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Legislators visit Native Cultural Circle; Tennessee tribes seek state recognition

 

Dr. James Cossingham, Philenese Slaughter-Treasurer, Sen. Kurita, Virgina Moore-Secretary, Doug Kirby-President. Not Shown- Turner McCullough Jr., member/photographer

Members of the Clarksville Native Cultural Circle sat down with members of the Montgomery County State Legislative Delegation to urge their support for state recognition of Tennessee Native American tribes. In separate occasions, state Senator Rosalind Kurita and state Rep. Joe Pitts each visited with Native Cultural Circle members to learn of their concerns with efforts to achieve state recognition of Tennessee-based Native American Indian tribes and groups. (Additional photo following jump)

(l-r) Doug Kirby, president; Virgina Moore, secretary, Rep. Pitts; Philenese Slaughter, treasurer; Dr. James Cossingham, member. Not shown- Turner McCullough Jr., member/photographer.

In the state legislature, HB3299 would grant state recognition to several native tribes and tribal groups and establish criteria whereby other groups may apply for recognition. One of the benefits to state recognition is overcoming the current federal prohibition preventing Native American artisans in Tennessee from advertising their art and crafts as ‘Native American Art.

The Native Cultural Circle is a Native American education group. It has staged its annual pow-wow continually for eleven years. The pow-wow is an opportunity for Native American people from across the nation to fellowship and network amongst themselves. It is also an educational presentation to the greater community that seeks to inform non-tribal peoples of the true traditions and customs of Tennessee’s Native People.

Proceeds from the pow-wows are used to purchase authentic Native American educational books which are given to local elementary school libraries. The group also stages demonstrations of native culture showcasing native song, dance and regalia (native styles of clothing). This allows the students to learn the true history and traditions of native tribes.


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