Chad Smith: Cherokees of Alabama not legitimate
"I read with great interest the story by Andy Powell in the June 11 Gadsden Times, "Group seeks recognition as tribe," about the so-called Cherokees of Alabama applying for federal recognition and inquiring about an electronic bingo permit. This group is not affiliated in any way with the real Cherokee Nation or with the two federally recognized Cherokee tribes.

Although the so-called Cherokees of Alabama have been "recognized" by the state of Alabama, state recognition requires no process for documentation as a legal, historic tribal government. State recognition often gives fraudulent tribes undeserved credibility and improper access to funding. It also violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Fraudulent groups and individuals passing themselves off as Native Americans have become big business, with more than 200 groups that claim to be some sort of Cherokee tribe. There also are hundreds of individuals who claim to be Cherokee or from the Cherokee Nation and offer services ranging from teaching culture to spiritual advice. The Cherokee Nation does not question anyone's claims of heritage or ancestry, but points out the significant difference between claiming heritage and having citizenship in a federally recognized tribe."

Get the Story:
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith: Not legitimately Cherokee (The Gadsden Times 7/1)

Related Stories:
Cherokees of Alabama seek federal recognition (6/12)