp. The revisionist history created steals the proud history of American Indians everywhere. Not least, such claims made by organizations like the Muscogee Nation cause millions of dollars to be diverted annually from governmental programs designed to provide services to legitimate tribes and Indians nationwide.

House Rules that are established at the beginning of each Congressional session usually require House members to read the Constitution and be able to cite the specific constitutional powers justifying legislation submitted to the full House. The introduction of H.R. 2028 makes it more than apparent that this is not done. It’s understandable that the Florida sponsors and co-sponsors of both bills wish to support their constituents. However, it’s inexcusable that they should do so without adequate research.

House committees have cited Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 (Commerce Clause) and Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 (Treaties) as their source of power to legislate over the American Indian. In reality, the Constitution gives absolutely no power to the House to become involved in Indian affairs. Zilch. This power is given solely to the President, with a Senatorial role of advising the President and voting on a treaty - including recognition of tribes. The only exception to this should be in the appropriation of funding.


The claims of authority for Congress to create tribes under the Commerce Clause, Treaty Clause, the Plenary Power Doctrine or any other non-enumerated powers are illusions that are made and defended by the government to support it’s long term strategy to solve the “Indian Problem”. These illusions, like the preverbal monster in the closet, become real only if they are accepted as such.
Because the Plenary Power concept is so all pervasive in everything that Congress does, and affects every segment of society, the perfect opportunity exists for groups to join together and expose it for what it is. The illusion needs to be dissipated and Congress should get back to following the Constitution.


Meanwhile, inventing recognized tribes where no tribe existed before has to cease. This is an usurped power that Congress does not have. Congress should be limited to the recognition of tribes that have been terminated, such as the Delaware in Oklahoma, or tribes that had treaties that were never ratified, such as the Gabrielino-Tongva in California or the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa in Montana (not to be confused with Delorme’s infamous Little Shell Pembina group in South Dakota).

To be realistic, Congress will never relinquish any power that has usurped. This leaves us with the only recourse of educating Congressional members about the lies and fallacies contained in many bills introduced before them. This includes a discourse with members of the Senate Committee of Indian Affairs. The invitation and acceptance of the testimony by the chairwoman of the Muscogee Nation in the September 2007 hearing is a prime example of how easily the Committee can be fooled.

This leaves us with two choices. We can either sit back and just hand everything over to the pretend Indians - thereby self-terminating our existence and ending the age old “Indian Problem” - or start putting the pressure on our elected officials to learn more about organizations introduced for federal recognition before creating a tribe out of thin air. We need to become the proverbial “squeaky wheel”.

At this time, S. 514 is in the Committee on Indian Affairs for consideration. H.R. 2028 is in the House Committee on Natural Resources. My personal experience has been, sadly, that members of the Senate Committee of Indian Affairs are not interested in receiving any input from a person unless that person is a member of their congressional district. I’m asking those among you who share my concerns and have members of the Committee who represent their district to please contact your senator about the fallacies contained in the attempt by the Muscogee Nation of Florida to become federally recognized. Those of you have members of the House Committee on Natural Resources representing your district, please contact them also.

You may use information provided in my comments in any correspondence you might have. Neither bill can be allowed to pass out of the respective committee.


Monday, April 28, 2008

A Study Of How Congress Is Manipulated: Chapter 7

Continuing comments addressing Section 2 of S.514 AND H.R. 2028

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (10) (D) maintained a ceremonial area on Bruce Creek that was attended until the late 1920s;

Comment:

The Walton County Historical Society was unable to identify such a ceremonial ground. It would be unusual for a Tribe or Band to abandon a ceremonial ground for other reasons than a death at the ground or the movement of the complete group a large distance away from the area. In the case of a death, the grounds are sometimes shifted only a short distance. Tribes commonly maintain their original ceremonial grounds even if tribal members move far away. It’s not uncommon for tribal members who have moved many states away from a Tribal location to return to those grounds for tribal ceremonies.

If Bruce has been the center of the Muscogee Nation for 150 years, why was the ceremonial ground moved over three hundred miles away (see following)?

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (11) the ceremonial area of the Nation, as in existence on the date of enactment of this Act--
(A) is located in the community of Blountstown, Florida, 1 of the reservations referred to in the Apalachicola Treaty of October 11, 1832; and


Comment:

This is a weak and misleading attempt to link the Muscogee Nation with the reservation at Blountstown.

This reservation was a four square mile reserve that was awarded to John Blunt (Lafarka) under the 1823 Treaty of Moultrie Creek for his services to the U.S. Government in the Creek War of 1813-14, then as a guide for General Andrew Jackson during his invasion of Florida in 1818. This invasion resulted in the purchase of Florida from Spain. Five other Indians loyal to the U.S. also received similar reserves in Middle Florida under the same treaty.

The October 11, 1832 treaty provided for the surrender of their reservations and an indemnification of $13,000, with $3,000 in cash and the remainder $10,000 once they started their movement. Chiefs Blunt (Blount) and Davy were to continue to draw their $5,000 annuity payment as long as they were in the Territory of Florida, with a proportional final amount paid when they removed. The Indian parties involved were also presented with the opportunity to patent the land, but if they did so they would come under the laws of the territory.

Blount and his band removed from Florida in the spring of 1834 after selling the land to the U.S. government and they settled on the Trinity River in Texas - where Blount became a wealthy cotton planter.

The distance between Blountsville and Bruce is approximately 326 miles. Yet the headquarters of the Muscogee Nation of Florida is given as being at Bruce. While tribal ceremonial grounds are commonly removed a relatively short distance from a tribal headquarters for privacy purposes, this appears to be an excessive distance and is most likely based on the powwows originally being conducted there.

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (11) (B) is the site of continuing ceremonies, such as Green Corn, and traditional events;

Comment:

The group, as the Eastern Creeks, originated their “ceremonies” as powwows. Powwows are public intertribal dances and are not traditional ceremonial events. It should be noted that Dr. Andrew Boggs Ramsey has held both the “Tribal Chairman” position and the “Ceremonial Chief” positions. Yet, tribal ceremonial activities and the regular day-to-day business activities mix together like oil and water. In other words, the two are completely separate in every way. They do not mix freely by the switching from one side to the other.

In a December 12, 1979 letter to Mrs. Alice Grady of the old Boggs Newsletter, Dr. Ramsey claimed to be Cherokee. One of the documents he listed to support his statement was a 1851 Tahlequah (Oklahoma) District Payment of $278.49 to a Polly Boggs Tarsequanyshkee. It’s more than apparent that Dr. Ramsey, as have many others trying to prove an Indian ancestry, merely has gone window shopping for any American Indian with the Boggs name.

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (12) local governments have recognized the community of Bruce as the center of tribal government of the Nation; and

Comment:

This recognition is fairly recent and has no historical precedence. Such recognition is usually at the request of organizations such as the Eastern Creek Nation/Muscogee Nation of Florida and provides communities with potential added income through federal monies and tourism. Most communities, unless they are located in an area with a tribe that has a known historical presence there, have no experience in determining the validity of claims such as made by the Muscogee Nation of Florida.

That the local governments and organizations have no actual knowledge of the Eastern Creek Nation/Muscogee Nation of Florida as a historical tribe in the area is supported by their inability to identify, through correspondence or by telephone, the locations and/or history of the school, church, cemetery, and ceremonial grounds claimed in this resolution as being founded, maintained, or otherwise used by the Muscogee Nation of Florida. This is especially true if even the Walton County Historical Society was not able to identify these items.

If anything, community recognition of the Muscogee Nation of Florida indicates the shrewd publicity campaign conducted by the organization to invent itself as a historical tribe over the past 20 or so years. Similar recognition to recently founded organizations claiming to be tribes has been given by communities in other states.

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (13) during the 30-year period preceding the date of enactment of this Act, the Nation has received Federal, State, and local grants, and entered into contracts, to provide services and benefits to members of the Nation.

Comment:

The “30” year period is given because this encompasses the complete period of the history of this “tribe“, including time spent as part of previous groups attempting to be federally recognized. The majority of grants received were no different than what any other organization is eligible for.

A Manpower Training Grant for $75,000 was received in 1976, which was used as a recruiting tool. Advertisements paid for by this grant read “ If you do not need job training but would like to sign up as a descendant of the American Indian….”

A Vista “mini-grant” was received in 1976, but was withdrawn in 1977. A grant for $85,000 was received in 1976 from the United Southeastern Tribes organization, but was withdrawn the following year after it was discovered that the funds were being misspent.

The group received $30,000 to support “several job fairs to bring employers and Native Americans with disabilities who are seeking jobs together“.

The group has also received grant monies from the Administration for American Indians (ANA), which has a long past history of funding anyone who merely says they are Indian. The Department of Agriculture has admitted to granting Indian program funds to anyone who self-identifies as American Indian. The Office of Indian Education provides Title VII grants to schools with no Indian students. Virtually every single similar group calling itself an American Indian “tribe” has received Federal grants for one contrived reason or another. Such grants do not necessarily mean that the receiving organization is American Indian or is recognized as a “tribe“. These grants are, however, symptomatic of a broken and wasteful system.

To be continued.

A Study Of How Congress Is Manipulated: Chapter 6

Continuing comments addressing Section 2 of S.514 AND H.R. 2028

Misleading Claim:


Sec. 2 (10)(B) between 1895 and 1947, maintained a school that was attended by members of the Nation;

Comment:

The school site is land partial number 20-1N-17-04000-002-0010 . The site was donated to the Bruce Women’s Club by the Walton School Board. The Bruce Women’s Club then donated the property to the Muscogee Nation of Florida. According to Walton County records, Sale Book 2733, Sale Page 4584, the deed transfer was on 8/30/2006.

