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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    Did Tennessee Create 6 'Fake' Indian Tribes?

    (6/25/10) - Many Native Americans across the state are furious that the Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs has recognized new tribes that they say are nothing more than inventions, some just five years old...

    WSMV Channel 4 Nashville News>

    Group Condemns Newly Recognized Tribes
    Ex-Indian Affairs Members Call Tribal Recognition Illegal

    POSTED: 10:55 am CDT June 25, 2010
    UPDATED: 6:18 pm CDT June 25, 2010

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The founders and former commissioners of Indian Affairs have issued a denunciation of the current Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs.

    The six-member TCIA recognized six groups as state-recognized tribes on June 19. The denunciation called the "illegal action" a "gross violation of state administrative policies that safeguard the public interest."

    "This was run in at the last minute without much comment from anybody," said Mark Tolley, Indian rights activist. "There are obvious monetary issues. If people are called tribes, they can get grants, they can get money, they can probably apply to the SBA for small business loans."

    Four TCIA members are members of the recognized groups, often called culture clubs.

    "These people are social clubs; they are not tribes," Tolley said.

    "Such illegitimate tribal recognition is an intentional fraud perpetrated on Cherokee, Lenape and Yuchi people to steal their political identities," the TCIA founders and former commissioners said in a news release. "Groups pretending to be Indian when a majority of them have no cultural or family affiliation with the tribes they claim as kin is a deception played on all the citizens of the state of Tennessee."

    Some of these new tribes are just five years old, but by winning state recognition, there are housing, scholarship and health care benefits. The federal government recognizes more than 600 tribes in this country, but it hasn't recognized a new tribe in 200 years.

    Last year, the Tennessee Legislature almost recognized six new Indian tribes in Tennessee. There was such a backlash from the Cherokee nation and other recognized tribes that the matter was dropped.

    One year later, TCIA picked up the issue 10 days before it expired.

    No one from Indian Affairs returned Channel 4's calls.

    Reporter Dennis Ferrier contributed to this story.

    Previous Stories:
    May 28, 2009: Yuchi Nation Nearly Declared Sovereign
    May 26, 2009: Tribes Oppose Yuchi Nation Recognition
    May 19, 2009: Native American Tribe Protests Bill

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