Issues Affecting American Indians in Tennessee
This message board is provided as a public service for the specific purpose of sharing and discussing any and all issues that directly or indirectly pertain to Native American Indians living 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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    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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    My voice: Loss of Crow Creek land should concern tribes

    --- On Mon, 1/11/10, NDN News wrote:

    From: NDN News
    Subject: [UNA-News] FW: My voice: Loss of Crow Creek land should concern tribes | | Argus Leader
    To: "NDN News"
    Date: Monday, January 11, 2010, 7:31 PM

    From: A. Gay Kingman mailto:Kingmanwapa to@rushmore. com
    Sent: Monday, January 11, 2010 5:16 PM
    To: Undisclosed- Recipient: ;
    Subject: My voice: Loss of Crow Creek land should concern tribes | argusleader. com | Argus Leader

    Argus Leader

    http://www.arguslea 20100111/ VOICES05/ 1110317/1052/ OPINION01

    January 11, 2010
    My voice: Loss of Crow Creek land should concern tribes

    Duane J. St. John
    On Dec. 4 an action was taken against Crow Creek tribal land near my district that shook the absolute foundations of Indian law all the way back to the 1800s. Yet few people were in the small room in Highmore to see this monumental action, and few other tribes even know that it has taken place.

    I write this letter because any tribe with land should shudder at the magnitude of what this precedent could mean for themselves or their tribal members.

    The U.S. Internal Revenue Service collected against 7,100 acres of Indian-owned land in Hyde County . To put that in perspective, the number is equal to 11 square miles of land.
    This particular parcel was part of the original Crow Creek treaty boundaries, but the treaty subsequently was broken, and this land was sold to LeMaster. Interestingly enough, our tribe was able to use settlement money from another federal-land taking to repurchase this land in 1998.

    My issue is not with the IRS action but rather with the system under which our tribe and all other tribes find themselves. I have said throughout this process that the actions of a handful of people are being used to take the property of 3,000 tribal members. Where else in America is that even a possibility?
    The land-tenure system in place asks us as tribes to place land in trust with the federal government. We are told the government will look after our best interests and utilize the land to its upmost capabilities.

    But as tribes, we know this is not true. Recently, we saw this same guardian had to dispense $3.4 billion to tribes because that trust was broken and not only broken, but we as tribes had to wait 13 years for a resolution. We also are told that once in the system, the government will look at interceders with a jaundiced eye, and the land will not be able to be condemned or taken.

    But with only a quick drive around the Crow Creek Reservation, one can see huge transmission lines and the Big Bend Dam that have taken incredible amounts of land that seem to prove this principle otherwise. Where was the federal government when its other agencies stepped within our borders to take this land?
    The federal agencies involved in this current action will tell you that the LeMaster land never was brought under this trust responsibility, and the land remained as tribal fee. But when should the federal government step away from the original obligation to uphold the treaty boundaries?

    Its great idea of land policy has left us with reservation lands that are labyrinths of complicated property interests, jurisdictional issues and taxation problems. Its policy has created checker-boarded islands that as tribal members, we merely have to tolerate because Sen. Henry Dawes' idea did not work out more than 100 years ago.
    I am a simple man, and this entire system cannot be explained to me by learned individuals. However, out of this situation, I have learned a few things:

    The federal government's trust has definite limits, and if those limits are exceeded, it will allow other pieces of government to take action within the reservation boundaries. And every tribe that has a piece of land should take notice, or it, too, could have a new 11-square-mile hole to drive past within its boundaries.
    Additional Facts

    Duane J. St. John, 41, of Big Bend is the Crow Creek Tribal Council Big Bend representative.
    My Voice guest columns should be 500-700 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, address, occupation and relevant organizational memberships.
    Send columns to Argus Leader, Box 5034 , Sioux Falls , SD 57117-5034 , fax them to 605-331-2294 or e-mail them to letters@argus

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