If you are a Brothertown Indian, November 26th is of particular note.  It was on this date in 1839 that the Brothertown Indian Nation was last officially recognized by the federal government of the United States.*  While the Act of 1839, which allowed for the members of Brothertown to become citizens of the United States and owners of their parcels of land, was passed by Congress on the third day of March in 1839 (https://www.loc.gov/law/help/statutes-at-large/25th-congress/sesson-3/c25s3ch83.pdf), citizenship was not immediately granted. The wording of the Act stipulated that first, a vote was to be taken to elect 5 Brothertown Commissioners whose duty it would be to have a land survey drawn up; a Tribal roll written down; and all of the surveyed Tribal property fairly divided among citizens of the Brothertown Indian Nation. According to Section 7 of the Act, once said map and roll were

…filed with the secretary of said Territory, and in the clerk’s office of said county,

and shall also be transmitted to the President on or before the first day of January next;

and after the same shall have been filed and transmitted to the President, as aforesaid,

the said Brothertown Indians, and each and every of them, shall then be deemed to be,

and from that time forth are hereby declared to be, citizens of the United States to all

intents and purposes, and shall be entitled to all the rights, privileges, and immunities

of such citizens, and shall, in all respects, be subject to the laws of the United States

and of the Territory of Wisconsin, in the same manner as other citizens of said Territory;

and the jurisdiction of the United States and of said Territory shall be extended over the

said township or reservation now held by them in the same manner as over other parts

of said Territory; and their rights as a tribe or nation, and their power of making or

executing their own laws, usages, or customs, as such tribe, shall cease…

     The required documents were deposited and the President received a copy of the report from the Brothertown Commissioners on November 26, 1839. Therefore, according to the US government, as page 5 of their 2009 Proposed Finding of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) cites, “the last date of Federal acknowledgment of the Brothertown Indian tribe of Wisconsin is considered to be November 26, 1839….” (https://www.bia.gov/sites/bia.gov/files/assets/as-ia/ofa/petition/067_brothe_WI/067_pf.pdf).

 

Notes: 

For an in-depth look at Indian policies and tribal sovereignty from a Brothertown perspective, see Kathleen Brown-Perez’s article at https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=lov

 

*In its re-recognition efforts, BIN twice made inquiries of the Solicitor General’s Office as to its tribal status. Both times (1990 and 1993), the Solicitor General’s determination was that the Act of 1839 had not terminated the Brothertown Indian Nation. Nevertheless, the final determination (September 7, 2012) from the BIA states that Brothertown’s “tribal status was terminated by an 1839 Act of Congress” and “Only Congress may restore the tribal status of Brothertown and its government-to-government relationship with the United States.”