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SHAWNEE NATION, UNITED REMNANT BAND OF OHIO STRIKES BACK
Concerning the Validity of State Recognition of the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band of Ohio
“ The United States Mint is offering a refund of $130 to persons who own the 2004 United States Mint Lewis and Clark Coin and Pouch Set, if the pouch was produced by the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band of Ohio. The U.S. Mint has learned that neither the state nor Federal authorities recognize the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio as an official Indian tribe. Therefore, the pouch is not an authentic American Indian arts and crafts product.”
Leo Jennings, spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office mis-spoke (maliciously or not) concerning the worth of the State Recognition of the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band of Ohio (Joint Resolution SUB.AM. H.J.R. 8, 1980). The Attorney General’s Office claims this document has no legal bearing (is not a serious document). This recent unjustified attack falls somewhere in the general area of liable/slander/defamation of character.
According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, Chapter 5, titled “Enacting Legislation”, there are two categories of major documents that embody the work of the General Assembly. They are resolutions and bills. Resolutions, generally, are formal expressions of the opinions and wishes of the General Assembly and do not require the approval of the Governor. There are three types of resolutions: Joint, Concurrent and Simple. Joint Resolutions are used only to ratify proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, to call for a federal constitutional convention, or when required by custom or a statute. For example, proposals seeking to amend the Ohio Constitution are customarily offered as Joint Resolutions. Joint Resolutions require the approval of both Houses and after approval must be filed with the Secretary of State. How could anything be more serious than that? Unlike the other two forms of resolution (Concurrent and Simple) which amount to a commendation or congratulation for a group or event of interest to one or both of the Houses of the Legislature, the Joint Resolution is the form of resolution that carries legal merit.
Beginning in 1979, the Ohio Legislature’s Interstate Cooperation Committee held hearings to determine if the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band of Ohio had a good enough case for state recognition to put such resolution before the House and the Senate for a vote to adopt the joint resolution. The submission of maps, genealogy, documents, photographs, tribal rolls, etc. was part of the hearings process. Testimony supporting the case was also given by tribal members, the Ohio Historical Society, and the Legislative Review Commission. The rough draft was read in the committee hearings repeatedly, discussed, altered and finally emerged as Substitute Amended House Joint Resolution 8. Then it was voted on in the Ohio House of Representatives, which passed, and then voted on (unanimous) in the Ohio Senate and passed. It was finally adopted as a House Joint Resolution to recognize the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band of Ohio as the descendents of the original historic Shawnee Nation.
The Joint Resolution to recognize the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band of Ohio has clearly been mis-defined as being one of the lesser forms of resolution. The Ohio Attorney General is required to know the difference between the three types of resolutions and his ignorance of legislative process has caused The Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band serious harm. The Attorney General’s recent erroneous statements about our State Recognition have caused the United States Mint to recall small beaded pouches made by our tribal crafters for the Lewis & Clark Commemorative Coins and Pouch Set and has served to defame and humiliate our good people.
The U.S. Mint is not without responsibility in this matter. They did not even speak to us before making erroneous statements and acting in such a damaging and irresponsible manner. As a side note of interest, recognition of any kind (state or federal) was NOT REQUIRED as per the contract the U.S. Mint signed with the Lewis and Clark Circle of Tribal Advisors of which The Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band was a member at the time. Does anyone yet read their own laws and legal contracts before they act to do harm to anyone?
The Indian Arts and Crafts Board is part of the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior was the primary U.S. Governmental entity that interfaced with the whole Lewis & Clark effort and was fully supportive of the Circle of Tribal Advisors (which at that time the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band was a member and in good standing) and their actions.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is also part of the Department of the Interior and has been fully aware of our State recognition and did so acknowledge in a letter to U.S. Congressman Tony Hall. The letter is dated May 16, 1986 and states, “We did receive on March 25th, 1980 a copy of the resolution granting state recognition for the group. We acknowledged our receipt of the state’s resolution on April 4th, 1980.” Copies are available upon request from the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band.
Governor Richard F. Celeste (governor at that time), in a letter to the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band stated “on behalf of the citizens of the state of Ohio, I would like to congratulate you on the occasion of the third anniversary of official state recognition of your tribe as the Shawnee Nation”. This letter is dated January 29, 1984; copies are available upon request from the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band.
The erroneous statements of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the United States Mint and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board feels to us like a joint effort to slander and defame the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band. We wonder how much this may have to do with Ohio’s fear that the Oklahoma Shawnee will manage to establish a casino in Ohio, or perhaps our ability to use past treaty deficiencies to bring action against the state legally. We have no such present intention nor do we desire to support like action.
However, we are seriously considering legal remedy to the irreparable harm done to our good name and reputation. At the very least, on behalf of the people of the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band, I demand a complete retraction of the lies stated and also demand an apology in the media from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, from the United States Mint, and from the Indian Arts and Crafts Board.
Chief Hawk Pope, Principal Chief Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band of Ohio
Ohio House and Senate Letters from November 2007