The past president of the Bruce Women’s Club was Mazie (Ward) Rossell, who held major positions in the Muscogee Nation and who is the originator of much of the Nation’s “history”. The school is being used by the Muscogee Nation of Florida as it’s headquarters.

Walton County records also show donated deed transfers of two other land parcels on the same date: 7.2 acres South and adjacent to the above old school site (Parcel No. 20-1N-17-04000-037-0000) and 13.13 acres in the vicinity of Mack Bayou (Parcel No. 24-2S-21-42000-045-0010).

A description of the school appeared in numerous dated Muscogee Nation websites beginning in August of 2001. These websites are now defunct, but can be accessed through the Internet Archives Way-Back Machine. This description included: “South of the building is the stickball field where games are still played by tribal members.” It’s apparent that this description was given with the idea that no one would question it and was an attempt to establish a history of the school that does not exist. There are several problems with the statement:

1. There is no area South of the school that even remotely resembles any type of playing field. It’s all heavily treed. There is an area directly adjacent to the school on the North side that appears to be some type of field or playground.

2. The size of the area directly North to the school is inadequate for stickball. The total perimeter length is approximately 113 feet (or 38 yards), and the perimeter width is approximately 46 feet (or 15 yards). The actual area for usage as a playing area appears to be approximately 92 feet (or 32 yards ) in length and 39 feet (or 13 yards) in width.

3. Stickball, like other Indian football games, has a religious connotation and are commonly played on or adjacent to the tribal ceremonial or stomp dance grounds. It is not merely a “game”. Played to please the Creator, stickball and similar football games are usually played only twice a year, once at the beginning of the ceremonial cycle, and once at the end. It’s doubtful that any traditional tribe would be playing stickball at this location for any reason.


The church claimed by the Muscogee Nation is at the upper left. The school is to the right. Note the lack of any type of playing field to the south of the school, as was claimed by the Muscogee Nation in 2001.

NOTE: According to the Walton County records, the cemetery and school properties mentioned in the Senate and House bills were obtained by the Muscogee Nation of Florida within an eight month period prior to the introduction of these bills. Although they might have had access to these properties for a longer period through members of the organization who owned or had control over the property, it should be questioned why legal transfer was not made until the time that it occurred.
The Walton Clerk’s office states that the dates given in the Sale Books are the dates of sale or deed transfer. This question is especially important since the organization claims historical tribal use of these properties.

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (10)(C) in 1912, established a church that is recognized by the Methodist Conference as a Native American church; and

Comment:

The Bruce United Methodist (Native American Church) is located at 269 Church Rd. Bruce, Fl. 32455 859-2343. The Methodist Archives Center of the Alabama-West Florida Conference has no records on the history of the church except what was provided to them by Mazie (Ward) Rossell. Mrs. Rossell was a “Chief” of the “Choctawhatchee clan” located at Bruce, a member of the “governing council of the Eastern Creeks“, and member of the Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council.

Mrs. Rossell was also a member of the Florida Democratic Committee for over 50 years. As a member of the Florida Silver-Haired Legislature, she was able to draft her own resolutions and send them to the state’s elected officials for consideration.

The only independent record from Mrs. Rossell’s claims about the church is a list of ministers who served the church. This list starts in 1930 with H.W. Chalk. It’s possible that William Joseph Ward, founder of the church, provided services in the early years. It’s said that he had the complete Bible memorized, and many marriage ceremonies took place in the Ward’s homes. However, Mr. Ward died in 1924, which leaves a blank of approximately six years recorded in it’s ministry.

The current minister is Rev. William A. Young, who was appointed to the church in 1998. During a short telephone conversation on 21 August, 2007, he stated that he did not know anything about the history of the church. When asked if there were many Indians who attended the church, he laughed and stated: “It’s kind of ridiculous for anyone to claim to be Indian today“.

According to Mrs. Rossell, the church was supposedly given the designation “Native American Church” by the Methodist Conference in 1991. A research of Conference Journals and minutes for 1991 and 1992 was made by personnel at the Methodist Archives Center in Montgomery, Alabama. There were no records found that indicated the church was recognized as a Native American Church by the Conference during this period, as claimed. There are separate indications that the designation as a Native American Church was initiated during a Ward family reunion, and has taken on that name from common usage by the family. Heavy donations to the church by the Eastern Creek Nation/Muscogee Nation of Florida and yearly Ward family reunion activities at the church have continued to bolster the image of the church as Native American.

An April 1992 church pamphlet authored by Mrs. Rossell, which is on file, describes the dedication of the church:

“It took approximately one-and-a-half years to complete the church building, and when the date was set for dedication, William Joseph Ward (Diamond Joe) sent school children across the dirt road to the one-room school house to locate their History books to follow along as he recited the Declaration of Independence.”

Now, I ask that if the history of the Muskogee Nation is true as given by them, why would they use a document that establishes their worst enemy - the United States - as part of their church dedication?
William Joseph Ward (Diamond Joe), the Bruce Methodist Church Founder who the Muscogee Nation of Florida claims to be Creek Indian.

A farmer in Alabama, he was mustered into Company D of the Fifty-third Alabama Infantry Regiment (Alabama Partisan Rangers, Confederate) at the age of 31 on 1/1/1861. He moved to Walton County sometime after the war, appearing in the 1/1/1870 Walton County Census as a farmer on page 62, Family #406.

His entry from Alabama into CSA service , and moving to Walton County after the Civil War, is an important contrast in reality to the Ward family claims in a lined school composition book diary that: “October 1854: Our people are afraid to get together for any reason” and “October 1859: More than 150 people in this part of Florida was sent West for a bounty…we no longer say the word chief.” (BIA documentation).

A similar attempt to claim a Holmes Valley Church was made by the Eastern Creeks and Ward family, as part of the earlier Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe East of Mississippi BIA petition. This claim was unsubstantiated.
Comments to be continued.

A Study Of How Congress Is Manipulated: Chapter 5

Continuing comments addressing Section 2 of S.514 AND H.R. 2028

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (9) the community of Bruce in Walton County, Florida, has been a governing center for the Nation for more than 150 years;

Comment:
No impartial historical studies or research publications mention the Eastern Creek Nation, by that term or any other term, in Walton County. History of Walton County by John Love McKinnon, 1840- 1911; Published 1911, describes pioneer interaction with Chief Sam Story and the Uchees (Yuchi/Euchee) in several chapters. According to this record, Chief Story had a headquarters on the South bank of Bruce Creek, opposite of what later became Euchee Anna. If the Eastern Creek Nation factually had a historical presence in Walton County and Bruce, it would have been mentioned in the scholarly publications and histories of the county such as written by McKinnon.

While there might be some mixed race descendants of the Uchee remaining in Walton County, they do not equate with any existing tribe or the Eastern Creek Nation. While most modern Uchee are members of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, many do not consider themselves Creek - but of a separate ethnic group.
The U.S. 1950 census gives the only recorded identifiable Indian descendant group of individuals living in their own communities in Walton and Holmes counties at that time. These are the Dominickers, a pejorative name of given to them around 1860, supposedly from a child custody case. A tri-racial group (White, Black, Indian) of various combinations, there are five different accounts of their origins, one including Euchee Indian ancestors. They are known to have existed in the area of Walton and Holmes counties prior to the Civil War, but have since migrated over the years and become assimilated into the white communities. The 1950 federal census counted only 60 Dominickers remaining in Holmes county.

Since the directive in taking this census was to include all men, women, and children of Indian descent, this census plays an important roll in evaluating the claims of the Muscogee Nation of Florida that they were in existence in the area as a tribe for over 150 years, as Eastern Creek or by any other name.
Pupils and teacher at the Mt. Zion School in the Dominicker settlement of Holmes County, circa 1910. Holmes County is adjacent to Walton County and was included in previous attempts by members of the Muscogee Nation (as the Eastern Creeks) to gain federal recognition.

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (10) in the community of Bruce, the Nation--
(A) beginning in the early 1860s, used and maintained the Antioch Cemetery, which remains in use by members of the Nation as of the date of enactment of this Act;

Comment:

Other than the claim in this Bill, there is no historical documentation that labels this cemetery as originating with, belonging to, or being used by the Eastern Creek Nation as a burial ground. Inquiries about the origin have been unsuccessful. The common opinion is that it was started as a family cemetery.

The earliest identified graves in Antioch Cemetery date to the early 1880’s (Virginia Ward, 1882 -1882, 8c Row 7). Twenty-nine of the cemetery graves belong to the Ward family, which constitutes the largest number belonging to one family. The second largest number of identified graves belonging to one family is of the Bozeman family, with eight.

There are approximately 52 unknown graves in the cemetery. Rather than being in one vicinity or plot, they are scattered throughout the 14 rows of the cemetery among identified graves. This would mean the unlikelihood that they were all the earliest of graves or that they all belonged to older specific American Indian Creek burials.

The cemetery is land parcel number 12-1S-18-14000-001-0020. According to Walton County records, this property was donated to the Muscogee Nation of Florida on 7/10/2006. It is recorded in Sale Book 2727, Page 4198.



Antioch Cemetery, Bruce, Florida

Comments to be continued.


A Study Of How Congress Is Manipulated: Chapter 4

Continuing comments addressing Section 2 of S.514 AND H.R. 2028

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (7)(A) in 1974, the State of Florida established the Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council to manage issues relating to Creek Indians in northwest Florida;

Comment:

The Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council was not established in 1974, but in 1975. It was the Florida Governor's Council on Indian Affairs, Inc. that was established in 1974, under Governor Askew’s Executive Order #74-23.

