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Bill offers recognition to Indiana Miami tribe

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Brian Buchanan, chief of the Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana, hopes his 86-year-old father lives long enough to see the state formally acknowledge the existence of his tribe. Buchanan has an ally in Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, who has filed legislation – Senate Bill 2 – that would offer the Miami state recognition.

Head introduced similar legislation in 2011, but the bill died in committee and was never assigned to a summer study committee. Both Head and Buchanan said the bill failed because some lawmakers mistakenly assumed that state recognition would allow the Miami to build a casino. Only federally recognized tribes that meet certain conditions may build casinos, and Buchanan wants to make sure legislators are aware of that.

eiteljorg Wap Shing, then-Spiritual Leader of the Miami Indians, along with Chief Brian Buchanan of the Miami Indians of the State of Indiana, leads the congregation in a spiritual blessing during the 2005 opening ceremony for the Eiteljorg Museum. (Photo courtesy Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.)

“We’ve tried to penetrate the political atmosphere by giving them mailers and passing out information and showing them the difference, but they’ve got this mentality that the Miami want a casino,” Buchanan said. “Even if we did have federal recognition, this tribe would never go for that. We’ve seen too many tribes self-destruct.”

Historical background

In 1980, Indiana’s Miami tribe petitioned the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs for federal recognition. More than a decade later, in 1992, the BIA rejected the tribe’s application for failure to meet all requirements for recognition.

The BIA’s decision was published in the Federal Register, Vol. 57, No. 118 (June 18, 1992), and explained that the Miami had not met two requirements outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 25, Part 83. The BIA said the Miami Nation of Indiana failed to maintain political influence over its members as an autonomous entity through the present day. The BIA also stated that while the Miami of Indiana had “continuously from early historic times until at least the 1940’s” met the definition of a distinct community with significant interaction, it had failed to prove that tribe members had maintained that community.

Indiana Miami tribal leaders appealed that decision, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001 affirmed the BIA determination in Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana Inc. v. United States Department of the Interior, 255 F.3d 342 (7th Cir. 2001). Once denied, a tribe may not reapply for federal recognition, although an act of Congress may grant tribal recognition.

The late Jim Jontz, D-Ind., introduced a House resolution in the 102nd Congress that would have made the Miami tribe of Indiana federally recognized, but the resolution did not advance beyond committee.

W. Brent Gill, litigation manager at Ken Nunn Law Office in Bloomington and chief justice of the Southern Cherokee Nation, called it a “slap in the face” that tribes even have to apply for federal recognition.

“You find people like the Miami all over the U.S. They are remnants of tribes that have been torn asunder to begin with,” Gill said. “If it wasn’t for the federal government, we wouldn’t be in this position to begin with.”

Head said that during the 1800s, many Miami were forced to move west, eventually settling in what is now Oklahoma. The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma is federally recognized. Head said the Miami Nation of Indiana has only one goal.

“What they’re asking for is a simple recognition of the historical truth,” he said.

What recognition does

“When you look at the tribe and you put everybody in a big pot, you realize there’s going to be a lot of folks that fall into the same category as myself – I have a good job, I’m an engineer … but there are people that are not in my position,” Buchanan said. He said that as of a few years ago, about 90 federal programs existed that would allow members of a state-recognized tribe some federal benefits, including educational and health care assistance, along with care for the elderly.

Nell Jessup Newton, Joseph A. Matson Dean at the University of Notre Dame Law School, said that only artists who are members of state-recognized or federally recognized tribes are eligible to sell work that is designated as “Indian,” under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. She said other benefits may be extended to members of state-recognized tribes, too.

“If an applicant to a college or university is a member of a state-recognized tribe, that might help them being accepted,” she said.

Some scholarships that offer preference to Native American candidates require only that the applicant be on a tribal membership roll, but many require students to be members of tribes recognized by the federal or state government.

Gill explained that even federally recognized tribes are not automatically entitled to benefits.

head-randy-mug.jpg Head

“A lot of people seek federal recognition for different things – some for federal benefits – but many of the benefits that federally recognized tribes have depend on the treaties they have with the federal government,” Gill said. He said that the Southern Cherokee Nation, for example, is recognized by way of an old treaty, but it is not technically a federally recognized tribe.

Raising awareness

Buchanan said the Indiana Miami number about 6,000 across more than 60 Indiana counties, with about 2,500 members living out-of-state. “The community is coming together a lot better than what it used to be 20 years ago,” he said. And part of that renewed sense of community includes working together to push for recognition.

The Indiana Miami have been networking with city leaders throughout the state, trying to generate support, Buchanan said. Last year, the cities of Peru and Wabash issued proclamations recognizing the tribe – a symbolic gesture, but one that means a lot to Buchanan.

“It just says, hey have you ever heard of us? Yeah, we have,” Buchanan said of the city proclamations.

Gill said that being Indian is more than simply carrying a Certificate of Indian Blood card that proves one’s ancestry.

“You’ve got a group of people here in Indiana that don’t have a card to prove they’re Indian, that are as much or more Indian as a tribe in Oklahoma or wherever,” he said. “They have many people that are trying to protect their history, culture and tradition – that’s what it means to be an Indian.”

Buchanan said he was upset in 2011 when Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, did not assign Head’s bill to a summer study committee. Asked if he could comment on why the bill was not assigned to an interim committee, Long issued a statement saying, “As promised, Senate Bill 2 has been assigned to committee. I look forward to thoughtful discussion from my colleagues and thank Sen. Head for his hard work on this important issue.”•

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  1. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

  2. A high ranking bureaucrat with Ind sup court is heading up an organization celebrating the formal N word!!! She must resign and denounce! http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

  3. ND2019, don't try to confuse the Left with facts. Their ideologies trump facts, trump due process, trump court rules, even trump federal statutes. I hold the proof if interested. Facts matter only to those who are not on an agenda-first mission.

  4. OK so I'll make this as short as I can. I got a call that my daughter was smoking in the bathroom only her and one other girl was questioned mind you four others left before them anyways they proceeded to interrogate my daughter about smoking and all this time I nor my parents got a phone call,they proceeded to go through her belongings and also pretty much striped searched my daughter including from what my mother said they looked at her Brest without my consent. I am furious also a couple months ago my son hurt his foot and I was never called and it got worse during the day but the way some of the teachers have been treating my kids they are not comfortable going to them because they feel like they are mean or don't care. This is unacceptable in my mind i should be able to send my kids to school without worry but now I worry how the adults there are treating them. I have a lot more but I wanted to know do I have any attempt at a lawsuit because like I said there is more that's just some of what my kids are going through. Please respond. Sincerely concerned single parent

  5. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

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