Friday, May 4, 2012

To: Mr. James Anaya: Commissioner for Human Rights


Mr. James Anaya,
Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: +41 – 22 917 90 06

Dear Mr. James Anaya,

I am writing you today in order that I may be able to present a problem that has been neglected in Indian Country. The issue of Federal Recognition has plagued the tribes of the United States since the Indian Re-Organization Act of 1934. Although many of the terminated tribes have received federal recognition since, there are many others which have floundered in the process as it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve any sort of a hearing. The biggest part of the problem, with increasing difficulty, arises out of the involvement of Federal tribe’s attempts to stop any other tribes from being recognized. Not to mention the massive amount of capital it takes to hire professionals to aid in the endeavor.

The Saponi lost their reservation in 1728 at Fort Christanna (Junktapurse) Virginia. Since that time our people have been hounded by state and federally sponsored racial re-categorizations which reached a fever pitch between 1920 and 1950 via the Eugenics programs and Jim Crow laws, ie, The Racial Integrity Act of 1924. Prior to 1920 our racial re-categorizations were implemented as a way to raise taxes and prevent our people from claiming their Indian heritage, voting rights, education, health care and housing, as well as the ability to testify in court against their accuser, and to claim our treaty rights.

To date there are several communities of Saponi descended people; the Haliwa, the Occaneechi, The High Plains Sappony, Saponi Nation of Ohio/Carmel Indians, The Monacans, Saponi of Missouri, and Saponi Descendants Association in Texas. Our story is not,  however,  rare. You will find many non-federally recognized Indian tribes and communities throughout the United States. Most do not have enough education or funding to have access to the recognition process which is a broken process and infested with Indian gaming interests from well paid lobbyists working for vested interests.

Others include all Category 4 Cherokee, Shawnee, Powhatan and a laundry list of other tribes/tribal communities that have not been addressed by the BIA or any of the past or current administrations of the U.S. government in a fair and even manner.

When the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples came into being, and was signed by the NCAI and the U.S., many of our communities felt that it would help our peoples across the country in seeking redress of grievances and recognition. At long last a possibility for justice, but this has not happened.

Instead what is seen is more of the same pandering to the Recognized Federal tribes, for the millions of dollars they have available to them from our tax dollars. Our communities continue in poverty and reservation style conditions, and have no access to   funding or political structures that are due our people. Our members continue living in abject poverty and cannot even afford heat for the winter, which of course, the federal tribes enjoy. Even then, many so called leaders deny their citizen’s rightful access to the proscribed services. Many of our communities lack the know-how, education, political connections and general access to the world outside of their traditional situations to move out of this cycle of poverty into the modern world. When by some miracle it happens that a state recognition is available, the federal tribes go on the war path and seek to destroy even that attempt at justice.

We would like to see your office dedicate some time, media and attention to those that most need it; i.e. the federally non-recognized Native American Indian communities and the state tribes. We would like to know how the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will help us specifically and how your office will address these problems.

Yours truly,
Scott P. Collins
401 Simmons Dr. #14
Euless, TX 76040

Dwight Collins
Medford, Ma
Jennie Morris Green
49897 54 street ,Lawrence Michian. 269-674-8301 email

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