domingo, 2 de abril de 2006

nothing better to do

i am one of those people "who have nothing better to do" than to reflect on the Commission's most recent meeting and their passage of the 1990 recognition criteria and submission of the criteria to the state. i wish more people would have "nothing better to do" than to consider these actions because, in fact, it is one of the Best things to do: to actually read the 1990 recognition criteria and reflect on the State's reaction to adopting them as State rules.

the point of criticism regarding the Commission's vote to propose the 1990 Recognition Criteria to the State for adoption as state rules is
(1) to show the inherent defects in the 1990 Recognition Criteria,
(2) to account for the Commission's actions these past two years that led to the Commission ignoring public comments and a good rules proposal, then submitting a known defective rules proposal to the state, and
(3) to advocate action on an effective solution - the alternative proposal that has been proposed to the Commission for seven months now.

there is nothing "unfair" about criticizing a governmental agency's lack of forward movement on an old issue, or an agency's failure to recognize the inherent defective nature of an out-dated proposal. government is the political arena, the recognition criteria are a political issue, and commissioners are political appointees. when proper action is not taken in a timely manner, and when bad action is taken whenever, criticism should not only be anticipated, it should be welcomed. in fact, it's only through criticism that we learn of our own weaknesses, and only through criticism that we learn what needs to be fixed and made strong.

yes, the 1990 recognition criteria was approved by the Commission a year ago - 12 march 2005, but it was not submitted to the state Attorney General because of the controversy surrounding various elements in it, and because it was not corrected to fix the numerous problems that it contains.

yes, the Advisory Council on TN Indian Affairs (ACTIA) used the 1990 recognition criteria as its starting document. and ACTIA also used the two (2) public hearings (23 october 2004 & 30 april 2005) that the Commission itself held on the 1990 recognition criteria, resulting in a much-improved document submitted to the Commission for review seven months ago (8 october 2005). to date this document, and the hearings that generated it, have been effectively ignored by the Commission.

TDEC attorney Ed Harris advised the Commission in december 2005, "Don't waste the State's time if you're going to keep making changes to the criteria after it's been reviewed." - what did the Commission do? it submitted an inherently defective recognition criteria to the State that is in desparate need for a complete overhaul.

repeated hearings on the issue (20 may 2006 plus one more this summer after the Commission decides what changes to make and re-submits a revised criteria to the State for public comment) - with many past requests for changes (23 october 2004 & 30 april 2005) but no changes made, and repeatedly passing the defective 1990 recognition criteria (12 march 2005, 6 march 2006) - calls into question the competence of the Commission, not just among members of the indian community but also among legislative observers. this isn't criticism, it's political fact.

the ACTIA proposal contains the date "1900" in relation to "A history of the petitioning group from [year]", the same as federal recognition criteria, as approved by ACTIA in august 2005 and again in february 2006. the inclusion of the date "1796" (the year of Tennessee's creation as a US state) was an oversight carried over from using the Commission's own amendment and passage of the 1990 recognition criteria in march 2005.

another public hearing - the third, on a still-unchanged 1990 recognition criteria - is two steps backwards, to the same point we were two years ago, before the first two hearings. after this coming hearing in may, the Commission will have to decide, again, what to submit to the state, and then hold yet _another_ (fourth) public hearing to review the next proposal.

what would be truly beneficial is for the Commission to pay attention to the indian community's previous contributions at past hearings (including posting the testimony/minutes of those two hearings) and review the submissions by the indian community rather than shutting their ears, eyes and minds and going backwards to a defective recognition criteria. nobody is making the Commission look incompetent other than itself when it submitted defective rules to the state for review. the "us and we" gave our input to the Commission over the past two years, and it has been ignored. - should we expect anything different from more hearings?

this criticism is intended to be instructional and constructive. we are in the same position as we were two years ago: a defective 1990 recognition criteria on the table. the -only- difference is that one organization has taken the time to respond to the indian community's critique of the 1990 recognition criteria, drafted the major corrections, and submitted it to the Commission for review. and it was summarily rejected. ask yourself: - what does the Commission's rejection of public input at the past hearings and rejection of the only valid recognition-criteria proposal teach us? easy - it teaches us that the Commission is on a different path than the statewide indian community.

what is the resistance to the ACTIA proposal? that it's "too wordy"? that a version of it contained a typo? that the Commission didn't want to make its own amendments to it? that third-party genealogical certification of genealogies submitted to non-genealogists costs too much?

