[Foundation-l] Native American Tribes Policy

Fred Bauder fredbaud at waterwiki.info
Tue May 15 21:57:02 UTC 2007

The proposed policy does not conform with Wikipedia:Neutral point of view which contemplates fair representation of all viewpoints which can be verified by reference to reliable sources. If a controversy exists regarding the legal status of a particular individual or group, we would report both sides of the controversy. The opinion of the Federal government is an important but not determining viewpoint with respect to knowledge.


>-----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.
>foundation-l mailing list
>foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org

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