Issues Affecting American Indians in Tennessee
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American Indians in Tennessee government volunteer service
TN Archaeological Advisory Council
mandated 3 Native American representatives
  • Michael Lynch, West Tennessee (2008-12)
         member, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • Pat Cummins, Middle Tennessee (2004-08)
         descendant, Cherokee
  • Mark Cantrell, Middle Tennessee (2010-14)
         unknown tribal affiliation
  •   TN Historical Commission
    mandated inclusion of person/s
    of Native American ancestry

  • Brent A. Cox (2008-2012)
    444 Cades Atwood Road
    Milan, Tennessee 38358

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    Issues Affecting American Indians in Tennessee

    Issues Affecting American Indians in Tennessee
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    October 29, 2009

    This will be the last time I will communicate with you or comment on this stinking, rotten issue.
    It has became clear that you have somehow arrived at a conclusion that I am your #1 enemy although hundreds, likely thousand of Tennesseans are against giving you something you "claim" you deserve.
    In past months, I and many others have pleaded with your chief, members and supporters to do the right thing and
    share in a public venue, your proof of legitimacy with voters and taxpayers of the state of Tennessee before the legislature blindly proceeds to grant
    something which is considered a most sacred right, Indian Recognition.

    Hereafter "we" will have the meaning of several hundred local Tri-Cities residents who adamantly oppose your opposition and have organized against you.**

    In answering this plea you have all failed miserably and returned only angry rhetoric or silence anytime any question has arisen in a public venue.
    You (your chief) have admitted in a public interview that you have enrolled non-Indian people including a Chemistry professor from Virginia
    and the Chief's own non Indian- adopted children. We questioned that as well as how many more of your members are non-Indians but recieved only silence.
    In this same public forum which was a local radio talk show, your Chief was asked if any of you or your tribe could prove it's legitimacy.
    The host asked three times and three times your chief did not answer. The host said that in his opinion, ""no answer" was the answer.
    Don't remember or believe us? Ask John Quaintance. I am sure he has audio available for that show.

    Being well versed in the history, prehistory and archaeology of this region, we have questioned your tribes claims of "fighting Spaniards on the Holston".
    That, since no Spanish artifacts have ever been found in this region, much less Saltville or on the Holston. We questioned how your tribe arived at the conclusion that
    your ancestral home was the fertile bottomland in Saltville, being that no accredited archaeologist has ever arrived at such a conclusion thru years of research which would include comparative studies of artifacts and pottery from known Yuchian pre-historic sites which do exist much, much futher south.
    This work has simply not been done and to arrive at that conclusion by "claiming it" as fact does not make it so.
    If this were true, we also questioned why, if your ancestral homeland is in Virginia why then are you seeking recognition in Tennessee?
    We also questioned how your tribe arrived at the conclusion that any one of you were somehow connected to a common ancestor some 800 years ago(your claim) which lived on the rivers of the Holston watershed.
    We asked for legitimate , documented proof of anything you claim in local papers, we recieved nothing from you except angry responses or silence.
    We also questioned your blood quantum if somehow your story were true. If true, we asked what microscopic part of you would remain after 800 years to be Yuchian by birthright and absolutely having to mix with the caucasian population.
    We have asked where were your people "hiding" during the bloody years of the Chickamauga wars when this very region ran red with blood from whites and Cherokees alike. A native, any native caught in this area would have not survived long enough to dig his own grave, much less an entire "tribe".
    We have questioned where you were hiding when Boone, and other noted early travellers scoured this region? Unfortunately, true history has no mention of you?
    We asked why there is no mention of you in any history books, no mention in local lore or legend and why if we can ask anyone from 10 to 100 years old if they ever heard of your tribe living here amongst us, why is the answer always "who??"
    We had questions when members of your own tribe which walked away or you "booted out" have stated plainly to us that only one person in your tribe "might be" a decendant of a Yuchi ancestor but cannot prove it. We waited a long time for you to dispute this statement by one of your own yet, you have remained silent.
    We questioned how a tribe which has existed only since 2007 could qualify for anything, much less state recognition.
    I even wrote your chief and asked him to sit with me, man to man and in peace. I asked him to show me your proof of legitimacy so that I would understand. I promised him if he convinced me, I would drop my personal opposition . Why did he not answer me? Why have none of you responded with anything but anger when we ask straightforeward questions that as Tennessee voters, we deserve to know?
    What have you got to hide if you are truly legitimate?
    IS ANY OF THIS MISLEADING? MISINFORMATION? MALICIOUS? REALLY? Most consider them valid questions that have yet to be answered IN PUBLIC.

