September 23, 2012

Sumter Native American Family Tribe

Tribe keeping their history alive

By Roxanne BrownHoward Oxendine, or "Chief Red Eagle" of the Sumter Native American Family Tribe based in Bushnell, is passionate about keeping the history of Native Americans alive.

Oxendine, a member of the first Cherokee family to move to Sumter in 1957, for years has spent a great deal of time educating children in Sumter County schools about American Indian history.

Now, for the first time, he'll be able to educate hundreds more at the First Annual Inter-Tribal Native American Holiday Pow-Wow, set for September 28-30 at The Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, 7200 County Road 603, in Bushnell.

"We are focused on educating as many people as we can about Native Americans because we don't want our history to be lost. That's what it is, we're trying hard to hold onto it," Oxendine said, adding that decades ago in 1962, President J. F. Kennedy designated the fourth Friday of September as 'Native American Day,' a state and federally recognized holiday in a proclamation.
Comment:  That should be "tribe," not tribe. And no Florida "chief" should wear a Plains headdress.

This posting led to a brief discussion on Facebook:"Sumter Native American Family Tribe"? WTF?Right. They even announce that they're some sort of family clique in their title. Most "tribes" go the other route and try to sound official. E.g., the "Western Cherokee Band of East Carolina" (a name I just made up).

I guess the "Oxendine Tribe Owned and Operated by Me" would be a little too informal.

Note that the South Lake Press has contributed to the problem by reporting on the "tribe" uncritically. The reporter should've asked Oxendine some basic questions, starting with: By what rights do you call yourselves "Indians" or a "tribe"? What makes you any different from the 200-plus other Cherokee wannabe tribes?

For more on Indian wannabes, see Serbin Protests Chasco Krewe, Wannabes and Cherokee Website Targets Warren.

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