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The website of the ONLY American Indian group in Sumter County that is recognized as such by the state of South Carolina.
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From the Administrator: Updated on September 8, 2019
Pony Hill tells us that Hodalee Sewell's new book, “Eyes on the Prize in the Native South: The Struggle for Federal Recognition in the 21st Century” is tentatively scheduled to be available after May 1st 2018. The work will address a major issue that is relevant to any state recognized tribe and its members.
As of 2018 the United States federal authorities have a special government to government relationship with the 567 federally acknowledged Indian tribes. These tribal governments and that relationship have long been fundamental to the American Indian identity for more than two centuries. The constitution of the United States grants Congress the right to interact with tribes. The Supreme Court of the United States in United States v. Sandoval, 231 U.S. 28 (1913) revealed the seriousness of the relationship when it stated, "it is not... that Congress may bring a community or body of people within range of this power by arbitrarily calling them an Indian tribe, but only that in respect of distinctly Indian communities the questions whether, to what extent, and for what time they shall be recognized and dealt with as dependent tribes". Federal tribal acknowledgement grants to Native American nations the right to certain benefits, and the process is largely controlled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), though petitioning tribes can go through congress to secure acknowledgement as well. To determine which
petitioning groups seeking acknowledgment were appropriate for such status during the 1970’s federal government authorities began to work to address the need for consistent established procedures and criteria for acknowledgement Adding impetus for such, several non-federally acknowledged tribes encountered difficulties in bringing land claims for redress. One such case was United States v. Washington (1974), which affirmed the fishing treaty rights of tribal groups in Washington State, and which led to other groups asserting that the federal government acknowledge their claims to aboriginal titles. These events led to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. This important federal legislation legitimized tribal governments by at least in part restoring aspects of Indian self-determination and governance which had in the past been ignored or suppressed. The Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1978 established a process of rules with seven core criteria that groups who sought to petition had to meet in order to secure federal tribal acknowledgment. Four of the criteria have repeatedly been difficult for many petitioners to document, including identity as a long-standing historical community, outside identification as Indians, continuity of political authority, and descent from a historical tribe. Petitioners seeking acknowledgment must submit extensive and expensive petitions to the BIA's Office of Federal Acknowledgment, and the process can take years, even decades. The Shinnecock Indian Nation formally petitioned for recognition in 1978 and was recognized 32 years later, in 2010. At a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing, witnesses testified that the process was "broken, long, expensive, burdensome, intrusive, unfair, arbitrary and capricious, less than transparent, unpredictable, and subject to undue political influence and manipulation." Recent legislation have led to significant changes to the acknowledgement process in response to a growing wave of concern as to the dysfunction and length of time the process takes by many agencies and petitioners. The backlog of petitioners had been greatly reduced and those who were longest in the process, over a dozen tribes, have been receiving expedited decisions. Key components of the seven criteria required for recognition relate to petitioners ties to historic tribes, a requirement which many tribes of the south have found challenging. The process though reformed. In the eyes of some still does not address the legacy of the historic experiences of colonial struggle, social marginalization, Jim Crow segregation, economic obstacles and climate change, forces continuing to shape the struggle for self-determination. This is the story of the Virginia’s “first contact” tribes, who recently gained federal acknowledgment, and of the Pointe-au-Chien Indians of Louisiana, and the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians whose tribal communities are still striving to secure it.
About the author: Hodalee “Christopher” Scott Sewell (Sumter Cheraw/Creek) is a counselor in the Florida State Department of Corrections, and a researcher and writer on race, culture, and identity in Native America, especially the historically non-federally recognized tribal groups. He has a B.S. in Sociology and an M.B.A., and has chaired the Apalachicola River Community of Indians Annual Conference for 22 years and is a member of the Wakokiye Tallassee Ceremonial Ground of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the Apalachicola River Community of Indians at dominickerindians.org. he lives in north Florida and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma.
Books by H.C. Scott Sewell (Available on Amazon, B&N, etc.)
The Indians of North Florida: From Carolina to Florida, the Story of the Survival of a Distinct American Indian Community (2011 with S. Pony HIll) in the early1800s, dozens of families of Catawbas, Sumter Cheraw, and Lumbee’s, fled war and oppression in the Carolinas and migrated to Florida, just as native Apalachicola Creeks were migrating away. Being neither Black nor White, the Cheraw descendants were persecuted by the harsh “racial” dichotomy of the Jim Crow era and almost forgot their proud heritage. Today they have rediscovered their past. This is their story.
Belles of the Creek Nation (2015) Belles of The Creek Nation is an innovative> and modern perspective investigating the problematic linkages between preservation of cultural heritage, maintaining cultural diversity, defining and establishing cultural citizenship, and ancient tribal
rite of passage.
The Cherokee Paradox: Unexpected Ancestry at the Crossroads of Identity and Genetics (2016) Genetics has brought to light in stunning detail the origins, continual migrations, and intermixture of humanity as how our ancestors spread across the planet. The complexity of this story has taken many by surprise.
Indians of Alabama: Guide to the Indian Tribes of the Yellowhammer State (2016) Unknown too many outside of their small communities, there are still many Alabamians who identify as Native Americans.
We Will Always Be Here: Native Peoples on Living and Thriving in the South (Anthology, 2016) The history of Native Americans in the U.S. South is a turbulent one, rife with conflict and inequality.
Redbone Chronicles (Anthology, 2016) The history, genealogy and origins of the people known as Redbone, the Redbone Heritage Foundation began publishing a collection of conference presentations, articles and essays and genealogies in the Redbone Chronicles, edited by Don C.
Marler and Gary "Mishiho" Gabehart.
The Red Road: A Cheraw Language Primer (2017, with S. Pony Hill)
The One Drop (2017)
A Type of People: the Indians of Holmes County Florida (2017, with S. Pony Hill) Hodalee Scott Sewell
Career Development Specialist Gulf Correctional Institute (850) 639-7435
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Thanks to Pony Hill for passing along the news of the release date of another H. C. Sewell book whose subject and information could prove helpful to any American Indian tribe member.
Images from the Cultural Festival previously celebrated at the Sumter County Museum
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The Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians