domingo, 26 de septiembre de 2010

Join my Tribe!

Is it any wonder that when a person starts talking with another about his/her "native" heritage, they coalesce into a culture club, then start calling themselves a "tribe", when it's been done that way in New Orleans for over a century? Now even the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) is promoting its own version of ground-up tribal creation :
Three things i've learned from CBS's latest promotion:
  1. corporations have learned from the late-20th-century fad of culture-club-creation that the idea of a real tribe can be made into a fun game of fake tribes that can be capitalized.
  2. creating and joining a tribe is money-making "entertainment", not culture. "Entertainment clubs" should be the new descriptive term for these groups that start up in the 21st century, take a "desire to return to the Old Ways of Our Ancestors," steal an old local Native American Indian tribal name, and squat on it to 'assume' its cultural identity.
  3. the bigger and more-recognized an "entertainment club" is at the county (1, 2, 3) and regional pow-wow levels, the better they'll do in the far more difficult challenges to get to state and federal levels where the really big buck are.
That's how entertainment works/makes money, for the creators -- the entertainment clubs, and the vendors -- the powwow sellers, "heritage parks", and casinos waiting in the wings.

sábado, 10 de julio de 2010

TCIA suicide by recipe

While it suits many people on the losing side of an issue to quickly blame individuals for failed agendas, ie, scapegoating, all too often they fail to stop and take a look at what really happened and at the issue itself.

The culture clubs of Tennessee didn't get legislative and executive recognition of themselves as tribes in 2010 for one big reason: they failed to convince the Native American Indian community in Tennessee that they were Indian. By lying about their origins and histories, by successfully advocating for the removal of members of federally-recognized tribes from the state Commission of Indian Affairs, by taking over the TN Native American Convention and making local caucuses and the state convention a one-sided political party, by thumbing their nose at the tribe to which most of them claim kinship, by promoting secrecy, pettiness and hate at their 2010 Commission meetings, they successfully alienated all indian community support for even the sanest of culture-club members.

Of course The Fake Tribes of Tennessee blame a White Republican female legislator for their downfall after their success with the top White Republican male lawmakers of the state. 'Blame Whitey' is still a curious regurgitated racial rant when it comes from the keyboards of white blondes themselves pretending to be Indian.

The new (2009) TNNAC and new (2010) TCIA itself killed the TN Commission of Indian Affairs. They followed the recipe for Commission murder to a 't' and have ended up with less than nothing: a reputation for historical fraud, identity theft, nastiness and partisanship that is now the legislators' collective memory for the coming decade.

They were given the death recipe 17 months ago:

Killing the Commission in 2009
1. promote argument and dissension, esp. against individuals
2. maintain state recognition of tribes, organizations & individuals as a legislative and Commission issue
3. Commission focus on internal rules and resolutions
4. TNNAC elect not-tribally-recognized members/descendants as Commission nominees

... published 5 february 2009 right here (see below). Every single one of the 4 steps TNNAC and TCIA followed religiously, compulsively, right to the very end on 19 june 2010 with the passage of TCIA Standing Rule 14 and the illegal recognition of their six culture clubs as fake tribes.

This extended suicide isn't painless, and its ghost will haunt the six faux culture clubs and their koolaid-drinking supporters for a scary long time.

jueves, 8 de julio de 2010

Candidate Needs to Take Responsibility

Lieutenant Governor/Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey supported these fake Indian tribes and sponsored their legislation in 2009 and 2010:

SB1733 grants state recognition to certain Indian tribes, bands, and groups
SB1735 extends state Native American Indian recognition with full legal rights and protections to the Remnant Yuchi Nation
SB1978 grants state recognition to certain Indian tribes, bands, and groups

"Team Ron Ramsey" ought to be taken to task for making Tennessee the laughingstock of Indian country and for disrespecting the historical 'removed' tribes of Tennessee.

