The District of Utah has a few of these cases involving people claiming to be members of the “Wampanoag Nation, Tribe of Grayhead, Wolf Band,” trying to hide behind federal Indian law in order to avoid federal and state regulation. This one is called Burbank v. United States District Court of Utah. It involves a guy who claims to be a member of an Indian tribe, a tribe that even has a tribal cop, named “Spirit Walker.”
Here are some of the materials:
From the Lincoln Journal Star:
A Texas judge issued a permanent injunction Monday prohibiting an unrecognized American Indian tribe and its self-proclaimed chief from selling tribal memberships in an alleged scam to defraud illegal immigrants by falsely claiming the documents would provide protection from deportation.
District Judge Noe Gonzalez ruled that Malcolm Webber and his Wichita-based Kaweah Indian Nation by default admitted the allegations in a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Gonzalez issued the ruling because the tribe and Webber failed to answer the lawsuit filed in August alleging they violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The lawsuit contended that the tribe sold memberships for up to $400 per person to immigrants by saying that members could get a Social Security number. The lawsuit also alleged that immigrants were told they would be entitled to receive U.S. citizenship once the tribe was federally recognized.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs ruled in 1984 that the Kaweah group had no historical link to American Indian tribes and that Webber is not an Indian.
Here is a link to the BAR’s final notice of denial of Kaweah’s petition for federal recognition.
A few years ago, I saw a presentation by an FBI agent based out of Bismarck, North Dakota in which he described how many of the survivalist, tax protester-type of virulent anti-government “citizens” had gone way underground after 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act. A couple years later, some of them reappeared as Indians and Indian tribes — the worst kind of Indian fraud imaginable. There have always been, I suspect, people trying to be pretend Indians in an attempt to garner something (money, rights, etc.) they otherwise would not be entitled to. Here, it appears, are whites trying to hide behind tribal sovereign immunity and tribal sovereignty in general.
I wrote about these guys first in 2006 at the For the Seventh Generation blog. And every few months since, another (usually unreported) state or federal court case comes up in which these people are trying to avoid taxes or conviction because of their “Indianness.” I think it’s worthwhile to keep track of these cases.
Here’s the most recent one (I think) — Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems v. Powell, a New Jersey court of appeals case. Here’s the unreported opinion: Opinion
Here’s the relevant language in the opinion (this one tried to avoid paying a debt):
Defendant nevertheless argues that she enjoys “sovereign immunity” both as a member of an Indian tribe because she is “Wanda Lee: Ben El Powell ™©, a Pre-Columbian Indigenous Sovereign Yamassee Muur/Moor,” and as “the secured Private Party, Holder in due Course, by the Commercial Remedy in Law, Filing the UCC1 … [and has] Regained [her] Divine Sovereign Human Rights.”