Monday, April 28, 2008

A Study Of How Congress Is Manipulated: Chapter 4

Continuing comments addressing Section 2 of S.514 AND H.R. 2028

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (7)(A) in 1974, the State of Florida established the Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council to manage issues relating to Creek Indians in northwest Florida;


The Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council was not established in 1974, but in 1975. It was the Florida Governor's Council on Indian Affairs, Inc. that was established in 1974, under Governor Askew’s Executive Order #74-23.

The statute creating the NW Florida Creek Indian Council, created by House Bill 2306, took effect on 1 July, 1975 without the bill receiving the Governor’s signature. Why the Governor refused to sign the bill is open to conjecture, as he was from NW Florida and interested in Indian affairs. In 2001, the Florida Creek Indian Council in F.S. 285.19 was removed from Chapter 285 and ceased to exist. Source: State of Florida

Misleading Claim:

Sec 2 (7)(B) in 1978, the Council held an election for representatives to the tribal government known as the `Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians', which is now the Muscogee Nation of Florida;


First of all, tribes elect their own government and council, not outside local, state, or federal agencies. Claim (3)(A) and this claim are in conflict. Claim (3)(A) states that the organization’s tribal government continued to be through traditional methods. Having tribal government representatives elected by the NW Council is not a traditional process.

The initial election was held on June 19, 1976 and centered around five groups in Pensacola who were fighting each other to be in charge of receiving federal grants. As with other similar organizations in other states, some of these “clans” were recently split from each other. The “Lower Muskogees” had split into a group called the Coweta Clan - which was said to have been dominated by it’s evangelical Baptist leaders. This split is said to have occurred because of disagreements over the scheduling of powwow dance practices. Then the Cowetas split after a bitter schism of their own that involved the management of their dance group, plus charges of favoritism in assigning dance roles and racial discrimination. Tom Crooks split from the Tuckabatchee Clan because of a quarrel with another member and formed the Coosawattie Creek clan. (Crook described his Clan as being composed of local Eagle Scouts and other non-Creeks, as well as Creek descendants.)

Bitter fighting between the groups escalated when Governor Askew announced his appointments to the eleven member Council. Pensacola 's fifth clan was established around this time by Perloca Linton. She claimed that her group would conduct the election. The Pensacola News-Journal, along with area non-Indians, joined the fray. The newspaper supported the legislature's council over Mrs. Linton's group.

Fewer that 400 people voted in the election, which was won by TV wrestling narrator Leroy Morris. Morris announced that he would head a council of representatives from seven panhandle counties-over which he will be chief. Subcouncils were also to be formed in each county will also be formed. Morris’s own Creek blood was questioned by other Clans, which claimed that Morris had
announced at a Creek powwow he emceed in the fall of 1975 that he wasn't an Indian and became an honorary tribe member at the weekend affair.

Morris then orchestrated a recruiting campaign to increase Eastern Creek members. According to Jack Bridges, a spokesperson for the Escambia County School Board, school children were even signed up by Eastern Creek leaders during class hours. Morris is reportedly to have explained this enrollment campaign by the statement: "The more people we represent the more federal funds we can qualify for."

Source: Extracts from a Tampa Times series on the Eastern Creeks and the NW Florida Creek Indian Council by Jim Seale.

A similar situation of enrolling school students and families occurred more recently by the “Lost Cherokee of Arkansas and Missouri in their scam with Arkansas School Districts to receive Office of Indian Education Title VII grants and increase their enrollment base.

Misleading Claim:

Sec. 2 (8) in 1986, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Florida passed resolutions recognizing the Muscogee Nation of Florida as an Indian tribe;


The 1986 resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 657) recognized Creek history and presence in Florida in general. It did not provide state recognition as a tribe to the organization.

When the Florida Tribe of Eastern Creeks attempted to establish a bingo hall in 1988 (the group had hired a Pensacola management firm to build and operate a 50,000-square-foot bingo parlor on 26 acres in south Walton County), Senator Childers inquired about the legality of the organization being a state recognized tribe. As a result, the Florida Attorney General issued Advisory Legal Opinion Number: AGO 88-18, dated May 6, 1988, which makes it perfectly clear that the 1986 resolution “does not, in my opinion, grant any additional rights to the Eastern Creek Indians but merely acknowledges their presence in Florida. Moreover, the resolution, which merely expresses the will or opinion of the Legislature does not have the force of law.”

The 1988 opinion provides the following references:

FN1 See, Black's Law Dictionary, Resolution 1474 (4th rev. ed. 1968) ("the adoption of a motion, the subject-matter of which would not properly constitute a statute; such as a mere _expression of opinion; ...a vote of thanks...."). Cf., 62 C.J.S. Municipal Corporations s. 411, stating: “A resolution has also been distinguished from an ordinance in that an ordinance is a continuing regulation, a permanent rule of conduct or government, while a resolution ordinarily is an act of a special or temporary character, not prescribing a permanent rule of government, but is merely declaratory of the will or opinion of a municipal corporation in a given matter, and in the nature of a ministerial or administrative act, and is not a law.”

FN2 658 F.2d 310 (5th Cir.1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1020 (1982).

FN3 107 S.Ct. 1083 (1987).

The State of Florida does not have any state recognized tribes. It only recognizes tribes that are Federally recognized.

A similar claim was made in the earlier BIA petition that included the “Creek Nation East”. It was asserted that The Creek Nation East was recognized as an Indian Tribe by Florida under Florida Statute F.S. 1979, Chapter 285, Indian Reservations. However, the statute actually referred to the Muscogee or Cow Creek bands of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. (F.S.: Ch 285:06(2) and Ch 285:07(1).

Note that it is common for organizations such as this to claim to be state recognized, when they are not. The URB and it’s involvement with the Lewis and Clark Mint pouches is but one example.

To be continued.

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