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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    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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    Company says it can determine Cherokee ancestry with DNA test

    Company says it can determine Cherokee ancestry with DNA test
    Thursday, January 20, 2011
    Filed Under: National

    A company says it can determine whether someone is of Cherokee ancestry through a DNA test.

    DNA Consultants has collected samples from people who say they are Cherokee. The Cherokee DNA Project says the results show a link to Middle Eastern populations, a claim dismissed by one Cherokee Nation leader.

    "This is one of six ‘wannabe’ groups that have been seeking Tennessee state recognition, which the Cherokee Nation has been aggressively opposing, both legislatively and in the courts," council member Julia Coates told The Tahlequah Daily Press, noting that the company is linked to a group in Tennessee that claims to be Cherokee.

    Get the Story:
    Tracing tribal heritage through DNA questioned (The Tahlequah Daily Press 1/20)
    Copyright © Indianz.Com

    “Our origin stories imply we came from the Pacific Rim.

    Cherokee citizen and attorney Kathy Tibbits agreed with Coates’ position on DNA testing.

    “It must be fascinating to explore one’s ancestry with DNA testing, but that’s totally irrelevant to Cherokee citizenship, which is a legal call, based on location and intergenerational history,” said Tibbits. “In other words, there are a lot more people with Indian ancestry than actually are Cherokees. Around here, we tend to assume everyone is always trying to prove entitlement to citizenship.”

    Tibbits also thinks Cherokees may be more closely linked to Asian ancestry rather than Mediterranean.

    “I think when we look at migration pathways to the New World, Cherokees don’t fit the Algonquin migration model that students of DNA results seem to hypothesize,” she said.

    “Our origin stories imply we came from the Pacific Rim. Our language sounds Asian. Our textile designs match up with equatorial, not polar, textile designs except in contemporary influence. I don’t know enough about the underlying assumptions to say whether I could change my view of the world based on those migration pathways. But DNA is useful to genealogists when they have unconfirmed paternity and issues like that.”

    Eastern Band reports vandalism at Kituwah, Cherokee birthtown

    KITUWAH –– The Cherokee mothertown, Kituwah, a tribally-owned archeological complex in Swain County, was the target of an act of vandalism late last week.

    According to Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians historic preservation officer Russ Townsend, the perpetrators lifted a cattle gate off of its hinges and drove a full-size pickup truck onto the complex, making at least one pass over the Kituwah mound, which is the focal point of an archeological site that dates to the Mississippian period.

    “We feel like it was an act of vandalism and luckily there was little damage to the mound itself,” Townsend said.

    All of Kituwah was part of a private land-holding in Swain County commonly known as Ferguson’s Field that had been under cultivation since the Cherokee removal in the 1830s. Consequently, Townsend said there’s a 18 to 20-inch plough zone over the entire area that buffers undisturbed artifacts.

    Townsend also said the Kituwah mound, which had been an intact four-sided platform, was re-shaped between World War I and World War II and is only one-third of its original size.

    “It is no longer a four-sided platform mound, so there has already been significant damage done,” Townsend said.

    The property is privately owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and, as deeded land, is not subject to laws governing federal trust lands. The Tribe reported the incident to the Swain County Sheriff’s Office last week.

    Townsend said he didn’t believe the incident was an attack on Cherokee identity so much as a callous act of destruction.

    “These incidents haven’t been isolated to Kituwah,” Townsend said. “We’ve had this in Big Cove and up Soco as well as out at the airport in Bryson City. There’s been a lot of this going on lately, and I don’t know if it’s the same individuals or not.”

    Townsend said it was the first outright act of vandalism on the Kituwah mound site in 10 years.

    Last year, the EBCI engaged in a high-profile struggle with Duke Energy to prevent an electric sub-station from being built in the site’s viewshed. Townsend said the struggle had raised the site’s profile, for better or worse.

    “The business with Duke definitely heightened the profile of the tribe and Kituwah and there’s a lot of good that can come out of that, but there’s also some tension that can come out of it,” Townsend said.

    Townsend said he has often been the victim of verbal abuse from passing motorists as he conducted school tours of the site with groups of Cherokee students. To him, that’s more damaging than the tire tracks on the mound.

    “I think if you’re going to talk about something being a hate crime, that’s a lot clearer way to damage our children’s cultural identity than the four-wheeling,” Townsend said.

    Still, the act of vandalism is a sobering reminder that the relationship between tribal members and non-tribal residents of Swain County has a long way to come, and the future of Kituwah, still called Ferguson’s Field by many, has a role to play in the discussion.

    Over the weekend, Townsend met with elders to discuss traditional steps that could be taken to protect the property, and he said he would consult the tribe’s legal department to consider enacting ordinances that could govern conduct at the site. The tribe filed paperwork in 2006 for Kituwah to be given federal trust land status, but that process could take up to 20 years to complete.

    In the meantime, the tribe has welded the entrance gate in place and installed security cameras at the airplane hangar adjacent to the mound site to deter future acts of vandalism.

    Re: Company says it can determine Cherokee ancestry with DNA test

    I thought that with the History Channel's program "Who Really Discovered America" that this subject had been put to rest???
    If I am correct about the so called tribe that submitted DNA for the program, the vast majority of the tests came back as being Northern European which means "NOT Cherokee" or any other blood this group was claiming.
    The false claim of being a tribe of Native decendants has already been exposed on national TV. If the findings were incorrect, would we not be hearing about a lawsuit filed by said "tribe" against the History Channel and the lab which did the tests?

    The more pressing question would be why these Scotch-Irish/English/Germanic decendants would continue to insist that they are something that they were already proven NOT to be????? Something in the water?

    Re: Company says it can determine Cherokee ancestry with DNA test

    That would be a question for good ol' Chief Joe Squating Buzzard. I've got another one though, IF they are Jewish, are their leaders not called Rabbi instead of Chief? Only asking as I know nothing about the Jewish faith.

    Re: Company says it can determine Cherokee ancestry with DNA test

    I've heard rabbi means teacher, but I have no first hand knowledge of that. As for that show, I saw it and the show was edited to make it sound like they really were Indians--the fact that their DNA results did not come back proving they were was quickly glossed over. S*itting Owl and his group -- maybe they wrote the script, paid for production of the show? I can't think of any other reasons the show came off as it did.

    Also, that Panther-Yates family seems to be involved with the company doing the DNA tests and I think perhaps has a vested interest in the results.

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