Recognizing more tribes means fewer funds for existing tribes
In “State tribes become a concern for some” (News, May 6), the effects of state tribes is grossly overstated. New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Indiana and Louisiana recognize tribes and have agencies dealing with said tribes. Tribes like the Unkechaug, Schagticoke, Nanticoke, Pamunkey, Coharie, Natchez-Kusso, Mowa Choctaw, Miami of Indiana and United Houma Nation, not forgetting about a dozen more, have had historical recognition in books, and some have state reservations and had long involvement in Indian boarding schools prior to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision that integrated schools for blacks and Indians in the Piedmont and Southeast areas. Prior to that, the Nanticokes, Houmas, Mowa Choctaws and Lumbees couldn't go to white schools.
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Researchers such as the late Frank Speck spoke to the authenticity of state tribes after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Many of these tribes maintain their culture and languages due to geographical and racial isolation, unlike some of the larger tribes in eastern Oklahoma. To hear Kerry Holton of the Absentee Delaware speak to being overwhelmed by fake tribes makes me laugh. The problem here is these larger Oklahoma tribes don't differentiate between numerous fake Cherokee tribes in Missouri and Arkansas and these legitimate state tribes. The overall budget for these state tribes doesn't probably even add up to a tribe's yearly earnings at some of the larger tribal casinos in eastern Oklahoma.
These tribes need to research history before they point fingers at the tribes that stayed against all odds.
Mike Ford, Baldwin City, Kan.
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