~ No Stone Unturned Genealogy ~
Lorraine Escobar, CG/NALCM

Bio & History Page / Advice for Tribes

Advice for Tribes

If your tribe is not currently federally recognized, it may have already petitioned the federal government through a letter of intent. That’s only a first step in a very arduous, pain-staking process. There is so much to do and doing the genealogy needs to be the very first step you take. If you think you already have it done, it would be worth having the record assessed before you make your next step, which I can do.

There is nothing more risky than having an investor already involved only to find out that less than 80 percent of your tribe is not Indian or is not of the claimed tribal affiliation. It just makes good sense to make sure you know what you’re selling the investor because you’re going to need that support all the way through to the end.

Too many California tribes have relied on the paperwork generated by the Bureau of Indians Affairs during the 1928 California Indian Jurisdictional Act. That database was not only erroneous when it was first created, those errors are yet perpetuated by subsequent enrollments. Even to this day, the local BIA agencies still issues certificates of blood degree based on that faulty data. Even the Office of Federal Acknowledgment won’t accept it as proof of an Indian descendancy. I know that’s an odd thing but its true. (Read more here)

For California tribes, the documentation is out there. The evidence has to be objective and compelling. If it’s missing,

~ No Stone Unturned Genealogy ~
Lorraine Escobar, CG/NALCM

there are other things that can be done to establish a “reasonable likelihood.” [25 CFR 83.6(d)] But, two things are for certain – 1) you will not be able to use BIA generated documentation alone to make your case and 2) you have to do enough genealogy to show the connection between the living and the tribe, even if it means going all the way back to the village.

So, it takes hard work and documentation – documentation that will pass the criteria for federal acknowledgment. And, in this case that criterion is 25 CFR 83.7(e)[1]. Without the ability to pass this criterion (by at least 80 %), a whole mountain of evidence for the other six criteria won’t make a bit of difference. If a tribe misses one criterion, it fails the entire process.

So, consider this question in your business proposals – do you have sufficient and conclusive documentation that links every generation between the living tribal member and an Indian ancestor from his/her aboriginal village? If you do, then you’re ready for the next step. If not, the genealogy should be the first focus of your effort for federal recognition through the administrative processes known as 25 CFR 83.

[1] PART 83--PROCEDURES FOR ESTABLISHING THAT AN AMERICAN INDIAN GROUP EXISTS AS AN INDIAN TRIBE

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