sábado, 26 de junio de 2010

Denunciation of TCIA's 19 june 2010 actions

JUNE 24, 2010



WE, THE UNDERSIGNED FOUNDERS AND FORMER COMMISSIONERS OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, denounce, repudiate and reject the actions of the current TENNESSEE COMMISSION OF INDIAN AFFAIRS on June 19, 2010 to recognize six groups (often called culture clubs) as State Recognized Tribes. The action taken by the current TCIA is a gross violation of state administrative policies that safeguard the public interest through prior notice, open meetings and public hearings, all of which were violated by the six current commissioners who voted for this illegal action. It is also an egregious conflict of interest given that 4 of the TCIA’s 6 members (Vice Chair Christine Goddard, Secretary James Everett Meeks, Alice Gwin Henry and Charles Lawson) are members of these very groups. Such illegitimate tribal recognition is an intentional fraud perpetrated on Cherokee, Lenape and Yuchi people to steal their political identities. Groups pretending to be Indian when a majority of them have no cultural or family affiliation with the tribes they claim as kin is a deception played on all the citizens of the State of Tennessee.

We ask the state Attorney General and Secretary of State to review these violations of state administrative rules and to determine the legitimacy of these commissioners’ actions, and to fully and objectively prosecute all violations.

Given the complete lack of public review, we also ask that the state Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the Department of Environment and Conservation that oversees the Commission of Indian Affairs, and the Senate and House Government Operations Committees obtain for public review the applications and documentation submitted by the groups to the state Commission of Indian Affairs and used by the Commission to determine these groups’ eligibility and approval by the Commission.

1. Ray Emanuel, Nashville 1989-1992
2. John Hedgecoth, Crossville 2003-2004
3. John Anderson, Chattanooga 2003-2005
4. Evangeline Lynch, Dyer 2003-2008
5. Doris Tate Trevino, Sewanee 2005-2006
6. Niles Aseret, Nashville 2005-2007
7. Jeanie Walkingstick King, Knoxville 2005-2010
8. David Teat, Nashville 2007-2008
9. tom kunesh, Chattanooga 2007-2010
10. Bill Wells, Nashville 2008-2010

Contact: Evangeline Lynch (731) 643-6655

viernes, 12 de febrero de 2010

“Historic Orchard Knob - Established 1835” ?

There are new signs stuck in the ground around the Orchard Knob area east of downtown Chattanooga that claim ‘Historic Orchard Knob - Established 1835’. Given that this area south of the river was Cherokee Nation up through 1838, and that the geographic feature was called ‘Indian Hill’, and that there is no publicly available information on the web about ‘Historic Orchard Knob’, - does anybody know where the idea of ‘Historic Orchard Knob’ being established in 1835 comes from?

martes, 2 de febrero de 2010

reminder to TNNAC

notes from the TNNAC meeting, 18 October 2008 - Saturday, 9.30am - Cumberland U -agenda

TNNAC chairman Doug Kirby said some good words at the start of the meeting ...

no reason for TNNAC to be an org without the Commission
without the Commission there will be no recognition
told if the Commission fails, there will be no recognition.
TNNAC needs to be at the center - open, transparent means of
getting commissioners, need to follow state guidelines, rules
if TCA says we need 5 recognized indians on the Commission,
it's our job to assure that it does happen
have to recommend that the balance be held as in the guidleines or
we're not doing our job, exposing ourselves to those organizations outside
the state that TNNAC & the Commission are not following the guidelines
TNNAC is not a political body

in spite of his words, there appears to be no further concern on the TNNAC board's part regarding the lack of guaranteed or preferred representation of members of federally- or state- recognized tribes on the state Commission of Indian Affairs, and the current lack of compliance with state law that states that 5 of the 7 members be given Indian Preference.

viernes, 6 de febrero de 2009

a dark & bloody ground

When the meetings of a state Commission of Indian Affairs are besieged with groups demanding that their culture clubs and they, the members themselves, be recognized by the State as Native American Indians, when members of federally-recognized Native American Indian tribes are denigrated in public by a commissioner of Indian Affairs as being less worthy of recognition in Tennessee than the in-state descendants of indians who died over a hundred years ago, when recognition of the state's historic tribes and Native American heroes is less important than trying to embarrass a public appointee at a Commission meeting, when a fullblood member of a federally-recognized tribe with years of service and statewide community respect is unseated from his/her position as elected chairperson of the Commission of Indian Affairs by the lobbying efforts of an election official who is a member of a state-recognized tribe not native to Tennessee on behalf of a person unknown outside his/her local community and with no proven tribal affiliation, then i think it's time to ask ourselves, Whose interest is the Commission of Indian Affairs serving -- Indians or their opponents?

