SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has ordered a $63,000 civil judgment against four people who claim to be chiefs of an American Indian tribe in eastern Utah.
The men, who organized at a fast-food restaurant and say they have hundreds of tribal members, refuse to recognize federal or state laws, have issued their own drivers' licenses and filed countless lawsuits against Utah authorities for ignoring their purported sovereignty.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Stephen P. Friot ordered the men to stop pretending to be American Indians and pay Uintah County damages. He called their tribe a "complete sham."
The group calls itself the Wampanoag Nation, borrowing from the name of Mashpee Wampanoag Nation, a Massachusetts tribe that greeted the Pilgrims in 1620.
Officials with the federally recognized tribe told The Associated Press the Utah men were obvious impostors.
The tribe, which has strict rules of lineage dating to the 19th century, often deals with phony membership claims, said Gayle Andrews, a spokeswoman for the Mashpee Wampanoag Nation.
"A lot of white people are like, `I'm Wampanoag,"' Andrews said. "But you can't just Google yourself into membership. It's not doable."
Hey, you can't blame them for wanting all the benefits that go with having your own Indian nation. They should have just gone with a casino like all the rest of them.