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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    TN Commission of Indian Affairs
    Website of the (defunct) TCIA * History of the 1st & 2nd TNCIA

    Greene (CNO) v. TCIA   filed 30 June 2010
    Commission terminated     30 June 2010

    Issues Affecting American Indians in Tennessee

    Issues Affecting American Indians in Tennessee
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    What It Means to Be an American Indian (Legally Speaking)

    Why are you so afraid of true Tennessee Indians?? Are we not allowed to practice, teach and be proud of our heritage just as you are? And how dare we demand the same protection, rights and representation as out of state indians living in OUR State of TN do? Do you too think ALL indians left TN on the Trail of Tears?? How sad.

    (1) What exactly IS a "true Tennessee Indian"?? Please explain for all of us who really haven't figured that out. Last we heard, it meant those born inside the borders now known as Tennessee BUT - and it's a BIG "BUT" .... the definition does NOT seem to include the direct ancestors of those claiming to be "Tennessee Indians".

    So the question remains: HOW can YOU be a "true Tennessee Indian" withOUT direct, legitimate INDIAN ancestors - and then, how can you, as supposed indian people, DENY your own People a VOICE in what YOU/your "tribe" are wanting to claim and do in their name?!

    (2) Who - exactly - prevents you from practicing, teaching or being proud of your heritage?

    And then you write: And how dare we demand the same protection, rights and representation as out of state indians living in OUR State of TN do? Do you too think ALL indians left TN on the Trail of Tears??

    Yes, unless and until YOUR PEOPLE recognize you - ya know, the ones you claim to descend from AND prevent from speaking on this issue - you will remain nothing more than a group (AKA culture club) with members who claim descendency. IF you want legitimacy as a 'tribe', you need to FIRST seek acceptance from the People you're claiming to descend from. THEN seek BIA approval with accompanying DOCUMENTATION. That's their job --> to review claims and documentation to determine legitimate relationship with the US federal Government. They DO NOT determine "indianness" except that it meets historical relation-requirements. The historical People (Nation/Tribe) then can more willingly accept your claims and perhaps accept you into the membership/citizenship.

    UNTIL and UNLESS that happens, YES! How DARE you try to assert and "demand the same protection, rights and representation as out of state indians living in OUR State of TN do" when you're NOT as legally or authentically acknowledged.

    NO, not everyone survived the Trail of Tears. Those who escaped somehow managed to become the Eastern Band. Why didn't YOUR people do the same? Because they were living among whites AS whites for lo, these many decades and century+.

    See below for a reposting of something that might help:

    What It Means to Be an American Indian (Legally Speaking)

    The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) came into existence on March 11, 1824, but was then known as the Office of Indian Affairs. The general purpose of the BIA is to manage Indian affairs throughout the United States. It also controls, legally speaking, what it means to "be an Indian."

    What it takes to be a Indian tribe
    In the United States, a tribe is not a tribe unless the BIA says so. Sure, there are countless Indian tribes in America that are, in fact, tribal nations, but in order to receive benefits from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a tribe must be officially decreed a tribe.

    The criteria for being federally recognized as an Indian tribe consist of seven requirements found in Federal Regulation 25 CFR Part 83:

    The petitioner has been identified as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis since 1900.
    A predominant portion of the petitioning group composes a distinct community and has existed as a community from historical times to the present.
    The petitioner has maintained political influence or authority over its members as an autonomous entity from historical times until the present.
    A copy of the group's present governing documents including its membership criteria.
    The petitioner's membership consists of individuals who descend from a historical Indian tribe or from historical Indian tribes which combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity.
    The membership of the petitioning group is composed primarily of persons who are not already members of an acknowledged North American Indian tribe.
    Neither the petitioner nor its members are the subject of congressional legislation that has expressly terminated or forbidden the federal relationship.
    What it takes to be officially designated an Indian
    The BIA not only decides what's a tribe, it also decides who's an Indian. According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in order to be officially defined as an American Indian, a person must meet all of the following criteria:

    He must be listed as a member of a federally recognized tribe.
    He must be able to definitively trace his Indian ancestry back at least three generations.
    He must be formally approved by BIA officials.
    His blood quantum must be at least 1/4 American Indian.
    These criteria can be problematic. The blood quantum criterion in particular has angered some. Blood quantum is the percentage of Indian blood in a person. This isn't arrived at by a blood test, but solely through an analysis of a person's ancestry.

    Some anti–blood quantum activists have compared the BIA's fixation on blood ratios with the Nazi obsession with blood purity. Other Native American people believe that without requirements for blood quantum or tribal rights to restrict membership, tribes would be inundated with people who have no Indian ancestry or culture at all wishing to receive tribal benefits.

    TN & American Indian Related Links
  • Tennessee Legislature
  • Tennessee Executive Branch
  • Federal Government Links
  • TN Attorney General
  • TnCIA official website

  • Native American Indian Association of Tennessee (NAIA)
    Advisory Council on Tennessee Indian Affairs (ACTIA)
    Alliance for Native American Indian Rights (ANAIR)
    Tennessee Native American Convention (TNNAC)
    Tennessee Trail of Tears Association (TnTOTA)
    Tn Commission of Indian Affairs (Unofficial)
    Chattanooga InterTribal Association (CITA)
    InterTribal Sacred Land Trust (ITSLT)
    The Forum
    Tanasi Journal
    Native Nashville
    TN Indian Affairs Blog
    Chikamaka History Timeline
    Mundo Hispano/Hispanic World
    Tennessee Ancient Sites Conservancy
    Indian Burial & Sacred Grounds Watch

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