As a critic of the last Commission, as a community organizer of this iteration of the Commission, as former chair of the Advisory Council and of TNNAC, i have a greater degree of investment in the success of the Commission and a better historical perspective than most people. Commitment to the Commission is a choice that is tested weekly by liars and haters and racists, and affirmed daily by the problems requiring attention and the prospects of projects that will create a better future. This year, 2009, brings the legal time limit of the Commission. If anybody wants it extended further into the future, the state legislature requires an argument be made that its current existence promises future success. It will be difficult to win such an argument with the legislature when the legislative officers appoint persons with no Indian Preference over the number-one choice of the community who is a member of a federally-recognized tribe. It would be stupid to try to win an argument with the state Government Operations Committee again this year with the Joe-Joe Show again present to attack and insult representatives of the state's historic tribes. It is wrong to defend a Commission with a decreasing number of members of federally- and state-recognized tribes and an increasing number of advocates of state recognition of culture clubs as tribes. How to defend a state agency in which the workers are demeaned and the posers entertain themselves with personal attacks?

Institutions have no natural life expectancy. They live as long as they are needed, and should be terminated when they lose their ability to contribute positively to society. That's why the state legislature created the law to periodically review all state agencies - to separate the vibrant from the static. The Commission of Indian Affairs is a state agency and should be doing good, for Indians and for the state. For the Commission to continue its relevance and existence, the community should be supporting it and extolling its virtues. I don't see the indian community supporting the Commission. It is, in fact, being damned with no praise.

For the Commission to be extended, it needs to be worthy of life. To be worthy of life, it should be composed of a majority of members of federally- and state-recognized tribes, have more than half a brain, have accomplished some of its goals, and have good plans for the future. Currently there is only one member of a federally-recognized tribe, no member of a state-recognized tribe, two persons with Indian Preference based on their family history, and four persons with no Indian Preference. The Commission will probably lose its only remaining member of a federally-recognized tribe in the TNNAC elections later this year, and there are no signs that her position or any other seat on the Commission will be replaced with a member of a federally-recognized tribe. ... which is the same situation that occurred with the last Commission: opposition to appointment of members of federally-recognized tribes. When such racism happens, the Commission is not worthy of further life.

A current bill, HB 239, introduced in the state legislature ten days ago by Representative Mumpower (R-Bristol), House Republican leader, would "appoint the Confederation of Tennessee Native Tribes as the entity that will review and present for recognition any tribes, bands, or groups that seek recognition," and "recognize, for purposes of state Native American Indian recognition," the six culture clubs that compose the "Confederation of Tennessee Native Tribes". Three current commissioners (Meeks, Thigpen & Henry) are members of the "Confederation" and the only supporters of the bill on the Commission that i know of. The introduction of this bill increases the oppositional nature of the Commission's membership, and with such division within itself as well as within the legislature, it's difficult to see how the Commission can survive a doubly partisan review process.

TNNAC elections for nominations to the Commission are coming up right after this legislative session. the TNNAC board now has a majority membership of "Confederation of Tennessee Native Tribes" supporters. TNNAC has been informed that the appointments to the Commission have not followed the rule of state law in appointing five members with Indian Preference to the Commission (TCA 4-34-104.b.3). No comment from TNNAC. The Commission has been informed of the situation as well. No comment from the Commission. When lack of members of federally-recognized tribes on a state Commission of Indian Affairs fails to become a major concern of the election body and of the Commission itself, i think it's time to question the indian nature of the state agency.

