Friday, April 11, 2008

The New “Cherokee Tribe” Of South Carolina

Clifton Bruce Newby Sr. and his son, Dr. Clifton Bruce Newby Jr., of Columbia, S.C., are now advertising for members to join a “new Cherokee tribe” in Midlands. The Newby’s are associated with the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois & United Tribes or of South Carolina, Inc, (aka Cherokee Indian Tribe of South Carolina or ECSIUT). ECSIUT became recognized as a “tribe” by South Carolina in 2005. In fact, all of the seven state “tribes” recognized by S.C. have received their recognition since 2004. These recognitions were given in spite of serious flaws in the different applications, including the inability to show that the groups were historically documented. The complete recognition process used by the state is based on revisionist history and unsubstantiated documentation.

The recognition process is regulated under the Commission for Minority Affairs, Chapter 130, Statutory Authority: S.C. Code Section 1-31-40(A)(10). The regulations are basically actually worthless. The Indian Affairs Commission has 120 days to investigate, review, and make a decision on any applicant for tribal recognition. An alternative is for a group to use the courts and sue the state for recognition.

It’s a coin toss if the Newby’s will be allowed to call their group a “tribe”. The existing seven “tribes”, with their flawed recognition, got away with calling their organizations a tribe prior to their recognition. Now that they have what they wanted (other than federal recognition) they don’t want any other organization to call itself a “tribe”. The recognized “tribes” are complaining that other organizations are using the term “tribe”, and don’t like it. Pressure is being put on the Senate and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to pass bill S.1125, which would monitor the designation of “tribe” by groups that file with the Secretary of State’s Office.

As with so many other states, I doubt that anyone in the South Carolina government would be able to tell the difference between a real historical tribe and fabricated one in the first place.

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