The Manchester Enterprise: Letters to the Editor

Just Who Are We? The Southeastern Kentucky Shawnee

Just who are we.

The Southeastern Kentucky Shawnee.

A lot of people may wonder just who the Southeastern Kentucky Shawnee are. The answer is quite easy for many of the natives of Southeastern KY. If you look in the mirror, you see us. Everyone who knows that they are descended from Native American blood.

For some, this comes easy; while others search their entire lives for this connection since records were seldom kept, other than the Indian rolls, our direct connection with our ancestors were lost. Our Indian ancestors fled into the mountains, many taking white names in order to hide among the early settlers. Native Americans fled to escape persecution, prosecution, and the coming removal.

Kentucky has never formally recognized any tribe of Indians inside their borders. We are striving to change this not only for ourselves, but for all Native American Indians within the state of Kentucky. In Kentucky, there are no federal tribes, therefore, there is no need for a state bureau of Indian affairs. Kentucky can and should have state recognized tribes. According to the federal regulations, a state can recognize state tribes only by state legislative action. This is justified due to the large concentration of Native American Indians in Kentucky, then, our ancestors need to rest in peace, knowing we are striving to continue their teachings.

We want to educate our young in the Native American culture. The language of the Shawnee, which is nearing extinction. We also want to teach the drum, which is the heartbeat of our people, and we will not allow it to be silenced. The dance and song also needs to continue. We want to help provide formal education for our young, who cannot afford it. We are exploring options that will allow us to assist them.

Our elderly must many times choose between food and health care. This choice is prevalent in many societies which is a shame. We are working toward this end.

The Southeastern Kentucky Shawnee are moving forward and will not waiver. Our house joint resolution made it through the Kentucky State House in the 2011 session, but was stalled in the Kentucky State Senate due to a short session.

Some of our members are also Native Pride Riders, a motorcycle club who ride for preservation of our ancestors grave sites. They also ride for many charities. Recently, they had a ride for the London homeless shelter.

Four times a year, we have our traditional Native American gatherings. These gatherings are like big family reunions, since in fact we are family. Our next gathering will be November 13th at 2 PM, at the Native Pride Activity building in Corbin, KY. (Contact number: 606-309-0887)

This past September, the Southeastern Kentucky Shawnee cosponsored the Annie Tramper Indian Festival, along with the KNAIC, the Kentucky Native American Indian Council. The KNAIC is the oldest Native American organization in Kentucky.

Our goal with the Annie Tramper Indian Festival was to not only entertain, but also to educate the public to the cultural side of the Native American way of life. Not only did we have music and dance, we also had flint knappers, bow makers, and bead makers demonstrating their crafts. Entertainment and education went hand in hand.

The myth about Indians and gambling, we also want to clarify this. One of our members recently had the opportunity to talk with a person who thought all Indians had casinos. This is far from the truth. No state tribe has the right to have a casino. That right is reserved for federally recognized tribes, and even then it is not guaranteed. One tribe in Rhode Island has been trying for decades to obtain permission to get one. The state of Rhode Island continues to say no.

People are also under the misconception that all Indians are taken care of by the government. In this instance, that is not the case, federal tribes do have reservations. Look closely at these reservations and many of them are on almost unusable land.

Our tribe consists of over 500 members, ranging from the elderly to children. They come from several counties in southeastern Kentucky. The central location being Laurel County. Our other counties include, but are not limited to Clay, Leslie, and Rockcastle, just to name a few.

Our tribe has members ranging from farmers, military veterans, coal miners, and so on. We come from the mountains, foothills, and cities of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. Our people are proud to say, we are in fact, Indian.

In summary, we are not looking for handouts. We don’t want casinos. All we want is our tribe to be recognized. We want to continue to educate and care for our own.

Submitted By: James Sizemore
Council Member and Elder

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 12:37


Save Our People

Save Our People

I had a chance to go over the latest 2010 Census information and I found startling info. Clay County Ranked #4 out of 3,1243 counties in the US as one of the poorest in the country on median household income and #18 in the country on per capita income. I couldn’t believe what I found. So I dug further and found more startling info. In 2000, the population of Clay County was 24,556 people. But in 2010, that population had decreased to 21,730, a change of -11.5%. That is a person leaving our Clay County every 1½ days in the last 10 years. Our future is leaving in droves. I also found that the state average for both median household income and per capita income was almost 80% more than Clay County. The state average for people living below the poverty level was 18.4% and Clay County was 43.3%, and in children 18 and under in Clay County that number was 54.8% in poverty. Unemployed numbers are the highest in the state.

This was very depressing when I read this. I couldn’t understand how this is right. We have some of the hardest working people in the country. We are very self-reliant and just need the opportunity and we will make our own way. But this is not the case and I found that we lack leadership in Local, State, and Federal Government. To put in place the necessary step to give the people the opportunity to help their selves, we don’t want a handout, but we do need a fighting chance. We the people have not held our Local, State, and Federal Government accountable for there lack of putting the people that pay them first and foremost. We deserve better and should demand it. The time of self-serving, corruption, and greed is over. We need leadership.

We the people pay these people, and we can fire them if they don’t start looking out for us. All of us bought Y-Hollow so they could put in the infrastructure for Businesses to come here. The old saying, “If you build it, they will come.” And another saying “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” is stupid.

There is a direct association between poverty and drug addiction and obesity. We also lead the state and country in drug related deaths per capita and high obesity rates. It’s jobs stupid. They have to start now or get out of the way for people that will. The time of sitting on your hand and getting a paycheck is over. Start working for the people. (More will be revealed!)

By: Jeremy Gibson

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 14:07


Mouth of Teges


By Anne Shelby

August 25, 2011

I’m married to the editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, so I’m all too familiar with the criticism that comes in from all sides some weeks after the paper comes out. Everybody thinks they know better than the editor what ought and ought not to be in the paper. So I don’t usually criticize. But this time I have to, because I know a little about journalism, and a lot about the EPA’s recent visit to Clay County.

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Last Updated on Friday, 02 September 2011 12:17

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Letter to the Editor

My name is Todd Moberly, and for many years have worked on the Gray family history.

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Letter to the Editor

My name is Todd Moberly, and for many years have worked on the Gray family history.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 December 2010 14:44

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