Kaweah Nation Citizenship Scam

The Texas Attorney General has filed charges against three individuals who were running an elaborate citizenship scam. They claimed to represent the Kaweah Indian Nation, and were telling non-citizens that $400 would purchase a "tribal membership" in the Kaweah Nation. This membership supposedly carried the significant benefit of allowing them to circumvent the ordinary legalization process and entitling them to U.S. citizenship.

Of course, becoming a member of an Indian tribe doesn't circumvent the process of legalization. In addition to this, the Kaweah Indian Nation isn't even a federally recognized tribe. The International Herald Tribune reports:
The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs denied the Kaweah group recognition in 1985 because it was not a real tribe. A Kaweah tribe did exist once, but is unrelated to the one that applied for recognition.

Big Gary, who forwarded me the story, notes that, "Prices for membership in the Big Gary Nation are negotiable." Last I checked, membership in the Museum of Hoaxes Nation was totally free. Plus, it entitles you to become a card-carrying citizen of reality.


Posted on Fri Aug 24, 2007


Thunderbird 4 was the submarine! And what is Australian Formula 1 driver Mark Webber doing running this scam! If he concentrated on the racing, he might get a few more podiums!
Posted by Gareth Winslade  on  Fri Aug 24, 2007  at  07:38 AM
If I remember correctly there were about 220 tribal nations in North America in 1500. I don't know how many there are now, nor if any were ever named Kaweah. Kaweah almost sounds like a shout for joy - KA Weaaaah! (Get the rising right on the ah sound and you'll get it.) Maybe that's what ol' Thunderbird shouted when he cashed the checks. And, come to think of it - isn't the Thunderbird strictly a Southwestern belief? Definately not native ot Texas (an eastern state).
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Sat Aug 25, 2007  at  11:20 PM
I had a friend years ago who was of the Kaweah Nation. Actually, he was of the Wheredafuh Kaweahs, that why he was always getting lost. Last seen headed North to Thailand, I think
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Aug 27, 2007  at  12:51 PM
Alex, you're going to need a better sales pitch than "card-carrying citizen of reality."
The number of people who want to dwell in Reality has got to be even smaller than the number who want to be part of the Big Gary Nation.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Fri Aug 31, 2007  at  06:05 PM
On a more serious side, it is true that in general Indian nations have the right to establish their own criteria for membership and they can adopt whomever they want as tribal members. However, this will benefit the adoptee only if the Indian nation really exists somewhere besides in the imagination of the guy who made it up.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Fri Aug 31, 2007  at  06:07 PM
OK, I just checked out the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes for another project and decided to look up Kaweah. No such tribe listed but there is a California tribe, Kawaiisu, listed. They are listed as having lived around Havilah CA but there are only about 50 living at the time the book was published (1994). They are related to the Utes. Nothing in Texas has a name that is even close or could be mistaken for Kaweah.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Thu Sep 06, 2007  at  07:00 PM
How do we know he isn't really Kaweah trying to get federal recognition? If he is, this is an outrage putting this man in prison.
There have been instances in the past where non NA's claim heritage for land and have no ties to land-rights, but I can't find any information on this case, and that's what worries me.
From: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/21/america/NA-GEN-US-Immigration-Indian-Tribes.php

"An American Indian tribe not recognized by the U.S. government sold memberships to illegal immigrants..."

"The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs denied the Kaweah group recognition in 1985 because it was not a real tribe. A Kaweah tribe did exist once..."

"...Urbina said the tribe is not really telling illegal immigrants that they cannot be deported, but giving them identification and a certificate that they can show officials as proof they are members of the tribe."
What we have here is a tribe that once existed until the euro-americans immigrated, settled in their land, probably killed nearly all of them, and told the rest they weren't a "real" tribe (this has happened in Oregon, until the tribes were restored federal recognition and therefore were really "Indian").
Later, it was contested, but denied because it was "unrelated" to the one that applied before. Does that have anything to do with blood-quantum/lack of records/unwillingness, or are these a bunch of Vietnamese people??

So, we have either the modern Kaweah people still being denied status so the government doesn't have to recompensate for what they did to them, or we have non-Kaweah fakers. If they are fakers, the worst that should happen is a bunch of people should have their money returned, probably be deported (as if the white people have right to stay here more?), and maybe fine the non-Kaweah for making trouble (how is a 69-year old man a "danger to the community" and needs to be imprisoned? (http://www.kbsd6.com/Global/story.asp?S=7041234). And, if they are really Kaweah descendants, it would be an atrocity!

What really needs to be investigated is if a non-Kaweah adopting non-Kaweahs into a group is illegal. Let's say I called myself a Martian, sold papers for $100 saying whoever paid is entitled to the paper which would make them a Martian. Is that illegal? As far as I could read Webber did exactly that, he wasn't getting around deportation (http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/21/america/NA-GEN-US-Immigration-Indian-Tribes.php)

"There is nothing to hide. ... I wouldn't be doing it if it was illegal," Urbina said.

I hope these issues get cleared up and some old guy doesn't get thrown in jail to rot for the rest of his life with child murders and rapists.

Posted by t0mmy  on  Tue Sep 11, 2007  at  01:35 PM
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