Proposed Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs

NOVEMBER 10, 2001

The Proposed Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs met for its first quarterly meeting at Cumberland University, Lebanon, TN, at 1:00 P.M. on Saturday, November 10, 2001. Present were six of the seven commissioner-nominees: Trudy Austin, East TN; David Teat, Middle TN; Van Lynch, West TN; Nashville, Mike Mangrum; Chattanooga; John Anderson; Knoxville, Teri Ellenwood. Ruth Knight Allen, Memphis, was absent.

Others present were members of the Advisory Board: Middle TN caucus, Anita Prevatte; Chattanooga area caucus, Pat Fawcett, tom kunesh, Alva Crowe. Sandi Perry, Nashville, and John Hedgecoth, Knoxville, sent written communication that other conflicts would prevent them from attending. John Lone Eagle and Bonnie James sent verbal communication that another gathering would prevent them from attending.
Delegates present: Ron 'Two Dogs' Williams, David Walker, and Diane Caldwell, all from Chattanooga.
Visitors present: Toye Heape, Ollie Speakman, and Beverly Kerr.

Mac McWherter, campaign manager for Randy Nichols, candidate for governor, was invited to speak on behalf of Mr. Nichols. Many issues related to Indians in Tennessee were brought to his attention by those present.

David Teat spoke words of encouragement and recommended three books for everyone to read: To Build a Bridge, An Introduction to Working with American Indian Communities, written by the American Indian Research and Policy Institute, The Genius of Sitting Bull, and The Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. David Walker recommended another book: After the Trail of Tears. [see book links below]

The following officers were elected:
Chairperson: Teri Ellenwood
Vice-chairperson: David Teat
Secretary-treasurer: Van Lynch

Teri suggested the temporary use of her address for the Commission:
Proposed Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs
P.O. Box 70566
Hall's Crossroads
Knoxville, TN 37938

The publishing of a quarterly newsletter will be the responsibility of the Public Relations Committee and April Weller and Pat Fawcett were named to this committee. Pat Fawcett agreed to begin working on a state Indian directory to include a consolidated list of all Senate and House members with their stand on TCIA Reform Bill HB 1617 and a sample letter to legislators asking for their support of the bill. tom kunesh agreed to design the letterhead. Terri Ellenwood agreed to do a one-page summary of the bill with key points. It was also agreed that commissioner-nominees would schedule a meet-and-greet time in January to discuss the bill with their constituents in their respective area.

Other discussions with no action were about grant proposals, funds, and committees. The Advisory Council will set up the committees after a communication to all the Advisory Council members. Van Lynch volunteered herself and Sara Cantrell from Jackson for the Education Committee since both are teachers and already have their own curriculum on Native Americans. Beverly Kerr suggested that area sub-committee meetings be held.

It was agreed that the next quarterly commission meeting be held in West TN in Jackson on Saturday, February 09, 2001 beginning at 10:00 A.M. If weather hampers that date, it will be moved to Saturday, February 16.

Mr. Lynch closed the first quarterly meeting with prayer, and the meeting adjourned.

Submitted by:
Ms. Van Lynch, Secretary

the Genius of Sitting Bull 
by Emmett C. Murphy   Trail of Tears: Rise and Fall of 
the Cherokee Nation   After the Trail of Tears

  • text of Senate Bill 41 / House Bill 1617 under consideration
      - current status of HB1617 re. the TCIA:
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