Greetings Fellow Tribal Members,
For those of you who don’t know me, I am Andrew Gildersleeve. I am the great grandson of Lavada Watchous. Nicole Harper is my cousin. I have served the Tribal Council since 2011.
I want all my fellow Delawares of Idaho to know that our fight for federal recognition continues, and that our chances are alive and well.
There are two main ways that our tribe has sought federal recognition: through recent work with the Delaware Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma and the much longer and older work of seeking federal recognition through the BIA’s tribal recognition process.
Federal Recognition through Membership in the Delaware Tribe of Indians – Ongoing
Our grandmothers and grandfathers were members of the main body of the Delaware Tribe of Indians that went to Oklahoma. We had endured countless wars and genocide and came out of Kansas with our people. Sadly, further injustice awaited us in Oklahoma and we were forced to move on.
This past fall the Delaware Tribe of Indians voted on whether to bring us in as members. Our friends and relatives lobbied hard and beautifully for us, but ultimately we lost the vote. However, as I think you will agree the actual details of the vote were in our favor.
The vote was not a standard 50/50 vote, which we would have won. The vote was for a constitutional change which had to pass by 66%. We won the vote 57% YES to 43% NO.
We were close, but not close enough: yet we believe that we have generated momentum and goodwill for future elections, should our relatives choose to unify the tribe and restore our sovereign tribal polity.
DOI Recognition Efforts – Ongoing
It has always been the position of the tribe that our people should have federal recognition. Our ancestors fought and died for land that was stolen and for rights that are still not being recognized.
We want our people to have access to the same education and healthcare programs that our relatives enjoy. We want our people to be recognized for who we are.
In December of 2007 we submitted our most recent petition for federal acknowledgment. Nearly one year later the BIA responded with a technical assistance letter. The technical assistance letter outlined ways that we can help our petition.
We have not yet responded to the BIA and we will. We can meet or get very close to almost every suggestion the BIA had. To this end, we are working on a history, per the BIA’s request, that tells the story of our people. If you would like to donate your time, expertise or cash to the recognition effort, please let us know.
New Donation Option on Facebook Page
We have created an online portal for tribal members to make donations to the tribe. You can choose to donate to the tribe directly, to next year’s powwow and gathering, or to the federal recognition effort. You will receive a tax receipt for your tax deductible donation.
Call for Documents
Do you have historical documents in a file folder? This could be a birth certificate, a newspaper clipping, or your Indian School records. Your information may make the difference in our fight!
Call for Fundraiser Ideas and Volunteers
Yes our tribe has limited funds. But we are still alive and there is still hope. Do you have a fundraiser idea? Share it with your tribe!
Next Year’s Gathering & Powwow
We have started a donation campaign to fund next year’s tribal gathering and powwow. Date to be announced. Your donations are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt for your tax records. If there is information you would like added to this update, or if you would like to become a volunteer contributor to our efforts, please let us know! Long live the Delaware Tribe!