    These are but a small sample of the questions we have been asking you at every opportunity. These are questions we are all asking you in a loud resounding voice, not misinformation, not lies , rhetoric or misleading. They are questons that voters in this state should hear an answer to. If this is somehow hurting your chance of recognition, maybe you should start answering some of these and stop blaming me (us) for your shortcomings and apparent inability to do so..
    Our own Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs has asked you repeatedly(for years) for your "proof" so they could help you get recognition. Instead, you decided to go past the commission, lobby and "befriend" legislators to sponsor "blind" legislation in 2008 and 2009. This is legislation that awards recognition while not requiring the burden of proof. In doing that, we have asked again what you have to hide.
    We would finally ask you, do you still not understand why we would be suspicious that you might not be what you are claiming to be? Surely you are smarter than that?

    Recently you have taken it upon yourselves to launch a personal assault on me and the ones I love in an attempt to force me away from my right as a Tennessean to question what I feel is bad legislation.
    Starting at the top with your chief, you have began harrassing , badgering and complaining to people close to me in another state that have no interest or care about this issue. You have flooded them with emails, letters and phone calls accusing me of "lobbying", spreading malicious misinformation , mislead, misinform to organize opposition to your recognition. This is a childish, desperate act which demonstrates that you do not care who you involve , harrass or hurt to avoid the questions you refuse to answer. You have accused me of opposing all recognition of other tribes in this state. I know nothing about the other tribes. I cannot oppose something I know nothing about.
    I would remind you, these people you have chosen to harrass because of me are without knowledge of this state's political climate and could not care less about you.
    They do care about your attempts to drag them into this mess you have created for yourself and Tennessee. How despicable, lowdown and rotten!
    I do not speak for them, I speak for myself, I ask the questions above as a registered voter , born and raised in this state. Not as a Native American and defenitely not an "outsider"..Your conduct in this matter would be expected from a spoiled child and not from a responsible chief and his people asking our state to grant them a wonderful gift.
    I believe that Tennesseans should see just how you handle legitimate questions and how you respond to someone you think is a threat by harrassing their innocent loved ones..
    As for me, if you have an issue with me, my address, phone number and email address are public knowledge. But, you have known all along how to contact me. You avoid that because you might have to answer my questions, ??Hmmmm?
    As for the petitions WE(not just me) concerned Tennesseans have began months ago will continue to spread and gather signatures of voters who have these same questions above. I am sure that someone will present them to the state legislature and your sponsor friends long before your bill finds it's way back to the floor.
    It will not be me. I am thru with this filthy fight. I have made my case, I have asked the questions I felt needed to be asked and have made up my mind about you long before this moment in time.
    The opposition has a life of it's own and it will continue just fine without me. I will not allow your slimy rhetoric to spill over and drag the innocent into your conspiracy just because you wish to silence me.
    You get what you wanted, I lay down the talking stick and you will not hear from me again . I officially remove myself from "Indian politics" in this state. I have even removed my popular web page which asks these same questions of you. I am done. A small victory for you won by filthy, despicable means. That is, unless you decide to continue your harrassment on those I love.
    That stops right now.
    I will see to it that every legislator and every concerned citizen in this state recieves a copy of this letter . That way, they will know how you respond to a concerned citizen who asks questions that should have been answered long before a bill was ever introduced.. Perhaps too, they will see that a closer look at you might be in their own best interests. That will be my last act on this matter and I am sure, not the last response from me that you were hoping for..
    In the famous words of many fathers, "Don't make me come back in here."
    I rest my case.

    Tali (Kimo)Shaffer

    KUDOS to YOU, Tali.