The statute creating the NW Florida Creek Indian Council, created by House Bill 2306, took effect on 1 July, 1975 without the bill receiving the Governor’s signature. Why the Governor refused to sign the bill is open to conjecture, as he was from NW Florida and interested in Indian affairs. In 2001, the Florida Creek Indian Council in F.S. 285.19 was removed from Chapter 285 and ceased to exist. Source: State of Florida

Misleading Claim:

Sec 2 (7)(B) in 1978, the Council held an election for representatives to the tribal government known as the `Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians', which is now the Muscogee Nation of Florida;

Comment:

First of all, tribes elect their own government and council, not outside local, state, or federal agencies. Claim (3)(A) and this claim are in conflict. Claim (3)(A) states that the organization’s tribal government continued to be through traditional methods. Having tribal government representatives elected by the NW Council is not a traditional process.

The initial election was held on June 19, 1976 and centered around five groups in Pensacola who were fighting each other to be in charge of receiving federal grants. As with other similar organizations in other states, some of these “clans” were recently split from each other. The “Lower Muskogees” had split into a group called the Coweta Clan - which was said to have been dominated by it’s evangelical Baptist leaders. This split is said to have occurred because of disagreements over the scheduling of powwow dance practices. Then the Cowetas split after a bitter schism of their own that involved the management of their dance group, plus charges of favoritism in assigning dance roles and racial discrimination. Tom Crooks split from the Tuckabatchee Clan because of a quarrel with another member and formed the Coosawattie Creek clan. (Crook described his Clan as being composed of local Eagle Scouts and other non-Creeks, as well as Creek descendants.)

Bitter fighting between the groups escalated when Governor Askew announced his appointments to the eleven member Council. Pensacola 's fifth clan was established around this time by Perloca Linton. She claimed that her group would conduct the election. The Pensacola News-Journal, along with area non-Indians, joined the fray. The newspaper supported the legislature's council over Mrs. Linton's group.

Fewer that 400 people voted in the election, which was won by TV wrestling narrator Leroy Morris. Morris announced that he would head a council of representatives from seven panhandle counties-over which he will be chief. Subcouncils were also to be formed in each county will also be formed. Morris’s own Creek blood was questioned by other Clans, which claimed that Morris had
announced at a Creek powwow he emceed in the fall of 1975 that he wasn't an Indian and became an honorary tribe member at the weekend affair.

Morris then orchestrated a recruiting campaign to increase Eastern Creek members. According to Jack Bridges, a spokesperson for the Escambia County School Board, school children were even signed up by Eastern Creek leaders during class hours. Morris is reportedly to have explained this enrollment campaign by the statement: "The more people we represent the more federal funds we can qualify for."

Source: Extracts from a Tampa Times series on the Eastern Creeks and the NW Florida Creek Indian Council by Jim Seale.

A similar situation of enrolling school students and families occurred more recently by the “Lost Cherokee of Arkansas and Missouri in their scam with Arkansas School Districts to receive Office of Indian Education Title VII grants and increase their enrollment base.

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (8) in 1986, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Florida passed resolutions recognizing the Muscogee Nation of Florida as an Indian tribe;

Comment:

The 1986 resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 657) recognized Creek history and presence in Florida in general. It did not provide state recognition as a tribe to the organization.

When the Florida Tribe of Eastern Creeks attempted to establish a bingo hall in 1988 (the group had hired a Pensacola management firm to build and operate a 50,000-square-foot bingo parlor on 26 acres in south Walton County), Senator Childers inquired about the legality of the organization being a state recognized tribe. As a result, the Florida Attorney General issued Advisory Legal Opinion Number: AGO 88-18, dated May 6, 1988, which makes it perfectly clear that the 1986 resolution “does not, in my opinion, grant any additional rights to the Eastern Creek Indians but merely acknowledges their presence in Florida. Moreover, the resolution, which merely expresses the will or opinion of the Legislature does not have the force of law.”


The 1988 opinion provides the following references:

FN1 See, Black's Law Dictionary, Resolution 1474 (4th rev. ed. 1968) ("the adoption of a motion, the subject-matter of which would not properly constitute a statute; such as a mere _expression of opinion; ...a vote of thanks...."). Cf., 62 C.J.S. Municipal Corporations s. 411, stating: “A resolution has also been distinguished from an ordinance in that an ordinance is a continuing regulation, a permanent rule of conduct or government, while a resolution ordinarily is an act of a special or temporary character, not prescribing a permanent rule of government, but is merely declaratory of the will or opinion of a municipal corporation in a given matter, and in the nature of a ministerial or administrative act, and is not a law.”

FN2 658 F.2d 310 (5th Cir.1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1020 (1982).

FN3 107 S.Ct. 1083 (1987).

The State of Florida does not have any state recognized tribes. It only recognizes tribes that are Federally recognized.

A similar claim was made in the earlier BIA petition that included the “Creek Nation East”. It was asserted that The Creek Nation East was recognized as an Indian Tribe by Florida under Florida Statute F.S. 1979, Chapter 285, Indian Reservations. However, the statute actually referred to the Muscogee or Cow Creek bands of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. (F.S.: Ch 285:06(2) and Ch 285:07(1).

Note that it is common for organizations such as this to claim to be state recognized, when they are not. The URB and it’s involvement with the Lewis and Clark Mint pouches is but one example.

To be continued.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Study Of How Congress Is Manipulated: Chapter 3

The following comments address claims made for Section 2 of S. 514 and H.R. 2028, which is provided in it’s entirety in the previous post.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds that--

Comment: Findings 1 through 3 are generalities similar to the claims made in previous recognition attempts of which members of the Muscogee Nation, as Eastern Creeks in Walton and Washington counties, were party to. These claims can be dismissed in the same manner as previously done through extensive BIA studies and review of published historical and anthropological sources. See the BIA determination on this group:

Creeks East of the Mississippi 010 CEM-V001-D005 Not Acknowledged Proposed Finding Documents 1981.01.29 Recommendation and summary of evidence for proposed finding against Federal acknowledgement of the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe - East of the Mississippi, Inc. of Cairo, Georgia pursuant to 25 CFR 54.

Misleading claim:

Sec. 2 (4) members of the Nation--
(A) participated in the 1814 Treaty of Ft. Jackson and the Apalachicola Treaty of October 11, 1832; and

Comment:

This appears to be an attempt to associate the Muscogee Nation of Florida with historical treaties based on an unsubstantiated generality. It is also an attempt to define the two different Indian groups involved in the above treaties as one.

The 1814 treaty of Ft. Jackson was an agreement and capitulation concerning the Red Sticks only, and did not involve all Creeks.

The Apalachicola Treaty of October 11, 1832, was with the Apalachicola (also known as Pallachacola), who were related to the Creeks. There were actually two treaties with the Apalachicola, the second being June 18, 1833. Both of these treaties concerned the ceding of lands to the U.S..

For those who do not have an available copy of Kappler’s Volume II (Treaties, 1778-1883), the treaties can be read online at http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/

I believe that none of the treaties show a historical affiliation that can be substantiated with the Muscogee Nation of Florida’s claims.

Misleading claim:

(B) were included in the Abbott-Parsons Creek Census, dated 1832 and 1833;

Comment:

Another generality without substantial evidence. The complete census, including towns, names of heads of families, numbers of males, females, and slaves in each family can be found online at:
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~texlance/1832census/index.htm

There were additional Creek census’ taken for various purposes. The other major census was the 1843 Creek census, taken from house to house and recording the number of males and females in age groups. The copy of this census has not been microfilmed and is in the National Archives.

Misleading Claim:

Sec 2 (5) members of the Nation have established an ancestral claim to land taken from the Nation by General Andrew Jackson in the aftermath of the War of 1812 pursuant to the 1814 Treaty of Ft. Jackson;

Comment:


Another generality without substantial evidence. Individuals central to the Muscogee Nation of Florida claim as a tribe were actually fairly prosperous land owners, having purchased tracts of land from the U.S. government under the April 24, 1820 Public Lands Act during the period from 1897 to 1912. Documents showing similar land purchases by the Ward, Boggs and Ramsey families - which are heavily involved in the “history” of the Muscogee Nation - are on file.

Of particular interest are the land purchases and dates of purchase by the Ward family in Walton County, since this is the location that the Muscogee Nation claims a historical connection as the governing location for over 150 years.

William J. Ward of Walton County
Certificate No. 25394
160 acres
5th August 1897
Certificate No. 13141
160 and fifteenth hundredths acres
5th August 1897
Certificate No. 19022
159 and ninety-four hundredths acres
11 March 1905
Document No. 63089
80 acres
20 May 1909
Patent No. 255136
159 and eighty-seven hundredths acres
25 March 1912

Jessie Joseph Ward of Walton County
Certificate No. 19022
159 and ninety- four hundredths acres
11 March 1905
Certificate No. 21500
80 acres
8 May 1908

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2. (6) beginning in 1971, the Secretary of the Interior distributed to members of the Nation in 3 actions per capita payments for land claim settlements;

Comment:

The three Docket claim awards were made to approximately 7,000 individuals throughout Eastern United States. Approximately 50,000 applied and were included in the 1971 Census, most from the rolls of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma as of that year. The recipients of the award were not necessarily identical to or limited to the groups that originally petitioned.

In addition, receipt of these awards did not require a showing of continuous political existence as a community since time of removal. The awards were not given to the Eastern Creeks as a “Nation”. The BIA and the Claims Court dealt with the “Eastern Creeks” only because it presented itself as an organization claiming to represent Florida Creek descendants in matters involved in pursing these claims. The receipt of these payments does not argue the fact the recipients were part of a “tribe” or constitutes recognition of the Eastern Creek Nation as a tribe.

