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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    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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