    There are many of us who oppose this horrific 'legislation'. Although but only one additional voice, my name has been added to the list of those who not only oppose the "yuchi' group but who also oppose all those groups in Tennessee who want to be recognized for something they cannot prove and most certainly for something they cannot ever be even with legislation.

    It's just beyond anything reasonable and rational that this sad state of affairs has progressed to this sad point.

    but it's not over yet; not by a long shot.


    Yo and this so called chief of the youcheese tribe of whatever is really one kracker whose own kin say he aint indian maybe injun or the real Yuchi are in Sapulpa OKLA end of frigging story, and good for you Tali

    some important reminders for the 'yuchi' culture club, specifically

    Joyce Bear wrote on Friday, May 22, 2009 at 16:04:


    May 21, 2009, this a Resolution passed by the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, representing over 500,000 Federal Recognized people in opposition to the recognition of Indian heritage groups and cultural clubs by states as "state recognized tribes"

    Chad Smith,Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation
    A. D. Ellis, Principal Chief, Muscogee (Creek) Nation,
    Greg Pyle, Chief, Choctaw Nation,
    Kelly Haney, Principal Chief, Seminole Nation
    Bill Anoatabby, Governor, Chickasaw Nation

    Inter-tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes
    Resolution No. 09-07

    [signature] Bill Anoatabby, Governor, The Chickasaw Nation
    [signature] A. D. Ellis, Principal Chief, Muscogee (Creek) Nation
    [signature] Gregory E. Pyle, Chief, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
    [signature] Kelly Haney, Principal Chief, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
    [signature] Chad Smith, Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation


    Resolution Number FY09-07

    WHEREAS, the Inter-Tribal Council of the FIve CIvilized Tribes is an organization that unites the tribal governments of the Muscogee (Creek), Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee and Seminole nations, representing over 500,000 Indian people throughout the United States, and

    WHEREAS, under federal law Indian nations, tribes and bands mean domestic, dependent nations which are governments with long standing status and government-to-government relationships with the United States of America, and

    WHEREAS, there are persons who claim Indian heritage who have organized heritage groups and cultural promotion clubs who are not eligible for citizenship nor are members in federally recognized nations, tribes and bands, and

    WHEREAS, these heritage group and cultural promotion clubs have sought to be recognized by states as "state recognized tribes."

    NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes objects to the recognition of Indian heritage groups and cultural clubs by states as "state recognized tribes;"

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes encourages the United States Congress to limit the expenditure of funding designed for American Indian and Native American nations, tribes and band to federally recognized nations, tribes and bands.

    The foregoing resolution was adopted by the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes meeting in Goldsby, Oklahoma on May 21, 2009, by the vote of 5 for 0 against and 0 abstentions.


    Joyce Bear addressing the TN Legislature:

    May 13, 2009

    Re: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Tennessee State Legislature:

    The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is a federally recognized tribal government by Treaty, with the sovereign powers of dominion over its land and citizens, and through continued relations with the United States government, hereby urges the Tennessee legislature to reconsider passage of HB 1692 and SB 1978 bill to recognize groups of purposed remnants of descendants of the Yuchi Indians as tribal governments. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation stands opposed to the purpose which the Tennessee state legislature is considering the legislation for the following reasons.

    A bill by House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey was amended on May 12, 2009 in House committee to delete five proposed Cherokee groups from HB 1692. This left only the “Remnant Yuchi Nation” in Sullivan, Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Unicoi, Johnson and Washington counties remaining on HB 1692.

    The Muscogee (Creek) Nation which is the former Creek Confederacy from the Southeastern part of the United States is composed of forty-forty smaller tribes. The Yuchi, aka: Euchee, Uche being but one of these smaller tribes. In John R. Swanton, “Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors” Benjamin Hawkins of North Carolina, U.S. Commissioner to the Creek 1785, left this account of the Yuchi. “In about 1729, most of the Yuchi gathered in a settlement on the Chattahoochee River under the protection of the Creek Confederacy”. Chief Ellick of the Kasihta, a Creek Tribal Town, had married a Yuchi and he induced some of his wife’s tribesmen to join his settlement on the Chattahoochee in 1729. This became the largest of the Yuchi towns, and was know as “Uchee” among the traders and was the town visited by William Bartram the botanist in about 1791.

