Actual Native American Indian communities that survived the racial cleansing of the 1800s should be recognized as this land's indigenous people. At the same time, the state needs objective and rigorous criteria by which to determine the validity of groups claiming to indigenous tribes. In the Rule's absence, opportunistic groups submitted their own self-serving legislative proposal which never made it out of committee. In their defense, it is the legal Power and Duty of the state Commission of Indian Affairs to "Establish appropriate procedures to provide for legal recognition by the state of presently unrecognized tribes, nations, groups, communities or individuals, and to provide for official state recognition by the commission of such" (TCA 4-34-103.6). If and when the state Commission of Indian Affairs fails to exercise its legal responsibility, however, it becomes the power and duty of the public to promote its own "recognition" agenda. Both the Commission and the groups seeking state tribal recognition failed to obtain rule or law. We need to keep trying with the same near-unanimous support with which we all approved Rule 0785 the first time.
The term of the state Commission of Indian Affairs has been extended another year. In this short time the Commission needs to educate the legislature and the public about the need and benefits of objective tribal recognition criteria based on accurate historical data and existing federal procedures for establishing that an American Indian group exists as an Indian tribe (25 CFR 83), approve the Rule 0785 again, and oversee its implementation. We did it before. We can do it again, smarter, better. I hope we'll again have your support.
RULES OF THE TENNESSEE COMMISSION OF INDIAN AFFAIRS
Chapter 0785-1 - Recognition Criteria for Native American Indians
TABLE OF CONTENTS
0785-1-.02 Recognition Criteria For Native American Indian Nations, Tribes or Communities
0785-1-.03 Procedures For Petitioning For Recognition
0785-1-.04 Changes In Membership
member, Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs
11 june 2008 20:46