- Published on Wednesday, 18 August 2010 12:25
New Age Tribal Identity Theft - Whose Tribal Identity To Steal?
The "Remnant Yuchi Nation" of Kingsport, Tennessee applied for state tribal recognition from the Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs on June 19, 2010, eleven days before the Commission terminated. The "Remnant Yuchi Nation" had been applying to the Tennessee legislature each year since 2008, along with five other groups, for official recognition as a Native American Indian tribe. The State Commission of Indian Affairs approved new previously undisclosed recognition criteria internal rules at its June 19 meeting, then used the new rules to approve all applications and granted the six groups official status as state tribes on that same date. Controversy surrounds the groups' applications and the approval process, including shock that the "Remnant Yuchi Nation" application contained just four sentences in response to questions regarding its history, governance and membership.
The longstanding controversy also includes allegations of cultural theft -- appropriation of a legitimate tribe's history for these groups' purposes of obtaining official recognition from the State of Tennessee. The leader of the "Remnant Yuchi Nation" is on record as writing, "I am not Yuchi. I have never claimed Yuchi. My blood line is Pamunkey/Monacan with provable paper trail. I only intend to build a Yuchi village, because I believe the Yuchi were in this area. Many of the native here are Yuchi Descendants, as well as Cherokee, Shawnee, Monacan, etc." - Lee Vest, August 30, 2007
Below is a document attesting to the date and time at which the members of the group previously known as the "Appalachian Confederated Tribes" approved the falsification of Native American identity. It was previously reported that the purpose of the fraud was to avoid any claim to Cherokee identity so that the group would not run afoul of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and its formidable legal resources.
The Euchee (Yuchi) Tribe of Oklahoma is a political subunit of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma and has no legal department, and therefore was not expected to be able to mount any legal defense against the theft and abuse of its name and historical identity in Tennessee.
There is no basis for the claim below that Cherokee ancestry is equal to Yuchi ancestry. Cherokee is an Iroquoian language from the north, unrelated to other native Tennessee languages. The Yuchi language is unique in North America, unrelated to any other, but the tribe associated politically with the Muscogee (Creek) in the 18th and 19th century. The Muscogee and Cherokee were traditional enemies, as demonstrated in the battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814 in Alabama at which the combined forces of the United States of America and the Cherokee defeated the Muscogee and Yuchi. Equating Cherokee with Yuchi ancestry is false and misleading, but obviously useful to create a false Native American group identity in northeast Tennessee.