  • the ACTIA Recognition Criteria is a rewrite of old problematic rules. it has slightly more words in it (142 or 6.1%) than the legislation that created the Commission. if a public servant, a political appointee, has a problem reading and understanding the 2223 words of the law that governs their state agency, or a problem reading and understanding 142 more words that better define who and what will be recognized as indian in the state of Tennessee, that person should not be a state commissioner representing indian people.

  • 1189 words - 1990 Recognition Criteria
    2365 words - 2005 ACTIA Recognition Criteria proposal
    2223 words - 2003 TNCIA authorizing legislation
    [legal references ("Authority", "Original rule filed ...") removed]

  • typos can and should be fixed. they shouldn't prevent passage of a good proposal, nor should they be used as an excuse for not passing a good proposal.

  • the Commission exists to improve things, and showed that it could amend the 1990 recognition criteria by adding a $20 fee. the Commissioners were completely capable of amending the ACTIA recognition proposal accordingly, but chose not to. - why? they don't say.

  • the Commission is not composed of genealogical and historical experts, yet they are putting themselves in the position of determining genealogical and historical fact from fancy through the creation of recognition criteria. - should the indian community and the State accept neophytes and amateurs making determinations about genealogical and historical fact for which they have had little or no training? no. third-party certification of genealogical materials is the only way that i know of for the Commission, the people they represent and the State (all second parties) to trust that the Commission's decisions about tribes, organizations and individuals petitioning for recognition (the first party) are credible. yes, professional certification costs the petitioner, but it's either make the petitioners pay the financial costs up front, or kill the Commission in a year with a total lack of credibility. personally, i prefer keeping a credible Commission.

bottom line: we all should be working on improving the ACTIA-proposed recognition criteria, not the 1990 recognition criteria that the Commission submitted to the State that will never pass.

±1300 words.


sábado, 11 de marzo de 2006

Not learning from the past

Issues decided at the 4 march 2006 TN Commission of Indian Affairs meeting in Nashville:
  1. approved the original 1990 recognition criteria,
    with an amendment adding a $20 processing fee,
    to be submitted to the state for review and public hearings.
This takes us right back to where we started in 2004, as if the Commission never held its two public hearings, didn't learn anything from the public input, had no use for the study and research the Advisory Council did on the issue, and likes to pretend there's nothing wrong with the old criteria. Now instead of proposing the solution to all the issues previously addressed, we have to re-visit all the problems and fight for the solutions in more public forums.

I can understand ignorance as an excuse at the first meeting of the new commissioners (december 2005 in Memphis), but now it's either stupidity or plain old reactionism that just prevented the Commission from adopting the solutions to the problems inherent in the old recognition critieria. Either way, the stupids and the reactionaries either need to get smart and with it fast, or get recalled for incompetence. I suggest smartening up fast.

domingo, 22 de enero de 2006

TN Indian Affairs

TN Indian Affairs
Vicky Garland's Unofficial Notes
TNNAC Regular Board Meeting
January 21, 2006
Call to OrderPrayer- Doug Kirby
Roll Call
Cleata Townsend-Chair Chattanooga
tom kunesh- Vice Chair Chattanooga (Secretary)
Wally Leary- Alternate Chattanooga
Lynn Clayton- Chair Jackson
Jo Nicholson- Vice Chair Jackson
Norm Clayton- Alternate Jackson
Sandi Perry- Chair Nashville
Dale Mitchell- Vice Chair Nashville
Annette Lawson- Alternate Nashville
Doug Kirby- Chair Manchester
Vicky Garland- Vice Chair Manchester (Vice-Chair)
Charles Lawson- At-Large
Deborah Rodriquez- Delegate Nashville
Mark Tolley- Delegate Nashville
John Smith- At-Large- (Chair) Having tests run on his back
Helen Wagner Vinson- Chair Memphis- Sick
Ed Vinson- Vice Chair Memphis-Down in his back
Cecilia Tolley- Alternate Nashville- out of State

