According to the U.S. Department of Interior-Bureau of Indians Affairs’ Memorandum Letter dated Sept. 26, 1975, the 10-page letter by the Bureau of Indians Affairs’ Regional Director Harry Rainbolt of the BIA Eastern Office to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., provides validity of the North Carolina Tuscarora Indian Tribal Recognition and the BIA Federal Tribal Rights to the North Carolina Tuscarora Indians established in 1934 Indian Reorganization Act within the U.S. Federal Legislation in the Administration of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Enacted by the 73rd U.S. Congress, Public Law 73-383,48 Stat. 984, Section 19, Title 25 U.S.C.83, Chapter 1-48 Indians, The Declaration of Federal Rights for Indigenous People (25 CFR 83). The Tuscarora Tribal Citizens in North Carolina refutes all allegations in being called unrecognized.
Many North Carolina Tuscarora Indians are federally acknowledged pursuant to the June 18, 1934, Federal IRA Wheeler Howard Act enacted by the 73rd U.S. Congress, which states:
— Sect. 19 … The term “Indian” as used in this Act shall include all persons of Indian descent who are members of any recognized Indian tribe now under Federal jurisdiction, and all persons who are descendants of such members who were, on June 1, 1934, residing within the present boundaries of any Indian reservation, and shall further include all other persons of one-half or more Indian blood. For the purposes of this Act, Eskimos and other aboriginal peoples of Alaska shall be considered Indians. The term “tribe” wherever used in this Act shall be construed to refer to any Indian tribe, organized band, pueblo, or the Indians residing on one reservation. The words “adult Indians” wherever used in this Act shall be construed to refer to Indians who have attained the age of 21 years.
— Sec. 479a … The term ”Indian tribe” means any Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe.
The North Carolina Tuscaroras are verified as Indian pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 479, a person who is “of one-half or more Indian blood of Tribes Indigenous to the United States.”
Moreover, in 1935 to 1944, after the North Carolina Tuscaroras were federally acknowledged pursuant to the 1934 IRA, U.S. Department of Interior Commission of Indian Affairs surveyed 9,399 acres for the Indian land to be held into abstract title trust and deed for Indians, however, Mr. William Zimmerman Jr. shifted the delegation of the U.S. Department Interior Land of 9,399 surveyed for Indians in Robeson County, over to the USDA Farm Service Agency, then they tried to get our Tuscarora ancestors to buy the land.
The U.S. Department of Interior-BIA and U.S. Department of Agriculture-FSA failed and refused to mention that the 9,399 acres the BIA surveyed was exempt from taxation since it was under the federal authority.
On April 4, 1975, the Tuscarora was tribally acknowledged and reconfirmed in Maynor v. Morton, Secretary, Department of the Interior, 510 F.2d 1254, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit- 510 F.2d 1254 (D.C. Cir. 1975) Argued 21 Nov. 1974. Decided 4 April 1975. Mr. Maynor and other Tuscarora Indians were granted their federal tribal rights and that the 1956 Lumbee Act could not legally waive their tribal rights as Federal Indians pursuant to the 1934 IRA Act.
On Aug. 27-29, 1975, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director arry Rainbolt and six employees of the Bureau of Indian Affairs went to Maxton, N.C., in 1975, to meet all the Tuscarora Indians and their attorneys for a federal conference to provide the federal tribal rights in person to the Tuscarora Indians.
According to an Oct. 29, 1976, memo letter and invoice of payment by U.S. Department of Interior: Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director Harry A. Rainbolt to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., which again, officially and federally acknowledged the recognition of the Tuscarora Indians and gave Federal Indian Services in paying for the construction and abstracting land titles for Tribal Houses to be built in Robeson County, N.C.
On Nov. 12, 1979, the National Congress of American Indians formally recognized the Tuscarora Nation Tribe of Maxton in N.C. Furthermore, on Aug. 23, 2017, the Tuscarora and the Indian Preference Federal Right were again reconfirmed in the U.S. District Court of Appeals, NAKAI v. ZINKE | 279 F.Supp.3d 38 (2017) by Heather McMillan Nakai vs. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service. Plaintiff Heather McMillan-Nakai brings this pro se suit against the Department of Interior-BIA and IHS.
Nakai was declared one-half or more Indian blood of Tribes Indigenous to the United States and she won her case to have Indian Preference Entitlements. The verification of Indian preference demonstrates the arbitrary nature of the decision based: 28. In 1975, the D.C. Circuit opined, in Maynor v. Morton, 501, F.2d 1254 as Tuscarora Indian.
For many years, the North Carolina Tuscarora Nation has endured the political bureaucratic interference which has been obstacles in administration for decades, like many other First Nations Tribes have to face in the U.S. and who have also struggled with the federal and state government for tribal assistance for decades, has left most Tribes, like the Tuscarora, in poverty and economically depressed; moreover, which doesn’t negate our inherent tribal rights in being Tuscarora, one of the First Indigenous Nations of North America.
Micheal Jacobs is a member of Tuscarora Nation in Maxton. He can be reached at [email protected]