By Brice Obermeyer
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Additional info for Delaware Tribe in a Cherokee Nation
The Delaware community consists of a social network of DelawareIntroduction ◀ 23 descended families that live and work in the region north and northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Washington and Nowata counties provide the nucleus for the small but active Delaware Community that generally numbers between one hundred and four hundred individuals. Membership is fluid with people moving in and out of the group based on varying levels of participation. It is during communitysponsored events such as the Delaware Powwow, Delaware Days, the Delaware General Council, or the wild onion dinner discussed at the beginning that the boundaries of the Delaware community are most visible.
The ethnography of the Delaware Tribe’s struggle to preserve its federal acknowledgment while resident in the Cherokee Nation is thus set in relation to the federal policy that is outlined above. Federal policy has provided the background for the Delaware struggle and continues to do so. This book reveals that the root of the problem surrounding Delaware acknowledgment does not rest with the Delaware Tribe nor the Cherokee Nation, but in the consolidative pressures inherent in a modern federal policy that conflates tribal membership with service population.
4 Sara-Larus Tolley’s (2006) ethnography of the Honey Lake Maidu acknowledgment effort takes such a critical position and points out the unreasonable expectations in the fap given the history of federal policy that was designed to erase exactly that which is now required as proof of tribal existence. Similarly the challenges that face most unacknowledged tribes generally rest in their ability to demonstrate with documented evidence a continuous political organization or defend their status as Indian people.