The Ridgetop Shawnee Tribe of Indians announced the unveiling of a new streamlined enrollment program for select families in Southeastern Kentucky and Southwestern Virginia. The Express Enrollment program is designed to streamline the process of enrolling into the Ridgetop Shawnee. Executive Tribal Manager William Shackleford says the program is not meant to circumvent the difficult task involved in validating ones Native American heritage; "We are not trying to open the Tribe up to people who simply claim Native heritage with this program, you still have prove it. The families selected for this program have an unequivocal right to celebrate their Native American blood. These families are 100% validated. So why do we need this extreme process for enrollment? We don't. This program will make it easier for those who can prove a lineage to the patriarchs of these families."
The Ridgetop Shawnee also stated that this program will be closely monitored to prevent false enrollments.Shackleford added; "We have to make sure we stay focused on the procedures. Because the Ridgetop Shawnee have a reputation as being one of toughest non-federal tribes for enrollment and we will maintain that reputation. We can't afford to become a mickey mouse club. We have absorbed numerous attacks from other Tribal entities because they know we are for real, once they "Federal or State Tribes" do their homework they quickly realize the Ridgetop Shawnee has more collective Native Blood than most Federal Tribes. This is due to the strict enrollment procedures and diligent genealogical work we have performed for over a decade."
The Ridgetop Shawnee were recognized by the State House of the Kentucky General Assembly in the 2009 and 2010 sessions. However, Tribal representatives say their legislative work is over for the time being. "We have accomplished what we wanted to accomplish. The State House said they recognize our historical claims, unopposed, the Republican controlled State Senate is another matter. When it comes to racial issues I am not so sure the State Senate is very open minded. We are not stating that we will never pursue a political solution to our issues, we are stating that we have no plans to do so at this time. Things can change in a minute in politics."
You can visit the Express Enrollment page on the Ridgetop Shawnee Tribe of Indians website by following the link below.