FROM THE ARCHIVE

BIA said to recognize Seminole council

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MONDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2002

The Department of Interior has recognized the governing body of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, tribal officials said.

According to a letter dated November 29, Assistant Secretary Neal McCaleb said Jerry Haney was still considered the principal chief of the tribe. McCaleb also said all but four members of the 24-member general council, those who represent descendants of African slaves, were legally elected.

The letter, the tribe said in a statement, to Haney read: "the Department has recognized you as Chief, Mr. Factor as Assistant Chief, and now recognizes the General Council Band Representatives for all the bands except the two Freedman Bands."

Wayne Shaw, acting chair of the council, welcomed the decision. "This is good news for the people of Seminole Nation. The overwhelming majority of support from tribal members has been for the recognition of the council," he said in a statement.

"Now we have to begin the process of re-establishing federal funding to the Nation. We have complied with our laws and it's good to see that the Interior is finally complying with the federal court decision," he added.

Shaw was referring to a September 23 decision by a federal judge in Washington, D.C. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said the Bureau of Indian Affairs can continue to recognize Haney and those council members properly elected.

The BIA, however, wouldn't recognize the council members. The stalling hindered the tribe's businesses and other programs, tribal officials said.

Relevant Links:
Seminole Nation of Oklahoma - http://www.cowboy.net/native/seminole

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