BIA tells tribe state where to go
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AUGUST 10, 2000

Bureau of Indian Affairs researchers told the state of Connecticut and two Eastern Pequot tribes that they could potentially find valuable evidence not in Connecticut, but in the neighboring state of Rhode Island.

Due to the close proximity of the Lantern Hill reservation, where the Eastern Pequot and the Paucatuck Eastern Pequot tribes reside, to Rhode Island, Virginia DeMarce and George Roth recommended the tribes look there in order to strengthen their petitions.

Both cited evidence of inter-tribal marriage among the two Eastern Pequot tribes and the Narragansett tribe in Rhode Island as some of the reasoning behind their suggestion. They specifically cited ties to the town of Charlestown, where the Narragansett tribe is based.

The Narragansett tribe is a designated interested party in the petitions of the two tribes. Preservation officer John Brown attended the two-day meeting held this week in Washington, DC, occasionally offering the Narragansett perspective on the evidence.

The state of Connecticut attempted to object to Brown's comments, however. Brown was allowed by the Department of Interior to make his comments.

The presence of Narragansett families and ancestry in the two Eastern Pequot tribes appeared to be one of many sticking point for the state. Assistant Attorney General Daniel Schaefer questioned whether the current membership of the Pequot tribes are descendants of the historical tribe.

If they are not, the state reasoned, they could be of a generic "Indian" heritage, of Narragansett heritage, or not Indian at all, as the state sometimes allowed poor citizens of non-Indian heritage to reside on the Lantern Hill reservation.

But DeMarce rejected those questions. Along with citing specific evidence such as state records and the US Census which specifically differentiate between the Eastern Pequot tribe and non-Eastern Pequots living on the reservation, she said she compared genealogy lists of the Eastern Pequot tribes to the other groups and found little coincidence.

In an early morning session before the formal meeting, DeMarce gave Schaefer a quick lesson in genealogy. She demonstrated the Family Tree software program to him and provided him with a printed report and a privacy-protected diskette copy of her findings on the Eastern Pequot's genealogy.

Ed. Note: John Brown was mistakenly identified as Matthew Thomas, Chief Sachem of the Narragansett Tribe.

Relevant Links:
Family Tree Software -
Connecticut Attorney General's Office -
Media Advisory, Pequot Meeting (includes map of location) -
The Bureau of Indian Affairs -
Eastern Pequot Preliminary Recognition -
Paucatuck Eastern Pequot Preliminary Recognition -

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BIA meeting to focus on recognition (Tribal Law 8/4)
Town: Gover a 'mockery' (The Talking Circle 05/25)
Gover wants BIA out of nastiness (Tribal Law 5/25)
Key Provisions of the Indian Federal Recognition Administrative Procedures Act of 1999 (Tribal Law 5/25)
BIA eases recognition process (Tribal Law 5/22)

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