fyi: from what i understand of the old TCIA minutes, "individual" recognition was an after-thought of the TCIA's main concerns, (1) helping indian organizations obtain federal grants by validating their indian membership, and (2) preventing fraud on the public by false indian groups. these criteria were to be employed as guidelines -within- organizations in determining the indian qualifications of their board members and membership percentages (indian :: non-indian).

earliest drafts of the recognition criteria focused on qualifications of "tribes/bands" and "associations", and only later was specification added of how those groups were to internally quantify and qualify their membership. TNIAAC did the same in Knoxville this past september:


Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs
Minutes of the Meeting
August 1, 1987
[Red Clay State Park]

[page] 4.

Chairman Grant called on Bud Shepard of the Recognition Division of the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington. Mr. Shepard discussed recognition criteria. Mr. Grant stated that Ms Allen has been given the basic duties of drafting the criteria. The state legal department has revised some of the wording to clarify certain points. Mr. Shepard said their objective at the BIA is to locate and notify Indian groups that there is a process available if they are interested in petitioning the Federal government for recognition as an Indian Tribe. He said it costs the government about one million dollars for every 600 persons that are recognized. Basically what the government looks at are that a people clearly descended from an aboriginal tribe, they have a continuity as a group with some history that they governed themselves as a unit, and carried on business as a group. Mr. Shepard said much research was done with groups much as our Commission to determine acceptable criteria. The four basic characteristics are: 1. That they must be descended from an Indian Tribe--no quantum, simple descendance; 2. They must have historical continuity--that they must have been in existence and can trace back to an aboriginal tribe; 3. There must be a community--not widely disbursed over many miles, sometimes hundreds, ; and 4. They must have some way of governing themselves and carrying on business.

Mr. Shepard said he noticed that our criteria has provisions for other categories of membership and commended us for including this in our criteria. He stated that management of the information and ability to retrieve it in portions will be the key to success. He suggested that we determine why we are seeking recognition and firm up these convictions. He said that these quantums tend to become bound in concrete unless we are careful to allow for amendments. Mr. Shepard said that with effort those seeking recognition can come up with the customary standards of Family Bible, newspaper accounts, and other printed documents which can be acceptable ... almost anything can be used with good judgement. He reminded that the entire group do not have to be recognized; even the BIA makes these allowances; just a preponderance of the group need to be certified. The majority of Indian to others will need to be maintained and updated.

Mr. Yahola asked Mr. Shepard if Congress could pass laws to make people non-Indian, could Congress also pass laws to restore them to Indian status. Mr. Shepard said we all know that Congress can do what it wants to do, but the Congressmen do yield to pressures from voting groups. He suggested that if we want such legislation, we should gather the numbers for support.

Ms. Allen stated that her review of the revisions of the criteria showed that the basic intentions of the categories are still within the document. She recommended that the Commission plan to act on it and work toward implementation at the next meeting.



Chairman Grant asked Mr. Shepard that if we adopt a criteria, will the BIA accept our certification. Mr. Shepard said the BIA does not have anything to say about what the states do. It is alright with BIA for a state to set its criteria. If a state recognized group wishes to petition the Federal Government for recognition, the BIA will do its own research.

The Commission meeting was adjourned.

General Discussion by those attending followed.


Meeting, September 29, 1990, Millington TN

Seven individual applications for Indian recognition were reviewed and approved. Those approved were Megan Elizabeth Burleson, Martha Helen Street, Margaret Ann Baker Street, Richard E. Jackson, Charline Martin, Jack Martin, and John Martin.


Meeting, February 6, 1991, Knoxville TN

Area Reports

John Martin - NCAI [National Congress of American Indians] Convention report is expected to be sent to the commission office; copies will be sent to everybody when it arrives. Mr. Martin asked NCAI members about our /p2/recognition criteria. They criticized that we should set it one year off, and that it was too lenient.

John Martin - Enrollment applications were passed around to TCIA members to review. Harley Grant motioned to form a committee to review applicants. Ray Emanuel, Harley Grant and Ron Golden volunteered to review applications and be on the committee. They will meet before the meetings. /p3/
Applications should be submitted to them prior to the meetings.

Applications from Ruth Allen, Ramona Ijames, and Shelly and Gary Allen were approved. Ray Emanuel moved to accept them. Mary Solomon seconded the motion. The motion carried.


Harley Grant had concern about how people become recognized as Native Americans in Tennessee. John Martin suggested putting it on the agenda for the next meeting.


Meeting, February 22, 1992, Cookeville TN

Director's [Luvenia Butler] Report:
A list of all the Native American individuals enrolled within the state of Tennessee was provided in a package at the meeting. Also a revised list of addresses for the Indian organizations that are both officially/unofficially recognized in the sate, and the Commission members.

... /p3/

The Enrollment Committee approved three new individuals.