SISCA would like to respond briefly to a letter that Mr. Lee Young publicly distributed on Wednesday, June 20. We do not feel that it is our place to enclose that letter, but he has sent it to many members of the community, and it is easy to access. In his letter, he inaccurately summarized a private teleconference that had been held for SISCA members only, which he had specifically been told was not open to the public and that he could not attend. Unless he listened in despite having been told the meeting was not open to him, he has published hearsay, and his letter is almost completely inaccurate about the purpose of the meeting, the content of the meeting, and about every accusation he's made against SISCA.
We will not go line by line to counter, refuting what he has said, but we invite anyone who has been confused by his statements to contact us directly at 830.309.4663, firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment here, or private message us on Facebook at Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association.
SISCA had avoided making public many of the documents and much of the information we have that proves that Mr. Young’s claims are baseless, but now that he has made the argument fully public, we will post on our website all information we have and all legal documents, so that the community can make their own decisions about what is true and what is not. We have already posted an accurate timeline of what has occurred during the last year, and we will now provide documents, and summaries of whatever other important points were left out.
Please feel free to contact us for any additional information that we can provide, whether you are a SISCA member or not. Click on this link for an accurate timeline of events.
We would like to summarize for our members where things stand with the cemetery entrance. As we said in the timeline, which is posted on our website, after three days of construction, during which Mr. Young took down SISCA property, the original gate and sign, and began altering it, Mr. Stan Conoly, a member of the family that owns the cemetery, was able to negotiate an agreement whereby Mr. Young stopped construction, just before permanently damaging the original entrance.
The agreement, which SISCA has on video, was that Mr. Young would cease construction and drop his meritless lawsuit, and that he would provide SISCA with his plans for the entrance by June 30th.
Ms. Pines, on behalf of SISCA, made a tentative agreement that SISCA, pending approval by the SISCA board, would review the plans once Mr. Young sent them, and follow due process for a democratic organization, culminating in allowing the membership to vote on how to proceed in reference to Mr. Young’s design.
SISCA has begun the process of informing the entire community of what has occurred, and is initiating discussions which will lead to democratic and binding votes by the entire community, which will be held in person and through the mail for all members who cannot be present.
This is a process that will take a while because the issues to be discussed are not just what to do about the changes Mr. Young has already made to the cemetery, and the ones he proposes to make, but also about how SISCA members would like to respond to the actions of Mr. Young and the ASTT board in the last year. Until Mr. Young dropped the lawsuit, SISCA did not want to engage the community, but now everyone needs to know every detail so that everyone can make up their own minds about how they want to proceed.
SISCA intends to hold a number of informative and discussion teleconferences and meetings for SISCA members only, in order to make sure that current SISCA members are able to discuss among themselves without distraction and interruption. Because SISCA represents all scout descendants, anyone in the community who is a scout descendant is welcome to join the discussions once they pay their dues.
SISCA wishes the ASTT well in its application for federal recognition. It is our perception that the ASTT membership was never given the opportunity to vote on the lawsuit or the design for the cemetery project before Mr. Young initiated these aggressive actions, so many ASTT members may not approve of the way their director and board have handled this process.
It is the understanding of SISCA that Native American tribes make all decisions by discussing and coming to agreement among the members, which is usually manifested in a vote on any significant actions. It is the job of the chief and the tribal council to inform members and guide discussion, not to make decisions for members without their input. We do not hold ASTT members responsible for actions that they knew nothing about, and we welcome all ASTT members to join SISCA and participate in all discussions that will form SISCA's responses to all current issues. According to recently updated SISCA bylaws, new members will have a one-year probation period before they can vote, but all voices are welcome in shaping the issues that we will be voting on.
Although SISCA can never apply for tribal recognition because it uses oral history as the basis for membership, rather than documentation that many descendants may not have, we intend to resolve these matters in a fully democratic manner, similar to that of a tribe. The SISCA board considers itself the representatives of the people, not power holders but equal to all members and responsible for making sure all members' voices are heard, and this is why we have instituted this new bylaw that prevents SISCA from being flooded by new members who may not have been part of any ongoing discussion. If brand new members have voting rights, current SISCA members could have their votes canceled out by an influx of members who are not fully integrated into SISCA. This way, everyone's voice will be heard but only those committed enough to SISCA to remain in for a year will vote.
We welcome all feedback to this letter. We only request that there will be no aggression and no name calling, or we will remove posts and ask you to repost in a manner that will help promote conversation and agreements.
We will begin posting information on the website immediately.
The following two photos are of documents that show Mr. Lee Young's true intentions for the properties that SISCA has been tasked with being the custodian and caretaker of.
The Prayer and Request For Relief is taken from the lawsuit that Mr. Young filed against SISCA. He asks for a declaratory judgment in his favor, granting him all real properties that belong to or are under the care of SISCA.
The photo below is of Article II: Jurisdiction, taken from Mr. Young’s first constitution for the ASTT, in which he declares that the ASTT will maintain the Seminole Indian Scouts Cemetery and the George Washington Carver School. The placement of this statement in an article relating to jurisdiction implies that the ASTT desired to have power and authority over the Seminole Indian Scouts Cemetery, which belongs to the Conoly family, and the Carver School, which belongs to SISCA.
In conclusion, here is a letter sent to SISCA, Mr. Young, and the community at large on June 6th by the Conoly family, who are the legal owners of the land that the cemetery is on. In it, they reaffirm that SISCA is the custodian of the cemetery and that, in order to safeguard the cemetery, they will not permit any construction on the cemetery grounds that is in dispute within the community. Therefore, if Mr. Young recommences construction without allowing the community to have a democratic say in the appearance of the cemetery entrance, then he is in direct defiance of the wishes of the owners of the land the cemetery is on.
We hope you will find the information we post useful in helping SISCA to make democratic decisions on how to go forward!