February 25, 2016
Louisiana Attakapas Eagle Tribe,
The Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana is writing to inform you we acknowledge receipt of your request to de-enroll a list of our members provided to us by your office. At this time we cannot comply with your request as it is deemed improper under our governing document provided to the Federal and State Government in proper form and acknowledge as such by the BIA of the United States of America and both the Secretaries of the States’ of Louisiana and Texas. We have attached the appropriate clauses relative to why we can’t grant your request at this time. We pray you review our Constitutions langue and respect our policies that adheres with the United States guidelines on both enrollment and de-enrollment.
Article I- Membership
Section I. The membership of the Ishak-Atakapa Nation will consist of
(a) All Ishak-Atakapa Indians
(b) All persons of Ishak-Atakapa descent not belonging to any other recognized or non-recognized tribe, or seeking to belong to any other tribe recognized or non-recognized.
(1). Who are lineal descendants of such persons provided such descendants possess and provide lineage; that may include but is not limited to family trees, birth certificates, ancestor documentation, church records, or any other historical documentation of note. Such descendants can apply for membership and shall furnish birth certificates or other sufficient evidence to prove their ancestry
Section III. Bill of Rights for Citizenship
(a). The Ishak-Atakapa Nation recognizes the term Atakapa to be a Choctaw name for the Tribe but we refer to ourselves by our ancestral name Ishak, which means “the People”. The Atakapa-Ishak and or Ishak-Atakapa identifiers will be recognized to refer to one and the same Nation.
b). All citizens of the Ishak-Atakapa Nation must be lineal descendants. The Nation recognizes the basic rights retained and guaranteed under the United States as well as State governments. These rights are retained by all distinct people and clans affiliated with this Tribe, provided that it does not diminish the boundaries or jurisdiction of the Ishak-Atakapa or conflict with Tribal law.
(c). Members can enroll in one Tribe only.
(1). All enrolled members must provide a written letter stating they are not enrolled in any other recognized or non-recognized tribes or seeking enrolment into any other recognized or non-recognized tribes. Letters must be provided for minor children by legal guardian.
(2). If a member wishes to de-enroll he or she must submit a written letter to that effect.
Our governing document won’t allow the granting of your request without each induvial on your list writing their own induvial letter of de-enrollment and that letter must be accompanied by a money order in the amount of $25 for office processing fees. To grant this request as you have submitted would diminish our boundaries and jurisdiction while also violating our Tribal law Article I (a), (b) and (c). Now that the proper code langue has been provide to you, allow us to offer some wise council of caution before any one on the list you provided properly makes a request to de-enroll as we have received guidance from The United States Department of Interior. Please share this with your associates. We truly need to mend the fences between our people, for the good of all, the few must make personal sacrifices of ego and gain. We pray for the prosperity of our entire people unified as we recognize issues that were not in our control when Chief Amos was in charge, thus creating a split of the people. Sadly if we can’t be for our people together our people will never be recognized and afforded the rights that were torn from their very grasp of our ancestors’ skin and bone. I welcome any efforts to reunify and respect your positions, thoughts, feelings, and work as I believe we could be recognized one day and should be collectively and together. In fact that is just what was communicated to us through the office of the Department of the Interior in a letter dated January 23, 2014 addressed to Mr. James Fretty a Chief Amos supporter. The letter states, “Your letter is reference to a letter submitted by James Fretty asks, please advise us if we will be allowed to receive Federal recognition without Mr. Chretien i.e. governing body in place. On May 23, 2008, the Assistant Secretary- Indian Affairs published “guidelines and direction” in the Federal Register, stating, Some petitioning groups attempt to resolve their disputes splitting into two or more groups which is unwise as they don’t realize that by doing so, neither group may be able to meet the criteria. The Department does not acknowledge parts of an Indian Tribe. Therefore, the groups should be encouraged to work together for the long term”. The letter goes on to read, “A group must demonstrate how it constitutes as a social and political Indian entity that has existed continuously since historical times. Modern groups of descendants of various Indians will not meet the regulations (83.3(c)), if a portion of the Petitioner decides to petition separately”. The letter to Mr. Fretty concluded with, “Please do not send materials to this office without certification from Petitioner #309’ governing body.
In a Letter dated September 25, 2014 addressed to Mrs. Myrtle Phillips who tried to establish yet another splinter group with the Department of Interior which informed Mrs. Phillips that even though she tried to establish and get recognized another group using documentation of lineage and historical significance currently submitted by Petitioner #309 her efforts to effectively form another group will not produce fruit as her name was previously submitted as a member of another group seeking recognition. The United States Department of the Interior does not recognize any group or person or persons using documentation i.e. history and other supporting information that was previously used to identify themselves as a member or members of another group recognized by our office. Indian affairs can only recognize whole groups. Please take notice of, “Guidance and Direction”, published in the Federal Registry on May 23, 2008.
In conclusion, I sincerely hope this information will be enlightening to you and your associates in how important it is for us as a people to unite for the greater purpose of progressing our people. We have submitted the documentation which includes but is not limited to lineage and historical significance and any other groups trying to do the same has been clearly shown by the information contained in this letter to destroy any chance of Federal recognition. Please consider your next course of action in this matter as we pray for an active attempt by you all to at least meet with us to start laying the foundation of unification.
Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana Tribal Council
Chief Crying Eagle, Principal Chief of the Atakapa-Ishak Nation
Edward Chretien Jr.