Members of the Ward family were included in these claims, based on documentation they provided. It should be noted that the documentation identifying them as Creek Indians has since then been shown to be a fabrication of the 1950’s. The Ward family researcher who exposed the fabricated documents is the great-great grandson of W.J. Ward. He suggests that the documents might have been forged in order to participate in the Creek claim awards. Other current members of the Muscogee Nation of Florida, such as the whole Hanks family, were rejected.

A large part of the Muscogee Nation of Florida claims originate around the Ward family in Bruce. Ward family researcher, Jerry Merritt, writes:

“The Ward Record 1840 was donated to the Washington County, Florida Public Library in Dec 1978 and from there a copy found its way into the Special Records Collection at the Pace Library at the University of West Florida. The copy was subsequently “discovered” there and published in the S.E.N.A. (Southeastern Native American) Exchange, Vol 4, Number 1 in the Fall of 1996.

This “record” is so obviously contrived that it’s difficult to even find a starting place when pointing out its shortcomings. The crafters of the Ward Record apparently had only vaguely familiarized themselves with the Ward lineage before attempting this construct and it definitely shows in the final product.”

Ron Jones is another Ward family researcher who has come up with the same conclusions as Merritt. Of the Ward family, he writes:

“All of the older researchers and family members with whom I have spoken or corresponded state that they could not remember any talk of Creek Indian lore tied to the WARD family before the 1950s. This includes both the families of James B. WARD and Elijah W. WARD. Ward papers, that I consider reliable, dated prior to 1950 do not mention the Creek Indians as ancestors. Otis Ward, a descendant of Elijah Ward, wrote paper that is a good example. It is dated ca 1959 and does not mention Creek Indians; I feel sure that he would have if he had knowledge of such lore.”

“Two so-called documents that are dated prior to 1950 will be addressed later in this summary. This is the period of time when a movement began by the Creek Tribe (of Oklahoma) to be reimbursed for the land that was taken away from them by the U. S. Government. There were rumors that those who could prove that they were Creek descendants would get a share as high as $90,000 under Docket 21. There is just no easy or nice way to state it: the motivation for many researchers was money. This phenomenon was not unique to the Creek Tribe or to the WARD family as a similar process occurred with other Tribes and families. It is only fair to point out that there were a few researchers during this time period who were motivated only by a desire to learn their family history, but their efforts were overshadowed by those in quest of the money. Some of those who started out for all the wrong reasons did not like the charade that evolved and tried to distance themselves from it.”

“I accepted most of the lore in the WARD family in 1985. After a few years I started asking questions for which there were no credible answers. I found it necessary to research it for myself and the bottom line is that there are numerous fallacies in the WARD research of West Florida and South Alabama. Some of these fallacies are rather obvious; others take a little more effort to disprove. This data has found its way into a number of texts, onto the Internet, and it is widely circulated in individual genealogies: in general, it is not reliable. Some of it has even been endorsed by respected publications in which too many people are too quick to accept on their reputation alone. I am not alone in these beliefs, but I was one of the first researchers to speak out. I am no longer part of a minority as a growing number of researchers are now asking the same questions that I began asking years ago and coming to the same conclusions.”

At the conclusion of the summary of his discoveries, Jones adds:

“As this new millennium begins, I challenge each and every researcher, or interested cousin, who reads this to join me in helping to preserve a WARD heritage based on truth. Too many of us have worked too hard to watch our family history turn into a "Web of deceptions" and to leave our heirs a farce for a family history.”

Comments to be continued in the next posting ---


A Study Of How Congress Is Manipulated: Chapter 2

Here is the complete Senate bill as introduced for providing federal recognition to the Muscogee Nation of Florida. It is provided so that readers can read the bill in it’s whole context before reading my comments that are directed to specific claims. The bill is well crafted and presents a convincing case. It is easy to see how Congress, and anyone else, can be misled.

My comments in following posts will address the claims made in Section 2 - Findings. Sections 1 and 3 through 7 deal with administrative type items only. However, these other sections are important because they include the benefits the organization will receive from the federal government if recognized.


110th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 514
To extend Federal recognition to the Muscogee Nation of Florida.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
February 7, 2007
Mr. NELSON of Florida (for himself and Mr. MARTINEZ) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs
A BILL
To extend Federal recognition to the Muscogee Nation of Florida.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Muscogee Nation of Florida Federal Recognition Act'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds that--
(1) the Muscogee Nation of Florida is comprised of lineal descendants of persons who were historically part of the Creek Confederacy, which relocated from Daleville, Alabama, and other areas of southern Alabama to the State of Florida between 1812 and 1887;
(2) those Creek persons settled in the north Florida panhandle in autonomous communities (referred to in the constitution of the Muscogee Nation as `Townships'), continuing the lifestyle and traditions practiced by the historic Creek Nation of Alabama and Georgia;
(3)(A) on dissolution of the Creek Confederacy, the ancestors of current members of the Muscogee Nation of Florida relocated and reestablished home sites, traditions, ceremonial centers, tribal
government (including through the traditional appointment of tribal leaders), and tribal economy in rural areas of the State of Florida;
(B) the relocation described in subparagraph (A) did not prevent the Nation from--
(i) continuing to exercise the governing powers of the Nation;
(ii) providing services to members of the Nation; or
(iii) enjoying the communal lifestyle of the Nation; and
(C) some members of the Nation remain on original home sites of their Creek ancestors;
(4) members of the Nation--
(A) participated in the 1814 Treaty of Ft. Jackson and the Apalachicola Treaty of October 11, 1832; and
(B) were included in the Abbott-Parsons Creek Census, dated 1832 and 1833;
(5) members of the Nation have established an ancestral claim to land taken from the Nation by General Andrew Jackson in the aftermath of the War of 1812 pursuant to the 1814 Treaty of Ft. Jackson;
(6) beginning in 1971, the Secretary of the Interior distributed to members of the Nation in 3 actions per capita payments for land claim settlements;
(7)(A) in 1974, the State of Florida established the Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council to manage issues relating to Creek Indians in northwest Florida; and
(B) in 1978, the Council held an election for representatives to the tribal government known as the `Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians', which is now the Muscogee Nation of Florida;
(8) in 1986, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Florida passed resolutions recognizing the Muscogee Nation of Florida as an Indian tribe;

9) the community of Bruce in Walton County, Florida, has been a governing center for the Nation for more than 150 years;
(10) in the community of Bruce, the Nation--
(A) beginning in the early 1860s, used and maintained the Antioch Cemetery, which remains in use by members of the Nation as of the date of enactment of this Act;
(B) between 1895 and 1947, maintained a school that was attended by members of the Nation;
(C) in 1912, established a church that is recognized by the Methodist Conference as a Native American church; and
(D) maintained a ceremonial area on Bruce Creek that was attended until the late 1920s;
(11) the ceremonial area of the Nation, as in existence on the date of enactment of this Act--
(A) is located in the community of Blountstown, Florida, 1 of the reservations referred to in the Apalachicola Treaty of October 11, 1832; and
(B) is the site of continuing ceremonies, such as Green Corn, and traditional events;
(12) local governments have recognized the community of Bruce as the center of tribal government of the Nation; and
(13) during the 30-year period preceding the date of enactment of this Act, the Nation has received Federal, State, and local grants, and entered into contracts, to provide services and benefits to members of the Nation.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) MEMBER- The term `member' means--
(A) an individual who is an enrolled member of the Nation as of the date of enactment of this Act; and
(B) an individual who has been placed on the membership rolls of the Nation in accordance with this Act.
(2) NATION- The term `Nation' means the Muscogee Nation of Florida (formerly known as the `Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians').
(3) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior.
(4) TRIBAL COUNCIL- The term `Tribal Council' means the governing body of the Nation.
SEC. 4. FEDERAL RECOGNITION.
(a) Recognition-
(1) IN GENERAL- Federal recognition is extended to the Nation.
(2) APPLICABILITY OF LAWS- All laws (including regulations) of the United States of general applicability to Indians or nations, Indian tribes, or bands of Indians (including the Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 461 et seq.)) that are not inconsistent with this Act shall be applicable to the Nation and members.
(b) Federal Services and Benefits-
(1) IN GENERAL- On and after the date of enactment of this Act, the Nation and members shall be eligible for all services and benefits provided by the Federal Government to federally recognized Indian tribes without regard to--
(A) the existence of a reservation for the Nation; or
(B) the location of the residence of any member on or near any Indian reservation.
(2) SERVICE AREA- For the purpose of the delivery of Federal services to members, the service area of the Nation shall be considered to be--
(A) the community of Bruce in Walton County, Florida; and
(B) an area in the State of Florida in which members reside that is bordered--
(i) on the west by the Escambia River; and
(ii) on the east by the St. Marks River.
SEC. 5. CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS.
(a) In General- The constitution and bylaws of the Nation shall be the constitution and bylaws of the Tribal Council dated January 21, 2001 (including amendments), as submitted to the Secretary for approval on recognition.
(b) New Constitution and Bylaws- On receipt of a written request of the Tribal Council, the Secretary shall hold a referendum for members for the purpose of adopting a new constitution and bylaws, in accordance with section 16 of the Act of June 18, 1934 (25 U.S.C. 476).
SEC. 6. TRIBAL COUNCIL.
The Tribal Council--
(1) shall represent the Nation and members; and
(2) may--
(A) enter into any contract, grant agreement, or other agreement with any Federal department or agency;
(B) carry out or administer such programs as the Tribal Council determines to be appropriate to carry out the contracts and agreements; and
(C) designate a successor in interest pursuant to a new constitution or bylaw of the Nation adopted under section 5(b).
SEC. 7. MEMBERSHIP ROLL.
The membership roll of the Nation shall be determined in accordance with the membership criteria established by the ordinance of the Nation numbered 04-01-100 and dated February 7, 2004.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Study Of How Congress Is Manipulated: Chapter 1

I’ve provided numerous commentaries about why and how newly made “tribes” seek federal or state recognition. This is the first of a series that will address a U.S. Senate and a House bill that has been introduced to provide federal recognition to an organization in Florida that is called the “Muscogee Nation of Florida“.