Agenda Review/ Approval.Approved with a few additions2. Reports
Will approve the August 28, 2005 minutes online excluding: the executive session parts will be omitted from the web page minutes APPROVED
October 22, 2005 minutes read. APPROVED
Bylaws say post minutes 21 days after the meeting. Clarification: post 21 days after the meeting at which they were approved

Filing State papers leave it at Lynn's Address for now and save $20.00
Treasurer's report
Chairman- AbsentVice Chair- Commission nominationsAll number one selections were seated on the commission by the State. They had their first meeting in December.
Referendum statusI have taken care of that myself. It is in the process as we speak.
Committee Reports
Web Page- tom kunesh gave an update of what was included.He was asked to include AG's opinion on the three organizations relationship to each other
ATTENDANCE Committee- Vicky& DougRequest from the secretary's of both TCIA and ACTIA for their membership attendance records after each meeting, with ours being furnished on will supply them with a copy of ours if requested
TNCIA Report-No one was there from the group to supply a report tom mentioned some things that went on at their last meeting and about the Feb 11th meeting on recognition, legislative review, amendment to the Law to change from 2 nominees to just one (1)
ACTIA- Sandi Perry New SecretaryNext meeting is February 4,

2006Review of the election cycle and adoption of new permanent time line.
Application period opens on the First of March
Closes the end of April
aucuses will be held the 4th Saturday in June in election years
Convention will be held the 3rd Saturday of September in election years.
Appointments of Committees
Chairperson's job: TABLED
Appointment of Alternates (2 instead of just 1)Vicky proposed and asked Charles Lawson if he would be interested in being an At Large member of TNNAC. He spoke briefly and agreed.
Then we appointed Annette Lawson as the 2nd Alternate for NashvilleBoard voted and APPROVED
Wally Leary was made Alternate forChattanoogaAPPROVED

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS-Split Secretary and Treasurer- 3rd and final reading FAILED
Amend Quorum- PASSEDHave a First Vice-Chair and a 2nd Vice Chair- this was the 2nd reading and voteAPPROVED

Wording for phone-in meeting Approval- TABLED

Write letter to Commissioners and concerned parties about Legislative review questionnaire needing input of the Indian community - APPROVED
Write letter to commissioners and concerned parties about amendments without the input of the Indian Community- APPROVED

One or two day convention
Decided to have the convention one day, but to have socializing on the Friday night before the convention and have the nominees politic the morning of the convention with question sessions of nominees, then hold the convention in the afternoon after lunch, with continued socializing Saturday night. APPROVED
How to improve Greeneville and Knoxville's participation
Meeting with the organizations, fliers, press, meet and greets.Vicky is suppose to call the Commissioners in the East and Knoxville about meet and greets in their areas

tom is suppose to update our tri-fold brochure

Updating TNNAC's standing rules and posting to the net
Minor word changes- APPROVED
Time limit for public comments- 3 minutes- APPROVED

Mark Tolley addressed the board about Penson Mounds

Next meeting Sunday April 23, 2006 at 9:30 central time at the Honors building
Agenda items for next meeting
Old businessPhone-in votes
Dale's proposal on delegates
Committee appointments
Doug's proposal on redistricting caucus areas
Nominees for Vice Chair- Lynn Clayton, Jo Nicholson, Cleata Townsend
Motion to adjourn 2:30 APPROVED