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Government Defining a People: The Structural Violence Embedded in the Federal Acknowledgement Process

Abstract
I will examine the structural violence embedded in the federal acknowledgement process in the United States and how this violence manifests itself in certain American Indian communities. I will discuss the benefits of federal acknowledgement and the reasons a tribe might seek to be federally recognized. Taking into account the Euro-American perspective reflected in the seven criteria for acknowledgement, I will argue that the acknowledgement process seeks to create obstacles for tribes in gaining recognition rather than to aid them in their pursuits. By looking at research and accounts of specific tribes' struggles to gain acknowledgement such as the Lumbee, the Catawba, the MOWA Choctaw, the Little Shell Chippewa, the Nipmuc Nation, and the Houma Indians of Louisiana, I will pinpoint the main issues and deterrents of the seven criteria and the administrative process that has kept these tribes from gaining positive final determinations. In addition, I will examine the regard of already recognized tribes on those currently seeking acknowledgement. I will then explore the negative effects thtat the termination era as well as denial of federal acknowledgement has had on American Indians.
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