Both S. 514 and H.R. 2028, “To extend Federal recognition to the Muscogee Nation of Florida“, contain misinformation and is an attempt by this group to escape the scrutiny required to determine if it is actually a tribe or not. Should the Senate pass S. 514, and the House pass the comparable H.R. 2028 (which contains the same misinformation), a great disservice and carriage of injustice will be made against legitimate tribes and American Indians.

In order to address the misinformation given in both S. 514 and H.R. 2028, comments will be made in certain paragraphs of the bills so that both the Senate and House can be aware of the deceit that is being presented to them. Both bills are identical. The sponsors and co-sponsors of these bills are most likely unaware of the misrepresentations included in the bills, and merely accepted the information given to them by the “Muscogee Nation of Florida“ in good faith. However, this does not negate the potential damage that these bills can cause.

Members of Congress who have accepted the claims of this organization, apparently without question or raise of an eyebrow include: Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL) Sponsor H.R. 2028; Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) Co-sponsor H.R. 2028; Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) Sponsor S. 514; Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) Co-sponsor S. 514.

Members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the “Indian” Committee without Indian members since Senator Campbell left the Senate, also have accepted testimony from the Muscogee Nation of Florida without question. (Hearing: On the process of federal recognition of Indian Tribes September 19, 2007).

The national media and Florida governmental entities have also fallen prey to the “Muscogee Nation of Florida“, rewriting and promoting a false revisionist history of American Indians in Florida. Perhaps the worst scenario includes the hundreds of individuals who have joined the organization under the belief that it’s claims are true.

Extensive documentation, plus dozens of images of historical documents and photographs, have been collected that disprove the Muscogee Nation of Florida claims made in the bills. Because of the limitations of space, only examples of the complete documentation will be provided in the comments. However, these examples will be more than enough to show the validity of my position.

Having filed their own petition and documentation for federal recognition in 1978, perhaps most telling of the true nature of the Muscogee Nation of Florida (formerly as the Eastern Creek Nation) is that some of the leaders and individuals involved in this organization were also involved with other groups claiming to be a Creek Indian tribe and that were petitioning the BIA for recognition during the same general period. In addition, many claims in the different petitions were similar. The other petitioning organizations were:

Creeks East of the Mississippi
Letter of Intent to Petition, Petitioner #010, 1972.02.21.
Receipt of Letter of Intent, Federal Register Notice, 1979.01.02, 44 FR 116-117.
Final Determination, Federal Register Notice, 1982.04.06, 47 FR 14783.
Not Acknowledged


Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe East of Mississippi
Letter of Intent to Petition, Petitioner #008, 1972.02.02.
Receipt of Letter of Intent, Federal Register Notice, 1979.01.02, 44 FR 116-117.
Final Determination, Federal Register Notice, 1981.10.21, 46 FR 5
Not Acknowledged


MaChis Lower Alabama Creek Indian Tribe
Letter of Intent to Petition, Petitioner #087, 1983.06.10.
Receipt of Letter of Intent, Federal Register Notice, 1983.08.18, 48 FR 37528
Final Determination, Federal Register Notice, 1988.06.23, 53 FR 23694.
Not Acknowledged


It should be noted that Walton County, Florida, played an important role in the claims of the above different organizations. For example, 26 percent of the MaChis Lower Alabama Creek Tribe was listed as living in Walton County. Walton County also plays a major role in the current Muscogee Nation’s claims.

It’s undeniable that there are residents and families in Florida that might be of Creek descent. However, a close study of Muscogee Nation of Florida will show that while it might have an enrollment of a few individuals with actual Creek ancestry to various extents, the organization is also comprised of individuals who have been solicited from disperse locations and who cannot document either a Creek genealogy or historical family ties with the group. An unbiased research will also show that there is no independent historical documentation or study that indicates the Muscogee Nation of Florida existed at all, in any form, before the 1950’s.

The Ward family of Bruce and surrounding Walton County is the primary nucleus of many claims made by the Muscogee Nation of Florida. Ward family records and documents were also included in the original attempt by the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe - East of the Mississippi, Inc., which the Muscogee Nation of Florida (as the Eastern Creek Nation) was a part of. The Ward family records and documents submitted and showing them to be Creek Indians have since been shown by the foremost Ward family genealogist and researcher, Jerry Merritt of Pensacola, to be recent 1950’s forgeries. The claims that Elizabeth Ward, wife of William B. Ward ( father of William Joseph Ward in Walton County - where the Ward Indian ancestry stories take place) was Creek Indian have also been discounted as untrue.

Fabricated genealogies are common in groups claiming to be American Indian. Unfortunately, the fabricated Ward documents have found their place in Florida record collections beginning in 1978 and continue to mislead Ward family researchers into believing that the family was Creek Indian. These same documents have been used by local Florida organizations to present a false history of their area.

The Muscogee Nation of Florida first gained the attention of a good acquaintance and I in Arkansas early in 2006. This was during efforts to ensure that legitimate American Indians were given the opportunity to participate in American Indian workshops and presentations given by the Arkansas Arts Council, National Parks, State parks, and public schools within Arkansas.

At that time, it was discovered that enrolled American Indians were completely disfranchised from these activities. Every single identified workshop or presentation was being conducted by individuals who had no legitimate tribal connection and were only self-identified as being American Indian. This activity included the selling of arts and crafts in violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, Public Law 101-644.

One of the individuals involved, Valerie Lynn Goetz of Arkansas, is a member of the Muscogee Nation of Florida. She claimed that the Muscogee Nation of Florida was a state recognized tribe. However, she was extremely unknowledgeable about the history of the group, and was still in the process of researching her own genealogy on internet genealogy boards. Ms. Goetz was very active in presenting American Indian craft workshops in both National and State Parks in Arkansas and Missouri, and is promoted as an American Indian artisan by the Arkansas Arts Council. Besides selling her crafts in Arkansas and Missouri under the guise of being American Indian, her crafts are also being sold by the Pensacola Historical Society, Inc. in Florida as being American Indian made. (Ms. Goetz, under her maiden name of Hanks, had applied as Eastern Creek for the 1971 Creek land claim awards census. She and all other family members were rejected.)

As a result of our inquiries to the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the Florida Governors Office, the Florida State Legislature Office, and the Governor’s Commission on Indian Affairs, we learned that the Muscogee Nation of Florida was not recognized by the state as a tribe - as widely claimed. The synopsis of this discovery is included as a comment under the state recognition claim made in the Senate and House bills.

A spokesperson of the federally recognized Miccosukee Tribe of Indians in Florida told me that she had never heard of the Muscogee Nation of Florida.

The comments that will be made in following posts are directed to certain paragraphs of S.514 and H.R. 2028 are introductory comments only. They are the result of a preliminary look at the claims made in the bills, which are easily identified as misleading by those who make even the smallest effort to research the organization past the story it promotes. These comments provide a stepping stone for my readers and those who are involved with the approval and passage of these bills to use for further investigation before they make a final determination whether or not the Muscogee Nation of Florida should be recognized as a legitimate historical tribe.

As with all my posts, it will be up to the reader to make up their own decisions concerning the veracity of my comments and opinions.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

In Support Of Fake Tribes

It’s amazing why real Indians continue to provide nourishment and support to known fraudulent “tribes”. In doing so, they are pounding nails into the coffin of the American Indian, assisting in the revision of American Indian history, furthering the destruction of tribal traditions, and legitimizing the victimization of those who are seeking a connection with an American Indian ancestry.

It would be hard to speculate what actually drives a certain Indian individual or group to prostitute themselves in support of pretend tribes. Is it merely for money, or perhaps an ego trip? Is it because they are unaware of the true nature of the organization they are supporting? Or, perhaps it is because these folks just plain do not care about, or consider, the damage that they strew?

Earlier this month I received a letter from an American Indian who associated with, and supported, an organization called the “Northern Cherokee of Missouri and Arkansas“. It was very apparent that he had not one inkling of an idea about the real history of the organization and was unable to tell the difference from fabricated claims and actuality. Although his case can be described as resulting from being woefully uninformed, it is nevertheless just as damaging. He might be excused for his past support of the Northern Cherokee, but any continued support after receiving factual information would be inexcusable.

A more recent example of an Indian group supporting a pretend tribe occurred on 19 April at Dardanelle, Arkansas. The Arkansas Cherokee Nation aka Chickamauga Cherokee of Arkansas held a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Riverfront Park.

The Arkansas Cherokee Nation was formed this past fall as a breakaway faction of the “Lost Cherokee of Arkansas and Missouri“. The “Lost Cherokee” is the organization that was involved in the fraudulent OIE Title VII grants to 21 Arkansas school districts that had no Indian students. Part of the manipulation of these fraudulent grants included false information being given to families of students and pressure to join the Lost Cherokee at $30 per family member. The organization also attempted to illegally charge a 5% administration fee for assisting in obtaining the grants, and also attempted to illegally remove student records from the school district and charging a maintenance fee.

The Lost Cherokee split into two factions after it came under federal investigation for it’s part in the scam. One faction is operated out of Conway, Arkansas by Cliff Bishop, the other out of Dover by Doug Maxwell. Both the Bishop and Maxwell groups claim to be the original “Lost Cherokee”.

Maxwell, the original incorporator, then went on to dissolve the original Lost Cherokee of Arkansas and Missouri and filed a new organization with the state, the “Lost Cherokee Tribal Association, Inc”, on 08/07/2006. Maxwell operates his “Lost Cherokee tribe” under the Association. Meanwhile, Bishop is believed to operate his “Lost Cherokee tribe” under the umbrella of the “Missionary Church of the Lost Cherokee Nation, which he started in 2003.

Their split resulted in several court cases between the two groups concerning their membership rolls and associated documents. Maxwell claims that Bishop took and hid the membership documents. This caused a third faction to be formed, the “Lost Cherokee Oversight Committee”, headed by Doyle Turner of Palo Cedro, California.


It was about this time that the Lost Cherokee became involved in bilking the estate of eighty-nine year old Opal Southerland Gefon, of Heber Springs, Arkansas, to a tune of almost three quarters of a million dollars. Both the Bishop and Maxwell factions fought over this money, with the Bishop faction winning.

Now, Harold Hilton, an individual who was heavily involved with the Lost Cherokee, has started his own group, “The Arkansas Cherokee Nation aka Chickamauga Cherokee of Arkansas “. This group is also in Conway and is actively soliciting other Lost Cherokee members to join them. For their 19 April ceremony, among those invited was the Manatidie Society from the Apache Tribe in Anadarko, Oklahoma.

Despite a letter written directly to Apache Tribal Chairman Alonzo Chalepah, giving information on the background of the Arkansas Cherokee Nation and asking the Tribe to reconsider any participation in the ceremony, the Manatidie Society attended with nine dancers, five singers, and seven drummers. According to the “Arkansas Cherokee Nation”, the Society “performed dances for nearly 4 hours including a special dance to honor the Arkansas Cherokee Nation Chiefs and a dance to honor all U.S. Veterans.”

As a retired Army veteran with 20 years of active service and an additional seven years with the National Guard and Reserve, I consider any dance that the Society did with the Arkansas Cherokee Nation to “honor veterans” a dishonor, not an honor. It’s a poke in the eye to legitimate Indian veterans everywhere.

Why Apache Tribe members attended the ceremonies might be an enigma, especially after the Chairman had been informed of the nature of the Arkansas Cherokee Nation. The excuse of not knowing the history behind the organization cannot be used. This can only give to the conjecture that those who attended are among the American Indians who - in the long run - don’t care a whit about the damage they do in supporting fabricated “tribes”.

The Greed Continues

This comment was one of the last made on my old site. The copy was sent to me by a previous reader who has found me again. Since the information contained in the comment is of recent nature, it is being introduced once more.

The unmitigated greed of those who misleadingly profess to be an American Indian "tribe" was demonstrated this past month in Ohio by Oliver Collins, "principal chief of the Tallige Cherokee Nation". These folks demand everything that they believe they should receive as an "Indian". After repeated warnings, the Scioto County sheriff's office raided the group's Cherokee Bingo Hall on Rt. 23 on 17 March and shut the operation down. .The raid followed the refusal of the so-called "tribe" to pay the annual $4,000 licensing fee.

While this might seem to be a high fee, the group has been taking in over a million and a half dollars per year on it's bingo games. It's earnings were the second highest among 16 bingo operations in the county.Despite the million plus earned last year, the "Tallige" claimed only $15,520 in profit. Collins explained that the bingo money has been used "to teach the community about the tribe, to foster Indian adoptions, to hold religious conferences and to sponsor dance teams." In other words, the money was used to mislead the public, stick their nose into the Indian Child Welfare Act, and promote bastardized Indian religious ceremonies.

In a different interview, Collins stated: "One-hundred percent of the proceeds of Cherokee Hall - which has games two days a week, Thursdays and Sundays - goes to charity, Collins said. "It goes to support the hall, and to help the Cherokee Nation, of which there are about 600 of us, most of us here in southern Ohio. We also have a church and retreat on 39 acres in Adams County. We help support all that."


However, one ex-member described the spending thusly: "Mostly it supported him and his family and he was sure to throw crumbs to the people." This is pretty much supported by Collins' claim that, because of the bingo being shut down, that he and his family were left with no physical means of support.

Once involved in the selling of fake Mohawk BIA cards, Collins' response to the shutting down of his "Cherokee" bingo operation was: "They are trying to assimilate us by hurting us in the pocketbook. We advance our nation, we fight for our people, and we are a religious organization. But they are still trying to kill the Indians." He further described the raid as an "invasion" on sovereign Indian territory." This is not about a bingo game," he said. "Our sovereignty rights - the rights of the Cherokee Nation, have been violated. We come under the Bureau of Indian Affairs." "We are the refugees from the Trail of Tears," he said. "My ancestors were not captured. We escaped and came here."


As an example of my past warnings about the U.S. Census and growing Indian population fueled by wannabes, Collins has previously exclaimed: We must start calling ourselves Cherokees in today's society. It is time to come out of the closet and make ourselves known to the dominant society–OUT IN PUBLIC! In 1990 when the next United States Census is taken, we must say on the forms that we are Cherokee. We must change our Race on all documents, such as, Drivers License, Social Security Number, Birth Certificates, etc." This is a common refrain found in the newly founded "tribes", with the ultimate goal of having federal Indian funds misdirected.

The "Tallige Cherokee Nation", was started in 1972 and incorporated in 1988 - the same time period that all of the other little groundhog Indians began appearing. Like some other groups, it also lies about being a "state recognized tribe".

Perhaps the most onerous activities of this group occurred in 1987, when it stuck it's nose into the reburial of forty seven Indian remains at newly built Kalanu Native American Cemetery in Scioto County. Although the remains were most likely of Shawnee Indians, the group claimed them as "our ancestors" and conducted what they called a "traditional Cherokee burial ceremony". As a part of commonalities between the different newly founded "tribes", other groups and individuals have also usurped legitimate Indians in the reburial of remains - despite current NAGPRA laws.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wannabe Seamstress Claims Work As Her Own

The unethical and fraudulent acts by those involved in newly fabricated “tribes” in order to enrich their own pockets apparently knows no bounds. Rita “Cheyenne Autumn” Chance, a member of the “Chickamauga Cherokee Tribe Indian Creek Band” of Deltona, Florida and wife of its “Chief”, Bill “Little Red Wolf” Chance, is a prime example.

The “Chickamauga Cherokee Tribe Indian Creek Band” was created as a Florida corporation on 5 September, 2000 - Document Number N00000005978. As with other similar groups, it bases it’s existence on revisionist history. The organization also has close ties with the infamous “Manataka American Indian Council” of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Mrs. Chance advertises herself as having a “reputation for creating beautifully designed and well crafted regalia has grown to such an extent that dancers from coast to coast in Canada and the United States are placing orders - Hawaiians too - Making her the Queen of Powwow regalia!” Her advertisements also claim: “Rita has a degree in fashion design and uses her special knowledge and talent for creating some of the most talked about, beautifully designed Indian regalia anywhere around.”

The problem that arises is that the regalia she advertises on her site is not regalia that she has made, but photos of regalia that she has lifted from other artisan’s sites. At least nineteen photos were identified by Janet Littlecrow as being of creations made by herself and her daughter, Christy. Janet is an excellent seamstress and regalia designer (she made my Otter Hat and Gourd Dance blanket) who operates Littlecrow Trading Post in the Red Rock, Oklahoma, Otoe-Missouria reservation. As this is being written, other legitimate Indian regalia makers are also in the process of identifying regalia used by Chance as examples of her own work.

The fraudulent use of photos by Chance depicting the creations of legitimate Indians as her own is devastating to those who depend on their work for their livelihood. Rita “Cheyenne Autumn” Chance‘s actions in doing this are reflective of her so-called “tribe’ , and similar others, in stealing everything they can from the Indian peoples.

I hope that prospective customers of this woman deeply reconsider any business that they might contemplate conducting with her.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Caddo Nation and Identity Theft

Identify theft is sub-divided into four categories. Three of those categories are financial identity theft, identity cloning and business/commercial theft. Financial identity theft is using another’s identity to obtain goods and services. Identity cloning is using another’s information to assume his or her identity in daily life. Business/commercial cloning is using another’s business name to obtain credit or advantage in business dealings.

The crime of identity theft has been increasing in the past seven years, with some estimates quoting a figure of between five and nine million individuals becoming victims every year. This is most likely an inflated number, which might be closer to between 500,000 to 700,000 yearly. No matter what the actual number is, identity theft has become a daily subject in the media.

It shouldn’t become a startling revelation to anyone that many Indian tribes and the American Indian peoples have been victims of identity theft for several decades. This started in earnest around the middle 1970’s, increased substantially in the 1980’s, and continues to rise in a crescendo today. The fight against this identity theft has been mostly left to American Indian activists scattered around the country, without tribal backing of any note.

“Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality” passed at the Lakota Summit V in 1993 was a worthy attempt at addressing the multitudes of problems caused by exploiters, wannabes, and New Agers. But it soon was attacked by a cacophony by protestors, and with lack of tribal support fell into the dust bin of history.

Taking a leap light years ahead of other tribes, in 2001 the Tribal Council of the Caddo Nation in Binger, Oklahoma, took an unprecedented and valorous step to protect the Tribe and it’s members from identity theft. The Council passed a resolution to “protect for the Caddo Nation the proprietary ownership of it’s name, it’s cultural/tribal history and to protect the Tribe from illegal or unauthorized usage or sale of any written compositions, books or products that have been derived from any association, both known or unknown, with the Caddo Nation, it’s Tribal programs or it’s Tribal membership”.

