Six groups lose state recognition as Indian tribes

Nashviille, Tennessee (AP) September 2010

Six groups will lose their state recognition as Indian tribes in a court order that settles a lawsuit against the now-defunct Tennessee Commission on Indian Affairs.

The lawsuit claimed the panel violated the state's open meeting law on June 19 when members voted unanimously to recognize six Indian tribes in Tennessee for the first time.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported the details of the order prepared Sept. 2 by the state attorney general's office and a lawyer for the federally recognized Cherokee Nation. The agreed order, drafted for filing with Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle, may be formally filed and signed as soon as Sept. 3.

The groups that were given state recognition were the Remnant Yuchi Nation; United Eastern Lenape Nation of Winfield, Tennessee; Chikamaka Band; Central Band of Cherokee, also known as the Cherokee of Lawrence County; Cherokee Wolf Clan and Tanasi Council. That recognition is declared “void and of no effect” under the agreed court order.

None of the groups has been recognized by the federal government.

The lawsuit was brought by Nashville attorney Bob Tuke and lobbyist Mark Greene, both retained by the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation.

“This (order) renders null and void what the Commission on Indian Affairs did,” Tuke said. “Which means, since the commission no longer exists, it's over.”

The order said that the commission members violated the state's open meetings law by discussing plans for granting recognition in advance while failing to give public notice that recognition would be considered at its meeting.