Editorial: Lawmakers shouldn't decide recognition
"The Tennessee House of Representatives sent a bill that could have given state recognition to local Yuchi Indians to “summer study” on Tuesday, effectively killing the measure for another year. We’re glad to see this bill stalled, since tribal leaders from other states expressed doubt about the validity of the Yuchi claims.

For bill supporters, like Chief Lee Vest, it’s another year to convince lawmakers that his claims are legitimate. Vest wants state recognition for the Yuchi and asked Rep. Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol, to carry the bill in the House and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, to support the measure in the state Senate.

On Sunday we urged the Legislature to turn this question back to the Tennessee Indian Commission, even though the Tennessee attorney general in 2007 issued an opinion that state lawmakers have the authority to recognize Indian tribes. We don’t believe the AG’s opinion gives state lawmakers expert understanding of Indian affairs and history. We fear there is a chance that groups that are not aligned with recognized, established tribes could gain state recognition. That would pave the way for federal recognition and associated scholarships, business loans and other funds."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Yuchi Bill Stuck In Summer Study (The Bristol Herald Courier 5/28)

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