So you wish you were an Indian, because they’re so spiritual and noble and one with nature — they’re so magical that having a name like Manny Two Feathers or Vicki Ghost Horse means the crap you sell on e-bay has extra cred and is worth more money.
Now you can be! It’s easy. There are plastic tribes popping up all over the place, and all it takes to become one is money.
The "United Cherokee Nation," which did not respond to Phoenix inquiries, charges a $35 application fee, while the "Western Cherokee Nation of Arkansas and Missouri" has a $60 application fee and a $10 annual roll fee. The "Cherokee of Lawrence County" don’t charge for membership but instead asks its members to "make it a priority to send $10 a month to help with the tribe" and $12 to subscribe to its newsletter.
Membership fees and dues are just two signs a "Cherokee" group isn’t legitimate, task force members said. Other signs include members using Indian-sounding names such as "Two Feathers" and "Wind Caller," acting and dressing like Hollywood-stereotyped Indians or Plains Indians, asking for money to perform DNA tests or genealogical research, requirements to wear regalia to meetings and requirements to go through an Indian-naming ceremony.
Once admitted into the groups, members usually get membership cards, bogus "Certified Degree of Indian Blood" cards and genealogy certificates "proving" they are eligible for membership.
You might notice the Cherokee mystique: most of the fake tribes seem to be some branch of the Cherokee nation. Apparently nobody wants to be a long lost member of the Humptulips tribe, or a Stillaguamish — although you’d think Lakota, with their history as the stereotypical Plains Indian, would be more popular.
They usually dress it up more, of course. The Red Nation of the Cherokee (totally fake) thinks that if you really feel like an Indian in your heart, then you ought to join the tribe.
We do not need to follow the standards of the antiquated BIA regulations/policies of the late 1700’s or after any longer! Which, dices people up into fractions and percentages, we are true human beings and a whole person.
Our beliefs are, if an individual is of multi-Nations, then they should be allowed to honor each of them in their own way, not being forced to choose one over the other.
We of the Red Clay People of all Nations believe, we should not have to prove our heritage’s on the talking leaves paper, but be allowed to prove in the older way, what is truth in our hearts.
The Creator has heard the prayers of the people, and gave vision to start RedNation of the Cherokee. To make a place, for all the people to have a home and family, to come to and to be finally called brother or sister and to be recognized as blood.
The “talking leaves paper”? Jebus. I know a lot of local Indians (UMM offers free tuition to people of real Indian descent, verified by membership on a real tribal roll), and not a one talks like that. They also don’t wear fringed buckskin clothes with feathers in their hair. You will occasionally see them in traditional costume — which is usually jeans and a plaid work shirt, with maybe a decorative bit of bead jewelry, or a feather in their cowboy hat — when artists and cultural representatives show up on campus for our yearly powwow of native music and dancing. But get real, these are human beings who are part of a changing culture — they are not the TV Indians who never left the 18th century.
I did find this fake tribe’s rationale amusing.
Another group asking for federal recognition is theCherokee of Lawrence County, Tenn.The tribe’s principal chief, Joe "Sitting Owl" White, said he eventually expects his tribe to be federally recognized because he and his 800 fellow members are Cherokee, and he cites photography as proof.
We’ve been called every name in the book, but we are Cherokee,he said.We can take photos of our members and hold them up and see the Cherokee in us.
He also said his tribe has scientifically proven with DNA evidence that the Cherokee people are Jewish.
You know, I actually wouldn’t be at all surprised if some members of the Cherokee of Lawrence County were certifiably and demonstrably of Jewish descent, so he might not be wrong about that. I should apply and join — they could test me and prove that Indians were also Celts who drifted over on a coracle, and Vikings who colonized the entire continent.