    The Yuchi people are a distinct tribe within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Between the years of 1828-1842 the Yuchi were forceably removed from the Southeast to Indian Territory with Muscogee (Creek) people and other Southeast tribes on what historians refer to as the infamous Trail of Tears. Between the years of 1898-1906, the Yuchi people were allotted lands in the Northwestern part of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, in Indian Territory and became identified as citizens of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation on the 1906 Dawes Commission Roll. The Yuchi people have their own distinct language which is currently being preserved from the oral tradition to a written language for the first time in history. The Yuchi people have maintained their true cultural identity in Oklahoma with three distinct ceremonial grounds where they hold traditional sacred ceremonials. The Remnant of Yuchi have not provided any documented proof that they are truly Yuchi.

    On May 12, 2009, a Lee Vest testified before the Tennessee committee that the “Remnant of Yuchi” was approved by the Yuchi of Oklahoma. This is an untrue statement. The Muscogee (Creek) does not recognized groups of people who are not recognized by the United States government as Indian tribes. To do so would go against the tribal Constitution of Muscogee (Creek) Nation and infringe on our tribal sovereignty. Mr. Vest also testified that he and other members of the group had learned of their heritage from books and non-Indians.

    Mr. Vest also stated there would be federal funding coming with the state recognition as an Indian tribe. This is also untrue statement. Only Federal Recognized Tribes have the privilege of government to government relationship with the United States government and agencies. Examples, of National Historic Preservation, Section 106, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act issues, ONLY Federally Recognized tribes are invited for consultation. A state recognized tribe would be considered only as a concerned citizen from that state.

    The Muscogee (Creek) holds the recognition of tribal governments by state governments to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution and supplemental statues and to be an exclusive power of the Federal Government. The federal authority to enace legislation singling out tribal Indians derives from, the power of Congress to regulate commerce with the Indian tribes, U. S. Constitution, art. I, ss 8, cl. 3, from the treaty power, Id., art. II, ss2, cl.2, and from the federal trusteeship over Indian tribes established by the Indian No Intercourse Act. 25 U.S. C., ss 177. Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 (1832); Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 30 U.S. 1 (1831); Joint Tribal Council of Passamaquoddy Tribe v. Morton, 528 F. 2d. 370 (1st. Circ. 1975); Narragansett Tribe of Indians v. Southern Rhode Island land Development Corp., 418 F. Supp. 798 (D.R. I. 1976). As a result of this paramount federal authority, Congress may enact legislation singling out tribal Indians, legislation that might otherwise be constitutionally offensive.

    The Supreme Court has emphasized, however, that states “do not enjoy this same unique relationship with Indians.” Washington v Yakima Indian Nation, supra. A state may enact legislation singling out tribal Indians only when authorized to do so by the federal government. (Foster v. Pryor, 189 U.S. 325 (1903); State v Dibble, 62 U.S. 366 (1859) (state laws benefiting federal recognized Indians). The state may not, in the absence of federal authorization, enact, laws benefiting or singling out the subject descendents of Indians, and since there has been no federal authorization in this instance, HB 1692 and SB 1978 appear to be unconstitutional on the face. Moreover, by the state singling out the groups identified in the subject legislation a special status and attendant privileges, is being granted to the recipient groups not afforded to other citizens of Tennessee, thereby appearing to run afoul of the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, absent federal authorization for the state to deal with these descendents of Indians.

    The Federal recognition process exists for groups that are legitimately Indians, affiliated with potential tribal organizations, or can factually document compliance with the requirements of the Federal recognition process. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation strongly urges the legislature of the state of Tennessee to reexamine it intent, purpose, and possible conflicts in federal and state law, prior to consideration of HB 1692 and SB 1978.

    The Muscogee (Creek) Nation strives to facilitate dialogue regarding Federal-State Indian law and would be more than willing to continue discussions regarding this matter with the elected leadership of the state of Tennessee.


