[Foundation-l] Native American Tribes Policy

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Tue May 15 17:40:53 UTC 2007

The idea that federal recognition somehow confers validity upon a
tribe, peoples, or nation is a ridiculous one.

Yes, there are people who impersonate Indians. Yes, there are fake
tribes. But then there are also people who really are Indians but
whose tribes are not federally recognized. You have equated this on
Talk:Cherokee with being a "wannabee" and having lost language and

You have also shown surprising ignorance towards US Indian Policy by
stating that states don't have the power to recognize tribes. (it is
Congress' job to regulate commerce with tribes, but that does not mean
that states, municipalities and other local government entities cannot
enter into contractual relationships with tribes amounting to a sort
of recognition).

In fact, Alabama has a committee especially for that purpose. The
federal government seems to have no issue with that.

Of course, is someone is saying they're a member of CNO when they're
not, that's one thing. But saying that they are Cherokee, that is not
illegal by any measure.

Many groups that were recognized at one point are no longer recognized
due to the policy of termination. That does not mean they have ceased
to exist as a people, or that their cultures are dead, just that they
are not recognized by the BIA, an agency with incredibly racist and
colonialistic roots in the first place.


On 15/05/07, Jeffrey V. Merkey <jmerkey at wolfmountaingroup.com> wrote:
> I started a policy which was subsequently rejected by Wikiality based
> concensus.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Native_American_Tribes
> The basic problem here is that non-Federally recognized groups claiming
> to be Indian Tribes can expose the Foundation and Wikipedia to
> considerable liability and negative publicity.   By way of example, when
> James Mooney was indicted in Utah for impersonating an Indian not only
> was he charged, so was the person running his websites and posting the
> false information.  Mooney was indicted for 19 first degree felony
> counts for operating a CEE (Continuing Criminal Enterprise) for the
> purposes of distributing peyote.  The Southern Cherokee Nation (which is
> not a real tribe) under currently operating illegal riverboat casinos
> and using their claims of being a Federally recognized tribe to justify
> their activities.
> Wikipedia needs to exclude these fake tribe from the project.  Any of
> these tribes can bring legal action against the Foundation, as can the
> Federal Government if fake groups are allowed to claim they are indian
> tribes, then use Wikipedia as a basis to claim credibility and break the
> law.  This can have two possible outcomes.   The genuine tribes (who
> have Federal support and Federal funding) can withdraw financial support
> from the project and/or Wikipedia can be exposed to negative publicity
> and loss of public trust by the legitimate tribes, as well as being
> exposed to Federal Prosecution if these groups use the project to
> violate US laws.
> I am of Cherokee, German, and English ancestry, but I do not claim I am
> a citizen of Germany or the UK., even though I am of these bloodlines as
> well as Cherokee.  The same applies to Native Tribes recognized by the
> US Government.  These tribes are sovereign governments, and members are
> citizens.   For someone who claims Indian ancestry to set themselves up
> as a tribe purports claims they are citizens of a non-recgnized
> sovereign.   It would be the same as for me to claim I am a German or UK
> citizen just because I have ancestry from these groups, which would be a
> false claim.  The same applies to Indian Nations.
> I will be unable to garner support from the tribes to publicly support
> Wikipedia from other tribes if such a policy does not exist, since any
> fake group can claim they are an indian tribe when they are not.  Please
> read the text of the policy, and the Foundation needs to make a decision
> about this matter.  Tribes which are not Federally recognized in the US
> are NOT indian tribes, and numerous legal liabilities are created if we
> allow these groups to post false information into the project.
> Jeff
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