Unlike many resolutions of all kinds, the Caddo meant for their resolution to actually have teeth to help the Nation. Nor did they put the resolution on the back shelf and forget about it. These teeth were bared in November of 2007 when the Nation addressed a Louisiana state recognized “tribe” calling itself the “Adai Caddo Indians of Louisiana”.

The 7 November letter to Mr. Rufus Davis, “Chief” of the “Adai Caddo” points out “Your Louisiana state recognition is based in part in that you and your tribe believe you are also “Caddo.” The letter then continues to describe the fallacy of that claim. Davis is further warned:

“You are hereby notified by the Caddo Nation Tribal Council (representatives of the federally recognized tribal government) that you should immediately cease and desist use of the federally recognized name “Caddo” in any and all of your media communications, including, Internet websites, advertising and marketing correspondences or other communicative correspondences to further the recognition of the Adai at either state or federal levels and as such, you shall from this time forward stop using the name “Caddo” in any further correspondence in regard to the “Adai Caddo Indians of Louisiana”.

“Should you continue using the name CADDO, a federally recognized name used only by the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, we will have no choice but to pursue legal remedies to the fullest extent available to us.“

Resounding Kudos to the Caddo Nation! If other Nations and Tribes would follow suit and become as active in protecting themselves from identity theft, perhaps the continued existence of the American Indian peoples might have some chance after all.

As with other states, it should be noted that Louisiana has not one iota of criteria for recognizing an Indian tribe. Any group can become a tribe merely by passage of concurrent resolutions in the State House and Senate. No proof of Indian identity or previous existence is required. Once again, large amounts of Federal Indian monies are diverted to support newly created “Indians”.

No study of the “Adai Caddo” organization would be complete without looking at their “ Adai Caddo Indian Nation Cultural Center”, which opened in July, 2004 - complete with teepees. The “Adai Caddo artifacts” contained in the Center are just as interesting. From the appearance of these “artifacts” I suspect that Mr. Davis or some his organizational members spent more than a few dollars on junk Indian crafts on E-bay.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tennessee Senate Bill 3123 Update

Tennessee Senate Bill 3123 mentioned in the pervious post on Tennessee’s state recognition of tribes failed to pass the State & Local Government Committee vote yesterday, 15 April. Senators voting aye for the bill were Tim Burchett and Joe Haynes. Burchett was the primary sponsor of the Senate Bill. Senators voting against the bill were Steve Roller and Bo Watson. There were three Senators present who did not vote, Lowe Finney, Bill Ketron, and Mark Norris.

The failure to pass is notable since Representative Vaughn was given a lengthy period during a recess that was provided to him for defense of the Bill. Community members watching the televised session were quick to point out numerous inconstancies in his statements as they pertained to the Bill.

This effectively killed the Bill for this year, as it did not make it out of the Committee. As a result, the House version of the Bill that had been created by Representative Nathan Vaughn was taken off of the House calendar on 16 April.

Given the continued past attempts of some of the fabricated “tribes” to gain recognition by hook or crook, I doubt that it will be too long before similar bills are introduced. If nothing else, we can look forward to having the same Bills introduced next year.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Italian Politics And The American Indian

The “Lega Nord per l'Indipendenza della Padania”, short name “Lega Nord”, was founded as a federation of eight regional political parties of Northern and Central Italy in 1991. The party advocates autonomy from Rome for regions in Northern Italy, which was called “Padania“ by early geographers. Led by ex-Communist Umberto Bossi, one of the major platforms of Lega Nord is immigration policies.

According to official 2005 Italian statistics, 2,400,000 foreign residents are living in Italy. Of this number of legal foreign residents, 820,000 are Muslim. Added to this are Muslims who make up the estimated 40% of total illegal immigrants. At least one source quotes that Islam, although not officially recognized by the State, has become the second largest religion - next to Roman Catholicism. Other immigrants come from Albania, Morocco, Romania, Moldavia, and Ukraine.

The purpose of the above information is to give just a very small background. My major comment is not to endorse or refute any policy of an Italian political party. It is to address the unmitigated and detestable audacity that Lega Nord has shown in pressing it’s agenda by using American Indian history.

Lega Nord has dared to compare the current situation as they see it in Italy with the destruction of the indigenous population of North America by the violence and chicanery committed by the masses of European immigrants who rolled over the land.

Following are two examples of posters and large billboards used by the Lega Nord.




This reads “INDIANS COULDN’T STOP THE INVASION - Do you think that you are as strong as Indians are? - Do you think that you can survive on a Reservation? - VOTE FOR THE NORTHERN LEAGUE”






This billboard is from the Lega Dei Ticinesi, in the Italian portion of Switzerland.


The first day of the two day Italian election period is being held as I write this today, 13 April. Unfortunately, it is too late for American Indians to make a formal protest to the Lega Nord or Italian people about this misuse of our history. It’s not too late to let our position be known in order to hopefully prevent future travesties of this magnitude.

Any comments on the inappropriate use of American Indian history by the Lega Nord will be passed to appropriate friends in Italy so that the political party and it’s supporters are denounced for their actions. Lega Nord should be able to present their positions without the shameful exploitation of the American Indian.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Newest Tennessee State Recognition Scam

Bays Mountain in Kingsport, Tennessee, has a colorful history. The area was first colonized by European immigrants around 1750, with land patents from the King. This was 75 years after the first Europeans visited the location, and a full ten years before Daniel Boone entered the area. More families were given land grants from the American land office between 1775 and 1782, and the population of interlopers increased. Kingsport itself ( then known as Chrisatianville ) became called the “head of navigation” because of a boatyard built there. The timbers from the tall trees on the mountain were used to build the flatboats that carried European “pioneers” further West.

The following years saw a steady influx of European descendent immigrants into the Kingsport area, which displaced the existing American Indian population. A large number of Indian groups voluntarily (albeit under pressure) migrated further West in the early 1800’s to the land that became Indian Territory. Final removals were accomplished through the policies of Tennessee’s favorite son, Andrew Jackson’s policies. These policies were supported by the State’s U.S. Senator Hugh White and Representative John Bell, along with the force of the Tennessee Militia. It was clear that Tennessee had no stomach for allowing Indians on the lands claimed by the state.


Still, there were some individual Indians who remained, mostly married into the European population. They had given up their tribal affiliations and became state citizens. In this, they were no different than Europeans from other countries who became U.S. and state citizens.

A group of Kingsport businessmen began to purchase large tracts of land on Bays Mountain in 1907, with the ultimate goal of creating a dam, lake, and park. The lake was finally formed in 1916. In 1965, the City Planning Commission began to look into ways that the city owned land could be used. A three man committee was appointed on the 1st of June by Mayor Hugh Rule to study the feasibility of turning the land into a city park. A few years later, Bays Mountain Park became a reality.


Now, in 2008, a decision arises about another attraction that can be placed in the Park to draw tourism. What better attraction than an “Indian village”? To facilitate such an attraction, State Representative Nathan Vaughn of Kingsport has introduced a bill, H.B. No. 3229, for state recognition of “tribes” that can help run the village. Drafters of the bill say that recognition is needed so the folks can sell their wares as “Indian” under the Arts and Crafts Act. A similar senate bill, S.B. No. 32123, has been introduced by Tim Burchett, of Knoxville.

Taking a page from Alabama’s cookbook on how to make quick baked Indians, the bill automatically turns six known fabricated groups into state recognized “tribes”: (1) Remnant Yuchi Nation; (2) Upper Cumberland Cherokee (also known as the United Eastern Lenape Nation); (3) Chikamaka-Cherokee Band of the South Cumberland Plateau; (4) Central Band of Cherokee (also known as the Cherokee of Lawrence County); (5) Cherokee Wolf Clan; and (6) Tanasi Council of the Far Away Cherokee. These “tribes” then become the “Confederation of Tennessee Native Tribes”, and are given the power to review other newly fabricated groups and recommend them for state recognition.

Make no mistake about it, each one of the above mentioned groups can be shown as a fraudulent “tribe” with no historical background. Take the “Cherokee Wolf Clan” of Yuma, Tennessee for example. One of dozens of “Wolf Clans” nationwide, this group was first incorporated as the Cherokee Wolf Clan Universal Life Church. The 2000 U.S. Census grand total for self-identified “Native Americans” in Yuma was eight. This isn’t the first time that the “Cherokee Wolf Clan” has sought state recognition. With members using such “Indian” names as “Running Wind“, “Silver Feather”, “Rain In The Face”, and “Coyote Brother” the group attempted recognition through a state resolution in 2004. During the same year, the CWC attempted to gain recognition as a “Tribe” in several different counties. These attempts proved futile. In addition, the group snookered the Davidson County and Nashville city government to approve a resolution for the recognition of the Cherokee Wolf Clan on 6 January 2004. It was repealed five weeks later on 17 February.

The remainder of the bill lists flawed requirements for a group to become state recognized. When real Indians living in Tennessee pointed out that none of the six groups that are automatically tenured as “tribes” would meet the criteria given in the bill, Vaughn told them that the sponsors were “okay with that”. He also implied that any comments from federally recognized tribes or Indians from outside of Tennessee who actually were connected with the historical tribes that had been removed from the state were unwelcome and would not be considered. In essence, no tribe that has previously occupied a land area in Tennessee and has been removed has any right to oppose a new “tribe” taking their name and becoming recognized by the state.

