Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory

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The Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory, also known as the Northern Cherokee Nation, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of individuals who identify as Cherokee but have not been recognized as a government. Members live primarily in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Their current Chief is Chief Grey Elk.[1] The name of the group originated in 1978 and in 1991 after learning more of their history, changed it to Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory to better describe the history of who they are. In an attempt to gain gambling and bingo in Missouri an illegal election was held at which time a group usurped the Northern Cherokee name and attempted to steal the Not for Profit Corporation that has been held by the Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory since 1982.[citation needed] After this was discovered, the new group was indicted by a Cole County Grand Jury, thus ending the attempt.[citation needed] Unfortunately, due to confusion, the Northern Cherokee which began as one people, splintered off into other groups which included the "Northern Cherokee Nation of Arkansas and Missouri" in the same year; a separate splinter became the "Sac River and White River Bands of the Chickamauga Cherokee Indian Nation of Arkansas and Missouri", which had its own split producing the "Chickamauga Cherokee Nation White River Band".[citation needed] Today, the Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory, continues as the only group that has claims state recognition in Missouri[2] and Arkansas by way of two Governor's Proclamations and Resolutions.[citation needed] However, the Northern Cherokee Nation's claim of Missouri state recognition is sometimes called "misleading," because, according "to a master list maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Missouri recognizes no Indian tribes except those recognized by the federal government."[3][4] The original Northern Cherokee Nation claimed to have been organized since the late 18th century.[citation needed] The headquarters of this group is located in Columbia, Missouri.[citation needed]

Sign for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

Relationship with the federally recognized Cherokees[edit]

In 2000 the U.S. census report 729,533 people self identified as Cherokee Indian, more than twice the population of the second most populous American Indian group, the Navajo people, who numbered 298,197.[5] This figure is also more than twice the population of current estimates of all three federally recognized tribes combined.

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma issued a statement asserting that some Cherokee Heritage Groups are encouraged but those that use words that imply governance are not.[6] In 2008 the leadership of the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians signed a resolution to oppose fabricated Cherokee 'tribes' and denounced state and federal recognition of any new "Cherokee" tribes or bands. The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians did not participate in the resolution.[7]

In 2018, The Northern Cherokee Nation's ability to sell Native American art and works was confronted in an approved bill from the Missouri House Special Committee on Small Business "that would ban people who are not citizens of federally recognized American Indian tribes from selling their arts and crafts as authentic American Indian work." Chief Grey Elk of the Northern Cherokee Nation claims that "the proposed legislation grew out of the animosity between the Northern Cherokee and the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, a federally recognized tribe. The CN has long disputed the legitimacy of the Northern Cherokee Nation." [8]

Terry Lee Whetstone, a member of the Northern Cherokee Nation,[9] was charged with "falsely portraying himself as Cherokee" to sell "authentic Native American" artwork for "high prices." [10] However, "Whetstone was selling at powwows and art fairs using a fraudulent Cherokee Nation card."[11][12]

Rocky Miller, a congressman and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, has said that the proclamation issued on June 1983 by then-governor Kit Bond where Bond "acknowledged the existence of the Northern Cherokee Tribe" as "an American Indian Tribe within the State of Missouri" and declared June 24, 1983 Northern Cherokee Recognition Day, "does not make the Northern Cherokee a state-recognized tribe" because "Missouri has no established process for recognizing state tribes, and a list of state-recognized tribes will vary, depending on who you ask."[13]

Recognition status[edit]

Federal recognition of an Indian tribe can be achieved in one of three ways; by recognition through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, recognition through Acts of Congress or recognition through Courts of Law. State recognition of an Indian tribe differs from state to state but fall into one of four methods, namely: passage of State Statutes and Acts, recognition through State Regulatory Processes, recognition through Joint and Concurrent Resolutions, and recognition through Treaties, Proclamations and Executive Orders. In both cases recognition is accomplished by meeting the requisites for any one of the relative methods of recognition. That means that the BIA can recognize a group and yield that group recognition or Congress can pass a bill recognizing the group.[14]

The NCNOLT is not a federally recognized Indian tribe but is considered state recognized by way of executive mandate according to some sources.[citation needed] However the Missouri American Indian Council asserts "there are no domestic Indian tribes recognized by the state," insisting that an executive mandate does not constitute the appropriate avenue of recognition but that it must be done by the passage of a state law in the state of Missouri. The NCNOLT has attempted multiple times, since around 1983, to clarify state recognition in Missouri (where it has a 200-year residency) and Arkansas but have not been successful. [15] They have received three declarations from different state governors acknowledging "Northern Cherokee Recognition Day" and the presence of the Northern Cherokee since the late 18th century in the states of Missouri and Arkansas and one county, Boone County in Missouri.[citation needed] The Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory filed a Letter of Intent to Petition with the Bureau of Indian Affairs on February 19, 1992, but as of September 22, 2008, no decision had been reached,[16] because the group has submitted no documentation (as of February 15, 2007).[17]

According to the document signed by Mel Carnahan the Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory is the same tribal entity as the Northern Cherokee Nation that was recognized by Kit Bond in 1983 and the original body from which sprang out other splinter groups.

