[Foundation-l] Native American Tribes Policy

Jeffrey V. Merkey jmerkey at wolfmountaingroup.com
Tue May 15 23:01:32 UTC 2007

Fred Bauder wrote:

>I think your concern is overblown. Most such issues are adequately resolved by Wikipedia:Verifiablility which requires a reliable source for information included in Wikipedia. These sources usually contain information which casts doubt on their status. Inclusion of that material under our Wikipedia:Neutral point of view usually adequately illustrates questions regarding status.
As was adequately demonstrated when the Southern Cherokee Nation article 
was deleted. I think I agree with you on these points.


>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Jeffrey V. Merkey [mailto:jmerkey at wolfmountaingroup.com]
>>Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 11:47 AM
>>To: 'Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List'
>>Subject: [Foundation-l] Native American Tribes Policy
>>I started a policy which was subsequently rejected by Wikiality based 
>>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.
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>>foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
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