Other than wanting to create “tribes” that it can control out of pretend Indians, and gaining monetary gain, how does Tennessee really view the indigenous peoples of this land? Let’s take just a short peek at a few examples. Tennessee U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander actively opposed the Akaka bill, which would allow Hawaiians to re-establish their national identity and independence - with sovereignty in par with mainland tribes. The state senate passed a bill in 2007 that prohibits state agencies from banning the Indian mascots of Tennessee schools. The State Attorney General’s Opinion No. 07-21 supporting the right of Tennessee to recognize tribes (in spite of being prohibited by the U.S. Constitution) relied completely on the malfeasance of federal agencies in their diversion of Indian grants and funds to state recognized “tribes”.

When one looks at almost every state and their recognition of fake tribes, the common denominator is to allow participation in the deeply flawed Indian Arts and Crafts Act. Remember that the Act was passed without debate on the hectic last day of the congressional session in 1990. The inclusion of state recognized “tribes” was at the demand of senators with such groups in their states. This has now become the primary justification for new state recognitions - not any historical validity of a organization. The only remedy, and perhaps one of the best oppositions, against more fake Indians being state recognized is for federally recognized Indians everywhere to work towards having the IACA amended to delete “state recognized tribes”.

The New “Cherokee Tribe” Of South Carolina

Clifton Bruce Newby Sr. and his son, Dr. Clifton Bruce Newby Jr., of Columbia, S.C., are now advertising for members to join a “new Cherokee tribe” in Midlands. The Newby’s are associated with the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois & United Tribes or of South Carolina, Inc, (aka Cherokee Indian Tribe of South Carolina or ECSIUT). ECSIUT became recognized as a “tribe” by South Carolina in 2005. In fact, all of the seven state “tribes” recognized by S.C. have received their recognition since 2004. These recognitions were given in spite of serious flaws in the different applications, including the inability to show that the groups were historically documented. The complete recognition process used by the state is based on revisionist history and unsubstantiated documentation.

The recognition process is regulated under the Commission for Minority Affairs, Chapter 130, Statutory Authority: S.C. Code Section 1-31-40(A)(10). The regulations are basically actually worthless. The Indian Affairs Commission has 120 days to investigate, review, and make a decision on any applicant for tribal recognition. An alternative is for a group to use the courts and sue the state for recognition.

It’s a coin toss if the Newby’s will be allowed to call their group a “tribe”. The existing seven “tribes”, with their flawed recognition, got away with calling their organizations a tribe prior to their recognition. Now that they have what they wanted (other than federal recognition) they don’t want any other organization to call itself a “tribe”. The recognized “tribes” are complaining that other organizations are using the term “tribe”, and don’t like it. Pressure is being put on the Senate and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to pass bill S.1125, which would monitor the designation of “tribe” by groups that file with the Secretary of State’s Office.

As with so many other states, I doubt that anyone in the South Carolina government would be able to tell the difference between a real historical tribe and fabricated one in the first place.

IACA Board Under Attack For Supporting P.L. 101-644

Originally Posted 27 March, 2008

Recently, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board has been under attack through Vermont newspapers for it’s stand in requiring artisans protected under the Act to be members of a Federal or State recognized tribe - and not individuals who self-identify as Indians and who are not members of a recognized tribe. Who are these individuals and organizations that have made the attacks?

The decade of the 1970’s started an amazing series of events that included thousands of individuals across the Eastern Coast and throughout the Southeast suddenly sticking their heads out from the underground and proclaiming to be American Indian. The whole show reminds me of little groundhogs who, instead of determining if winter will last longer, poke their heads up to see if they can be “Indian” or not.

It didn’t take long for organizers to gather up complete strangers and form Indian “bands” that “existed from time immemorial”. One such group, formed in Vermont during the mid-1970’s, called itself the St. Francis /Sokoki Band of Abenakis. It didn’t take long for the organization to add it’s name to the clogging arteeries of the BIA Federal Recognition folks.

After extensive studies of the organization, it’s claims, and it’s individuals, the BIA declined to recognize the group as a “tribe” in 2007.Besides failing four out of the seven mandatory criteria for acknowledgment, it was found that only eight individuals out of the 1,171 members could demonstrate descent from a Missisquoi Abenaki Indian Ancestor. Non of the other members could document ancestors from the Abenaki, or any other Indian tribe. All eight descended from the same person, Simon Obomsawin (originally from Canada) . In addition, these eight did not become involved with the group until the 1990’s.

As in other states and their “Cherokees”, other Vermont “tribes” and “bands” also soon began forming, most claiming to be some type of Abenaki. None of these groups can be identified as existing before 1975.

Jumping forward to 2006, Vermont passed a law to recognize individuals as Indian in attempt to surpass the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. Since the IACA requires membership in a recognized tribe, the 2006 law fell far short of what was attempted. A more recent attempt, S.369, is trying to recognize three Vermont “Abenaki bands” (the St. Francis/Sokoki, Koasek and Nulhegan), again for the expressed purpose of selling arts and crafts.

The newly proposed Vermont Senate bill is receiving opposition from some of the “bands” who feel that they will be left out of the process. Even those group included in the bill don’t like it. April Merrill, chief of the St. Francis/Sokoki Band, opposes the bill because it would require the revealing of member’s geneaology. She says that “the information could be used to discriminate against Abenaki who have fought discrimination for generations“. Perhaps the real reason might be that the BIA couldn’t find any members with Indian ancestry other than the eight mentioned above?

I’m sure that Vermont will eventually have some state recognition process so their folks can participate in selling their wares. I’m not so sure that their process will have much actual validity. As a reminder, Vermont is also one of the states that is pushing for DNA as an Indian identifier.

Another Federal inconsistency in spending funds also enters into to the picture. I’ve commented on mismanagement and the misspending of Indian funds numerous times before, but this gives you another idea how extensive the whole problem is. Jesse Larocque, a member of the St. Francis Sokoki Band of Missisquoi Abenaki (the group that miserably failed it’s federal recognition attempt), is using the receipt of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as a “master Abenaki basket maker” for ammo against the IACA Board in that he claims this makes him recognized as an Indian artisan by the federal . When contacted by the Board to cease selling his items as “Indian”, he replied: ‘’Perhaps you may want to level your guns in a different direction.'’ In addition, the fact that the St. Francis Sokoki Web site is funded by the Department of Agriculture is also used to claim that the government recognizes the group. For those readers who are unaware, the DOA is one of the top four governmental agencies that squander funds designated for American Indians.

Larocque’s claims remind me of similar past claims made by William Scott Anderson (alias Blue Otter, AKA Runningbull, AKA Strongeagle, AKA Prophecy Keeper), one of the founders of the “Amonsoquath Tribe of Cherokee“. Anderson claimed that the group was “affirmed as a sovereign nation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services“ because of Indian monies grants. The “Amosoquath” have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in “Indian” funding over the years from federal agancies to buy everything from postage stamps and paying office help to the construction of buildings. These are also the folks who started their group off by claiming to be direct descendants of Pocahontas who moved to Missouri.

Such similarities are often found between many new “tribes”, as are connections to one extent or another. In the case of the Abenaki, the group attempted to show that it existed in the early 1900’s by submitting a pocket watch to the BIA that had the inscription “Presented to Arthur Stevens May 16 1918 from the Abenkai Tribe for Faithful Work”. Whoa now, how can this be if the group claims that it was living a hidden existence and no one knew they were there? Quite a contradiction.

Easy, the watch was shown to have been a presentation piece from the Improved Order of Red Men. The IORM is a fraternal organization that date’s it’s origin back to the Boston Tea Party and was originally known as the Sons of Liberty. Native Americans were not allowed membership until 1974. The IORM had chapters all across the U.S. that were named after tribes and other Indian sounding names - including “Abenaki” chapters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. Another group that has misused the IORM to show Indian history in an area is the “Manataka American Indian Council” of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Larocque’s claims remind me of similar past claims made by William Scott Anderson (alias Blue Otter, AKA Runningbull, AKA Strongeagle, AKA Prophecy Keeper), one of the founders of the “Amonsoquath Tribe of Cherokee“. Anderson claimed that the group was “affirmed as a sovereign nation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services“ because of Indian monies grants. The “Amosoquath” have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in “Indian” funding over the years from federal agancies to buy everything from postage stamps and paying office help to the construction of buildings. These are also the folks who started their group off by claiming to be direct descendants of Pocahontas who moved to Missouri.


Now we can go from a similarity to a direct connection.Manataka is not a Native American organization, but one of the worst exploitive organizations of American Indian history and traditions. Based on “New Age” concepts of the American Indian, MAIC claims that aliens blasting crystal caves into the mountains around Hot Springs and that the Mayan goddess IxChel sleeps under one of the mountains. The Abenaki used a set of essays provided on the Manataka web site to bolster their claims. These essays, attributed to “Little Mother” and “Blue Panther, Keeper of Stories”, had absolutely no documentation as to their validity.

Indian artisans and crafts persons of Federally Recognized Tribes can start tightening up their belts some more. Vermont will eventually get it’s state recognition under way. You face more competition in the Indian arts market by individuals belong to state “tribes” without historical existence.

Last comments on this subject. The National Endowment for the Arts mission is given as “to enrich our Nation and its diverse cultural heritage by supporting works of artistic excellence, advancing learning in the arts, and strengthening the arts in communities throughout the country.” When dealing with Indian “cultural heritage”, they really don’t care if their grants and promotions go to real Indians, or not. The same is found with many different state “Arts” agencies. Perhaps the worst offender that I am aware of is the Arkansas Arts Council. Arts Councils in other states that have promoted non-Indians as Indians include Oklahoma, Missouri, and Utah.