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African-Native American Research Forum Archive

Fake Indian Tribes

(Cross-posted from another list)

I would be amiss if I did not mention one other thing. Operating in the United States at this time are over 300 "Lets Pretend that we are Cherokee" groups some actually calling themselves "Tribes". We have heard several
horror stories connected with these groups and feel that you should at least be made aware that they do exist. These organizations are charging
fees "for research" "membership assessments" for something called "legal fees" and a monthly or yearly fee for "belonging" to them. Check as to
exactly what this means before you invest your hopes dreams and money in membership.

Do not believe them when they tell you that they have "filed for federal recognition and expect to be recognized any day now"! ANYONE with common
sense could read the full Regulations (Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs publication 25 CF Part 83) and could well see that there is no way that they could POSSIBLY qualify for recognition as a tribe! Some of
these groups first filed back in the 1970's-- and have never again been heard from ("No further contact"). As long as they do not return the
official application to the DI and BIA then they cannot reject them. Therefore they can go on touting the tired old phrase "we have filed-- " as long as they can find people to pay their fees!

Joining or being members of these organizations would no more "prove" your Cherokee ancestry than your membership in The Cherokee Bowling League of Las Vegas NV or The Cherokee Health Center of Hoboken NJ! But if it will satisfy you to have a membership card from these organizations in your
billfold to show your friends -- then go for it! Just remember that the paper content of that card is more valuable than what is written upon it!

Even those who advertise that they are "State Certified" -- this does not obligate the state in any way to any of their members and the states feel that it might bring in some tourists and add to the local economy. Therefore the states would "certify" any group-- it's to their advantage.

If they are charging for membership-- then be wary; if in doubt as to their federal status check on them at: and/or call the Investigative Branch of the BIA at (202) 208-2753.


[9 Aug 1999]

Messages In This Thread

Fake Indian Tribes
Re: Fake Indian Tribes
Re: Fake Indian Tribes
Re: Fake Indian Tribes

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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