Eastern Band Establishes Cherokee Identity Protection Committee

Here. An excerpt:

There are three federally recognized Cherokee tribes in the United States including the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (NC), the Cherokee Nation (OK) and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (OK).  According to a list compiled in March by the Cherokee Nation, there are 212 fabricated groups claiming to be Cherokee tribes. “Fraud List” compiled by Cherokee Nation

Some of those groups are from areas thousands of miles from traditional Cherokee territory including the Northwest Cherokee Deer Clan in Oregon.  And, several aren’t even in the United States at all such as the Chewah Cherokee Nation in Manitoba, Canada.

The EBCI Tribal Council passed a resolution – No. 6 (2011) – during annual council on Thursday, Oct. 13 to establish the Cherokee Identity Protection Committee.

“It’s something that we’ve had an ongoing issue with and it’s something that’s important,” said Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell who submitted the resolution passed on Thursday.  “Many times people are taking our identity.”

The resolution states in part, “the ongoing and growing problem of these fabricated Cherokee groups has resulted in the need to better coordinate internally to better assist Cherokee Nation on this shared issue of continuing concern…”

According to the resolution, the Committee will consist of Rep. Shell, Big Cove Rep. Bo Taylor, Painttown Rep. Terri Henry, Birdtown Rep. Tunney Crowe as well as representatives from the EBCI Legal Department, Tribal Historic Preservation Office and the public relations department.   Myrtle D. Johnson will serve on the Committee as a fluent speaker of the Cherokee language and Marie Junaluska will serve as her alternate.

The two tribes have worked previously on this issue and passed “A Resolution Opposing Fabricated Cherokee ‘Tribes’ and ‘Indians’” during a Joint Council session held in April 2008.  That resolution states, “the sovereignty and reputation of the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, as well as members of the general public continue to be in jeopardy due to the acts of individuals who organize and administer fabricated Cherokee tribes.”

Upon hearing of the passage of the legislation on Thursday, Cara Cowan Watts, Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, said, “I am pleased Eastern Band has formalized our partnership on fighting groups and individuals fraudulently claiming Cherokee identity and creating false ‘Tribes’.  Fraudulent Cherokee identity is a direct attack on our Tribal sovereignty and an affront to our culture and traditions.  We must protect our elders and traditionalists by stopping these groups and individuals from appropriating our culture, language and traditions.”

James Billy Chance is the leader of the Indian Creek Chickamaugan Tribal Nation, a group based in Deltona, Fla. which claims Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Shawnee bloodlines.

He said the United States Constitution grants people the right to “be who they are and to say what their history is and to use their religion and history.”

“The Oklahoma and North Carolina Cherokee cannot change the Constitution of the United States,” Chance related, “no matter how hard they may wish to try.”

Lamar Sneed, of the state-recognized Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee, commented, “I, too, am opposed to unregulated state recognition of fake wannabe Indians.  The State of Georgia did not adopt any criteria for a group to be state-recognized.  As such, many fake groups exist in Georgia.”

Sneed said his great-grandfather is buried on the Qualla Boundary and he has many cousins who are EBCI tribal members.  “I personally do not support the resolution just passed, but I do support that any legitimate group meet all of the requirements of the BIA for recognition.  State politics should not be involved.  None in Georgia, at the present time, can do that.”

3 thoughts on “Eastern Band Establishes Cherokee Identity Protection Committee

  1. Mary October 17, 2011 / 3:33 pm

    What info or criteria or whatever the federally recognized Cherokees call it , base that these tribes are “fraudelent”.

  2. Antonio Perales Hierro October 18, 2011 / 6:53 am

    The colonized experience has unfortunately left behind (when the colonizer can be gotten to “leave”, in the best possible sense) a destructive and confused situation. Don’t tell me, let me guess, these bogus tribes share much of their “ethic” with New Age groups, or whatever they call themselves this week. I was a careful and critical but infrequent listener to “community supported kpfa”, beginning in 1981. By the late nineties I realised that the listener (often asked to “dig deep” during its annual begging programs) was seriously being put on. Call-ins by racists and demonizers were being passed over for the next call–my comment on racism one time was referred to as “irelevant” by one Mandel. I wanted to point out the enormous deaths caused by racist US Weather Bureau officials who discounted their Cuban counterpart’s efforts to warn if the size of a hurricane headed for the Texas coast. Because Cubans were seen as “only n*****s”, they were ignored. Subsequently, turn of the century Galveston was the scene of not only massive destruction, but numerous unnecessary deaths. Mandel made the above insulting comment, and went on to the next call-in. After hearing Philip Maldari conduct dozens of interviews with Chicanos, Blacks, Native Americans, etc. on any manner of topics and experiences, including racism, I heard him say on-air “When I look at a person, I do not see their color”. I wa stunned. At that point I stopped “listening, and started monitoring the programming with a tape-recorder. On one two a.m. program of disjointed conversation, weird fragments of sounds and music I suddenly heard: “That’s too loud! We’re not Mexican Radio!” My next-day called in complaint was an education on just how clumsily they handled things cultural. The station manager directed me to the programmer himself, who stammered that he “Didn’t mean it!” I suggested to him that if we were in court, over say, an on the job racial affront, that his defense would have little standing. He promised to “Be more careful”. I did not really believe that he knew how to do that, but I signed off. Another time, in a discussion about the Mexican Maya and Azteca pyramids, a New Ager called in to express that they had been built by aliens from space. No one challenged her, not Maldari, nor Ms. Lewis, a Black woman, proudly fresh from Stanford. I called in angrily and chewed out the New Ager, and wound up saying on-air that New Agers “ought to get their heads out of their butt’s!” In a later discussion with a new Station Manager about such gaffes, he literally disinvited me from listening any longer. I see the local kpfa as a parasite; as a pack of liberals (if that) who pretend to “progressive-ism”. I intend to out kpfa on my blog, and in my ‘zine Hate Crime Review and Parody. They do know how to attract icons of color, for a nice façade of “relevance”, but I will ask their listeners-supporters to think twice about “digging deep”. I wish the true Cherokee Nation groups, by whatever name, complete success.

  3. Stacey October 18, 2011 / 2:22 pm

    May I tell a little story here? I am one of these so-called “fake” Cherokees. I am not a “new-ager,” nor is my heritage fabricated or a figment of my imagination. However, I am not eligible for membership in one of the federally recognized Cherokee tribes. Why? During the “Trail of Tears,” my family hid in the mountains, caves, and “hollers,” to escape from the soldiers and militia. Later, when any federal official came around asking questions, whether it was for a Census or to record names for any of the Rolls, i.e. the Baker Roll, their children and grandchildren refused to give them information. Two of my great-grandmothers were Cherokee who married white men, and their marriage records, unfortunately, list them as “white.” At the time of their births and marriages, they still had a deep fear and suspicion to claim otherwise. We knew within our family, though, and that knowledge was passed along the generations, on down to me. I have their photos which show that they were Cherokee. One was a healer who had learned her art from her mother. To claim that I, who am at least 25% Cherokee, and others like me, in my situation, am trying to “appropriate the culture, language, and traditions” is an insult. We lost those things, and we want them just as much as any other Cherokee. My heart and soul ARE Cherokee, and the federal government can never take that from me.

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