The great debate within the Commission this past six years has been recognition. As i said in my comments at the last Commission meeting, 'recognition' is a third-rail issue: anybody touches it, we all die. In this case three Commissioners are grabbing ahold of the rail hard and fast after having just been told that to do so is certain death for the Commission. This extended suicide, and the political dumping they and we will experience in the legislature, will not be painless for them or the Commission.

At the last Commission meeting (17 january in Memphis) Ramona Reece of Tennessee Native Times asked, "I would like to know that if a commissioner feels like this Commission is not worthy to be extended, I ask you and I ask the public, can that commissioner that doesn't believe in this commission truly serve it adequately? truly serve the people adequately? How you gonna serve with half a heart?"

'Heart' is a metaphor for commitment. It isn't a question of how committed a commissioner is to serve on the Commission. It's a question of the obstacles before the Commission and the collective ability to overcome those obstacles. I don't see TNNAC advocating for more candidates, nominees and appointments who are members of federally- or state-recognized tribes, i don't see the Commission becoming more indian, i don't see "the Confederation" withdrawing its legislative proposal and supporting the Commission, i don't see the personal attacks on commissioners stopping, i don't see a bitterly divided legislature re-approving a bitterly divided Commission. Instead, i see the "Confederation of Tennessee Native Tribes" alienating more people from the true existing tribes, and the number of legislators who voted against the Commission last year increasing.

Fellow members of the Commission and i have proposed music, education and tourism projects, all approved by the Commission, but none garnering community support. ACTIA and i have proposed recognition of the state's historic tribes and state recognition criteria for groups who claim to be existing tribes. I have proposed revision of state laws regarding sale of burial items and a commission commitment to dialogue with the state's historic tribes. supported by an intelligent few, ignored by most because these proposals don't apply to the vocal majority's concern: State Recognition for Themselves as Indians.

The kind of self-recognition without historical proof or community support promoted in HB 239 and HB333 is contradictory to established tribal and US and state recognition rules. The self-promotion of these groups calling themselves tribes is wrong and embarrassing. Narcissism and personal gain were never motivations for creating or re-creating the Commission of Indian Affairs. This issue consumes the Commission, and devours it. Until it is resolved, there is no state Commission of Indian Affairs, just a Commission to Recognize Indian Culture Clubs and Descendants in Tennessee as Tribes and Quasi-Tribes.

Heart and brain may be the energy sources that commissioners draw upon to keep going, but it is not what will keep the Commission alive. What keeps any organization going is successful action. With the self-centered focus of these who will do anything for even a hint of legislation containing a possible promise of recognition, it's time this Commission experiment end, and with it, a corrupted election organization. Until indians, indian descendants, and legislators here in Tennessee adopt a standard for tribal recognition in the state, AND indian descendants begin to work _with_ the historic tribes of Tennessee in Oklahoma to find some positive medium of interaction and mutual validation, this state will remain 'a dark and bloody ground' of infighting and no Commission of Indian Affairs.

some 'I would like to know's' that i would like to know ...

i would like to know, if a commissioner feels like this Commission of Indian Affairs is not worthy to determine recognition of Indians in Tennessee, i ask you and i ask the public, can that commissioner who doesn't believe in his/her own Commission's ability to determine its own recognition criteria truly serve it adequately? truly serve the people adequately? How you gonna serve with half a heart?

i would like to know, if a commissioner is not competent to propose some major policy initiatives, i ask you and i ask the public, can that commissioner that doesn't initiate policy proposals truly serve the Commission adequately? truly serve the people adequately? How you gonna serve with half a heart?

i would like to know, if a commissioner plots personal attacks on another commissioner during a public Commission meeting, i ask you and i ask the public, can that commissioner whose goal is to eliminate other commissioners on the Commission truly serve the Commission adequately? truly serve the people adequately? How you gonna serve with half a heart?

i would like to know, if a commissioner feels like this Commission is better composed of a minority of members of federally-recognized tribes, i ask you and i ask the public, can that commissioner who doesn't believe in the indianess of existing tribes truly serve the Commission adequately? truly serve the people adequately? How you gonna serve with half a heart?