The "Lost Tribe"[edit]

The leader of the Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory, Beverly Baker Northup, published a book in 2001 entitled We Are Not Yet Conquered and in the first chapter featured an explanation to the origins of the ancestry of the Cherokee people. Northup explains in this chapter that she believes that a group of Middle Eastern people (she suggests they could have been Sicarii and surviving defenders of Masada) crossed the Atlantic Ocean and intermarried with Indian peoples making up the Cherokee.[18] Northup's suggestion of Jewish ancestry for Cherokee people was featured in the book Weird Missouri and was compared to the Mormon belief system;[19] a similar idea also forms part of the beliefs of Christian Identity and British Israelism. The claimed connection between Amerindians and the 10 Lost Tribes has spread on Indian and Israelite oriented websites alike and has sparked disdain as well as approval.[20][21][22][23]

Controversy[edit]

Dr. Carol Morrow from the Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau suggested that eligibility for membership is determined by Beverly Baker Northup who has been voted out of office more than once and who has obtained $120,000 in federal grant money to be used for completing the tribe's federal recognition process, which has not yet been completed.[24] Northup believes that Governor Mel Carnahan's bill of acknowledgment speaks to her legitimacy in office as the question of her having been voted out of office predated 1996.[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ASSOCIATED PRESS. "Missouri lawmakers try to define real Native American art". Cherokee Phoenix. Cherokee Phoenix. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  2. ^ ASSOCIATED PRESS. "Missouri lawmakers try to define real Native American art". Cherokee Phoenix. Cherokee Phoenix. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  3. ^ Russell, Steve. "Fake Indian Terry Lee Whetstone Convicted Under Indian Arts and Crafts Act". Indian Country Today.
  4. ^ ICT Staff. "Feds: Artist Terry Lee Whetstone Is a Fake Indian". Indian Country Today. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  5. ^ https://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/09s0036.pdf
  6. ^ Official Statement Cherokee Nation 2000, Pierpoint 2000.
  7. ^ Joint Council of the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Resolution #00-08. A Resolution Opposing Fabricated Cherokee "Tribes" and "Indians."
  8. ^ ASSOCIATED PRESS. "Missouri lawmakers try to define real Native American art". Cherokee Phoenix. Cherokee Phoenix. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  9. ^ Williams, Mary Elizabeth. "Two prominent Native Americans accused of faking their Cherokee heritage: "They're just trying to make a buck off of us"". Salon. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  10. ^ Munro, Cait. "Kansas City Artist Accused of Posing as Native American to Sell His Art". ArtNet News. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  11. ^ Russell, Steve. "Fake Indian Terry Lee Whetstone Convicted Under Indian Arts and Crafts Act". Indian Country Today. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Odessa Man Sentenced for Selling Fake Indian Art". Department of Justice. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  13. ^ ASSOCIATED PRESS. "Missouri lawmakers try to define real Native American art". Cherokee Phoenix. Cherokee Phoenix. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  14. ^ Federalism and the State Recognition of Native American Tribes: A Survey of State-Recognized Tribes and State Recognition Processes Across the United States By Alexa Koenig and Jonathan Stein pages 16-30
  15. ^ Federalism and the State Recognition of Native American Tribes: A Survey of State-Recognized Tribes and State Recognition Processes Across the United States By Alexa Koenig and Jonathan Stein pages 24-30, 61 and 62 url= https://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1123&context=lawreview
  16. ^ Fleming, R. Lee (2008-09-22). "List of Petitioners by State" (PDF). Bureau of Indian Affairs. p. 30. Retrieved 2009-05-30.[dead link]
  17. ^ Office of Federal Acknowledgement (2007-02-15). "Status Summary of Acknowledgement Cases" (PDF). Bureau of Indian Affairs. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
  18. ^ Northup, Beverly Baker (2001-07-26). We Are Not Yet Conquered. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-56311-673-5.
  19. ^ Strait, James; Mark Moran; Mark Sceurman (2008-11-04). Weird Missouri. New York City: Sterling Publishing. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-1-4027-4555-3.
  20. ^ http://israelinsider.ning.com/forum/topics/missouri-cherokee-tribes
  21. ^ http://tracingthetribe.blogspot.com/2006/12/judaism-in-appalachia.html
  22. ^ http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/News/News.aspx?StoryID=2389
  23. ^ http://www.israpundit.com/2008/?p=1700
  24. ^ "Native American Indian identity remains in question"
  25. ^ Northup, Beverly Baker (2001-07-26). We Are Not Yet Conquered. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-56311-673-5.

External links[edit]