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United Tribe of Shawnee denied recognition

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DESOTO, Kan. - The United Tribe of Shawnee Indians was denied the right to be recognized as a tribe during its latest court battle.

The group of 30 people, which traces its ancestry to the Shawnee Indians but are not members of the tribe, had requested recognition through the BIA and asked that they be given a land base.

Jimmie D. Oyler, who owns the land the group known as the United Tribe of Shawnee Indians lives on, later dropped that request. Oyler inherited the land from an ancestor who received the land in an 1854 treaty that recognized the Shawnee Tribe.

In 1994, Oyler asked the BIA to recognize his group as a tribe, but dropped that request and later sued the U.S. Department of Defense for a part of the now decommissioned Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, claiming that part of the plant was a reservation under the treaty.

The United Tribe of Shawnee Indians is not recognized by the state of Kansas, although Oyler has claimed his group is a part of the Shawnee Tribe in Oklahoma. On its Web site the United Tribe of Shawnee Indians states it is a treaty tribe and offers various links to legal documents to support the claims.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's dismissal of the lawsuit. If Oyler and his group will continue their battle for recognition is not known at this time.