[Foundation-l] Native American Tribes Policy

Philippe Beaudette philippebeaudette at gmail.com
Tue May 15 22:05:06 UTC 2007

Offlist to avoid cluttering it... but....

Yep.  That's right.  You said it better than I, and you eliminated all the maddening references to tribal politics, which truly are the worst politics (interesting aside - it was less than 8 years ago that the Cherokee Nation broke into two factions over a tribal election in which one faction occupied the square in the town of Tahlequah, the winning candidate in the election was arrested, and finally federal marshals, the BIA, SWAT teams and the CARTER CENTER were called in to sort the whole damned thing out.)  

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Fred Bauder 
  To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List 
  Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 4:57 PM
  Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Native American Tribes Policy

  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.
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  >foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
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