    Alfred Berryhill, Second Chief
    Muscogee (Creek) Nation


    You are right IT IS NOT OVER. We will continue to fight you for what is ours!!


    You are right IT IS NOT OVER. We will continue to fight you for what is ours!!

    You're not fighting "me" for anything 'cause I can't turn water into wine nor can I make you into something you aren't any more than legislators can give you something they don't have to give.

    Wait! Better answer

    You are right IT IS NOT OVER. We will continue to fight you for what is ours!!


    Chad Smith,Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation
    A. D. Ellis, Principal Chief, Muscogee (Creek) Nation,
    Greg Pyle, Chief, Choctaw Nation,
    Kelly Haney, Principal Chief, Seminole Nation
    Bill Anoatabby, Governor, Chickasaw Nation
    Fight these leaders you dang fool, or drink the dang kool-aid like the mother ship for wayward injuns is ready for yall


    TPK 2002

    "with blood quantum we will get a lot of squealers who will feel they won't be able to get what they want. With descendants we will get more support and I believe the descendants will support the fuller bloods majority of commissioner positions"

    Tali stated

    "We also questioned your blood quantum if somehow your story were true."

    There are many, too many, here that do not support the idea or even the thought of using blood quantum as a mean of Indian identity. Yea, I know all about the attorney general opinion on blood quantum as a requirement for being seated as a commissioner. But his opinion has absolutely nothing to do with using it as a means of proving actual blood for the purpose identifying who is an Indian.

    Its impossible to just create tribal or Individual recognition criteria by any other means. It can't be done legitimately. Tennessee has a Commission of Indian Affairs....... what for.....there still are no legitimate indians. Because they can't get beyond the identity issue. You'd think by now some one would recognize the mistakes that were made and correct them. But nooooooooooooo. Using blood quantum would be a solution to the problem they cannot get passed. But.......... using blood quantum would also exclude those who don't have it. And you would be surprised to find out those who don't.

    another reply to proposed Yuchi 'recognition' in TN

    Posted by Two Feathers on May 26, 2009 at 10:35 am

    This link above says it all. It is an online flyer inviting anyone who “thinks” they might have a Native ancestor to come and “join” this tribe.
    From the beginning, I have said that this process will be an open door for widespread fraud because this bill will not specify a third party verification process for the evaluation of ancestral proof on an individual basis.
    When this tribe is thru enrolling illegitimate claimants, it will number in the tens of thousands, maybe more!

    We have learned many new and disturbing facts regarding this tribe over this weekend, confirming our suspicions that legislators who vote to pass this bill will have failed in their duties to represent the best interest of this states people. If one of these legislators who vote to pass it had scrutinized the basis of the claims, this bill would have never made it off Mumpower’s desk.
    It will be a sad day in Tennessee if and when the Governor signs this terrible bill into law.


    Everyone should go online to the Tennessee legislature web site and watch the house S≶committee meetings regarding this issue. There was one on May 5th and one on May 12th.
    It was an absolute embarassment with members of the committee claiming they themselves were Indian and wanted recognition. Rep Litz of Morristown made a steaming speech regarding Richard Allen of the Cherokee nation supposedly lying to him yet allowed Mr.Vest, the Yuchi chief to commit the same act, not once but several times in his testimony before that very committee.
    These incompetent folks are our representatives who would pass a law and legitimize a fake tribe without once checking to see if these people are what they are now claiming to be.

    I would hope that everyone who votes will take note of this grossly irresponsible act by Mumpower and Ramsey when they next visit the voting booth.The 200 plus of us who oppose this locally sure will.

    We ask every person who reads this to share this article, call Ramsey’s office or email him and demand this process be halted immediately!
    Mumpower has already stated above that he will not listen to those who put him in office so that is useless.
    DO IT TODAY!! Thank you!


    another reply - snipped:

    there is sinister motivation behind legislation supported by Jason Mumpower.

    Jason Mumpower has never and will never do anything that shows kindness or respect to anyone unless he benefits from it to some degree. Usually public image.
    That’s his nature and the Republican way.


    and that last comment says a mouthful - and even at that, it's an understatement!!

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