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Federal Recognition
Loss of Delaware recognition prompts recall of chief


Members of the Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma voted 551-260 to recall Chief Joe Brooks.

The campaign to oust Brooks began when the tribe lost federal recognition, said Curtis Zunigha, a council member and former chief. Opponents criticized Brooks for the tribe's bad fortunes, Zunigha said.

The tribe was considered part of the Cherokee Nation under a treaty. But in 1996, the Bureau of Indian Affairs recognized the Delawares as a separate entity, prompting the Cherokees to file a lawsuit.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the BIA failed to consider the treaty and other factors and revoked the decision. The tribe has since been taken off the list of federally recognized entities and has lost federal funding from the BIA.

The Cherokee Nation reportedly supports recognition for the tribe through special legislation. The Cherokees backed such legislation for the Shawnee Tribe, which was recognized by an act of Congress in 2000.

Get the Story:
Delaware vote to recall chief (The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise 11/9)

10th Circuit Decision:
Cherokee Nation v. Norton (November 16, 2004)

Lower Court Decision:
Cherokee Nation v. DOI (7/23)

Relevant Documents:
Federal Register Notice/Ada Deer Announcement (September 1996)

Relevant Links:
Delaware Tribe of Indians - http://www.delawaretribeofindians.nsn.us
Cherokee Nation - http://www.cherokee.org

Related Stories:
Supreme Court refuses Delaware Tribe's case (10/04)
Delaware Tribe kicked off federally recognized list (03/22)
Delaware Tribe loses separate federal status (11/17)
'Fight the Cherokee Nation until hell freezes over' (11/17)
Oklahoma tribes lead pack in out-of-state land claims (08/16)
Delaware Tribe wants out-of-state land for casino (10/19)
Delaware Tribe seeks land in Kansas for gaming (04/23)
Delaware tribal ties to Penn. uncontested (05/20)
Delaware ancestor was granted 315 acres in Penn. (5/16)
Delaware tribal status dispute continues (08/01)
Okla. tribe seeks Cherokee independence (7/31)
Clinton signs a final Indian bill (12/29)