Tuesday, May 09, 2006

New Fake Indian Tribes

Last fall at the DC FBA Conference, Hal Stutsman, an FBI agent based out of Bismarck, described the new fake Indians -- former survivalists (people who claim they are "sovereign citizens" in order to avoid federal taxes, etc.) that went underground after 9-11 are coming back up as non-recognized Indian tribes.

Two recent court cases (well, at least one) seem to involve these parties. The first, Richmond v. Wampanoag Tribal Court Cases, 2006 WL 1073561 (D. Utah, April 21, 2006), involved a claim by an pro se plaintiff demanding the federal district court of Utah comply with tribal court orders issued by "Pembina Nation Little Shell Calif."

This is a classic example, but one of the first involving fake Indian tribes. Check out Angela P. Harris's article, "Vultures in Eagles’ Clothing: Conspiracy and Racial Fantasy in Populist Legal Thought," from Volume 10 of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law, for more examples.

Another case, Pembina Nation Little Shell of North America ex rel. Wasserman v. White, 2006 WL 1131821 (S.D. Ill., April 25, 2006), involved a claim by another pro se plaintiff that his license plates and driver's license should be respected in Illinois. Of course, the reason the plaintiff didn't have valid plates of his own is that his own license/plates were revoked in Illinois for repeated drunk driving convictions. In this case, the "Nation" sent a letter to Colin Powell, then-Secretary of State of the United States, informing him that they would soon be issuing plates and licenses. The court rejected the claim.

The Anti-Defamation League has a website about these guys.

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