The Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma is an American Indian tribe currently incorporated as part of the larger Cherokee Nation. Originally from the Hudson and Delaware River valleys, the Delawares are neither socially nor historically related to the Cherokees and were incorporated with them simply because they were forced to move to the Cherokee Nation in 1867. The Delawares never assimilated into Cherokee society and culture and today seek federal recognition as a separate tribe to protect their particular cultural and political identity. However, Delaware efforts to achieve federal recognition are complicated by the Cherokee Nation, which does not support Delaware independence as it could potentially compromise Cherokee jurisdiction.
Delaware Tribe in a Cherokee Nation is an ethnographic study of the Delaware Tribe and its struggle for federal recognition and political separation from the larger Cherokee Nation. Brice Obermeyer details the Delawares’ struggle for self-determination, revealing important insights into the process and politics of federal recognition. This perceptive ethnography of a tribe trying to assert its right to sovereignty and its independence from a larger and more powerful tribe complicates accepted notions of how the federal recognition process works and the effects it has on tribal members and tribal relations. Although many tribes exist today as constituent parts of a larger American Indian tribe, Delaware Tribe in a Cherokee Nation is the first book to study this phenomenon in Native North America.
Brice Obermeyer is an assistant professor of anthropology at Emporia State University.
"Obermeyer's volume details a fascinating and unique case study in intertribal relations and the role of sovereignty in maintenance of tribal identity."—C. R. Kasee, Choice
"Obermeyer's research is a careful contribution to Delaware history and the contemporary issues of federal acknowledgment."—Dawn G. Marsh, Great Plains Quarterly
"Delaware Tribe in a Cherokee Nation sheds light on the fascinating struggle for independence and federal recognition of one Indian group situated within a much larger and more powerful Indian nation as well as within the United States."—David H. Kleit, Journal of Southern History
"Delaware Tribe . . . provides an important starting point for conversations about both the Delaware case specifically as well as larger questions surrounding the recognition of American Indian tribes."—Meredith Coffey, SAIL