... with the state as well as the national political landscape now in transition but in opposite directions (Chattanooga Times Free Press: "A Deeper Shade of Red" and "General Assembly landscape changes as GOP takes over" front page, 6nov08).
talked with several legislators who counseled ‘no action’ on the recognition issue if we wanted the Commission to survive, even if we came up with something most people could agree with because, even then, the controversy surrounding it -- as happened last year at the Commission's sunset review hearing -- would be enough to not only halt the recognition effort but also potentially derail the Commission. i'll heed their advice and back off the issue, while resting assured that any attempts by others to circumvent the Commission's recognition responsibilities will be met with advice to first obtain the Commission's support.
on that note, i think the Commission and the state should follow the recent recommendations of the National Congress of American Indians on at least two issues which could be easily amended to apply to the state commission, ie:
• The Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs (TNCIA) should strongly support the recognition of all historic tribes, and should acknowledge the fact that it has neither the academic qualifications nor the staff to properly investigate and make determinations on historical and genealogical questions; and that any plans to do so in the future will lead to organizational, intratribal and intertribal conflict.
In order to avoid those conflicts, TNCIA should support state recognition for tribes that are co-sponsored by an existing legislatively state-recognized or federally-recognized tribe, and present their request as a resolution to the TNCIA.
• TNCIA should call for qualified tribal citizens and descendants who are interested in serving in state positions from Commission of Indian Affairs to the State Textbook Commission to send their résumés to TNCIA for review.