By-Laws of Descendants of Puerto Rico’s First Nation (DPRFN)
Section I. Active Members:
Members, other than those adopted or associated, of this Taino tribe “Descendants of Puerto Rico’s First Nation” known as the Society throughout this document due to genetic proof of it’s members being direct descendants of the first people to settle Puerto Rico, shall by virtue of their membership be entitled to and shall be members of this Society. Upon the resignation, termination or removal of membership as hereinafter provided, that member shall cease to be a member of this Society.
No person who is a member in good standing of this Society shall be a member of any other Society, Corporation, association, organization or group whose purposes are contrary or in conflict with this Society as may be determined by the Council of this Society (i.e. groups subversive to the United States and government of Puerto Rico). The violation of this Article is grounds for termination of membership by a vote of members at any regular meeting of the members. Anyone who adversely disrupts the business of the Society can be put out of the Society and cannot be a member or attend Society meetings.
Section II. Termination of Membership:
Upon termination from membership of this Society, the member shall surrender his or her membership card and all documents in his or her possession belonging to the Society. Termination of membership of a member of a family belonging to the Society shall not be deemed to be the termination of the membership of the family.
Section III. Roster of Members:
The Secretary of the Society shall keep an accurate and up-to-date roster of all members of the Society.
Section IV. Qualifications for Membership:
Membership into the Society shall be open to all persons of American Indian ancestry from Puerto Rico via vital statistics records indicating the applicant’s ancestor was Indian(Indio), Mestizo(a), Trigueño, or a paper trail supported by DNA testing reflecting any of the Native American Haplogroups found in the Americas, particularly Haplogroups A & C, which are the most common to Puerto Rico or indigenous autosomal DNA.
All applicants shall also provide a family tree going back to Puerto Rico to at least the 1800s. Non-Indians are provided membership as stipulated in Section V hereof. Proof of Indian ancestry is required by the Council prior to the approval of the membership application. Records shall be secured and kept private from the general public but made available to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) or the US Congress/House of Representatives and/or other federal or state government offices upon application for federal recognition as an authentic indigenous tribe from Puerto Rico.
Section V. Adopted/Associate Members:
Section VI. Conduct of Members:
No member of this Society shall be allowed to remain at any meeting or at any function of the Society or otherwise be allowed to participate in any way at any meeting or function of the Society while drinking any alcoholic beverage or under the influence of any drug or alcohol or while in possession of any drug or alcohol, unless such drugs are prescribed by a doctor. Likewise, no quest shall be allowed to remain or participate as specified above while drinking or using, being under the influence of or in possession of any drug or alcohol, unless such drugs are prescribed by a doctor.
Section VII. Voting Members:
All Indian members who are 18 years old or older shall be deemed to be voting members of the Society and are eligible to hold office in the Society but cannot hold office if charged with a felony.
Section VIII. Applications for Membership:
Applications for membership in the Society shall be on forms approved for such purpose by the Council. Applications shall be submitted to the Council who shall approve or disapprove said application. Upon approval of the application by the Council, the Secretary shall issue the approved membership identification credentials to the applicant.
Section IX. Removal, Suspension and Revocation of Membership:
Any member of the Society may be removed from the Society and his or her membership be suspended or revoked as hereinafter provided:
A. (1) Any accusation against any member of the Society that such member is violating the terms of his or her membership of action against the best interest of the Society in which the Council will inquire into the truth of such allegation.
(2) Upon receipt of such accusation the Chairperson of the Council (Paramount Chief) shall appoint a committee whose responsibility it shall be to inquire into the truth of the matter.
(3) Upon the conclusion of the investigation by said committee, the results shall be forwarded to the Chairperson of the Council. The Chairperson of the Council shall have the authority, upon recommendation of the committee, to suspend a member permanently or for up to 90 days.
(4) The Council shall have the right to dismiss the complaint if it’s found without merit.
B. Upon suspension or revocation of membership by the Council, the member shall cease to be a member for such time as the suspension shall be enforce or until reinstated or readmitted. A suspended member shall automatically be reinstated upon the termination of the period of suspension unless the Council shall determine that it is in the best interest of the Society that his or her membership be revoked, at which time the Council shall submit to the members their recommendation for revocation and the reason or reasons upon which it’s based. A revoked member may not reapply for membership for a period of one year from the date of revocation. He or she shall reapply as any other person seeking membership in the Society, unless voted out for life.
C. Upon suspension or revocation, the member shall surrender his or her membership credentials and all documents in their possession belonging to the Society and all right privileges shall cease during period of suspension or revocation.
Section X. Roll Numbers:
Persons accepted for membership into the Society, under the provisions of Article I, will be assigned a permanent Roll Number and membership card which shall not bear any expiration date. This Roll Number will never hereafter be assigned to anyone else.
A permanent file will be maintained by the Society for each Roll Number containing that person’s application, genealogical records, and any other papers generated by that person’s membership activity. Termination of activity, suspension, revocation of membership, or death of a member will be entered into this file and kept for posterity.
Meeting of Members
Section I. Annual Meeting:
The annual meeting of the members of the Society shall be held in Puerto Rico at a designated location decided by the Council, on a day and time to be decided upon by the Chairperson, Secretary or other directors.
Section II. Notice of Meeting:
Regular notice of the annual meeting shall be mailed to each member of record at his/her postal mailing address or email mailing address, upon the records of the society not less than two weeks prior to the meeting by the Secretary or by such other person designated by the Secretary.
Section III. Special Meetings:
Special meetings may be held at the call of the Chairperson or the Secretary or by a majority of the Council members or upon the call of at least fifty percent of the members of the Society. Special meetings shall be held in Puerto Rico at such location and time to be designated by who called the meeting. At least two weeks notice prior to any special meeting shall be given in writing or in person to all members entitled to vote at such meeting. Business transacted at all special meetings shall be confined to the business stated in the call, unless two-thirds of the members of the Society shall be present at the meeting.
Section IV. Votes and Proxies:
Each active voting member is entitled to one vote. Votes may be cast in person or by signed proxy carried to the meeting by another active voting member or by signed proxy mailed to the Society office. Valid proxies must carry the roll number of the voting member and the date of authorization as well as the date of the meeting at which the proxy will be voted. Proxies may authorize a direct vote on one or more issues, a direct vote for particular candidates, or authorization to vote on any issues that may come before the meeting. Proxies must be announced, and copies received by the Secretary at the Society office at least 24 hours prior to the announced time of the meeting for which they are authorized.
Section I. Number of Council Members:
The Council will consist of at least five (5) and not more than Fifteen (15) members of the Society.
Section II. Initial Council:
The incorporators of the Society shall constitute the initial Council and shall appoint additional directors to the Council as needed. The initial directors of the Council and those appointed by them shall serve for the term of their office until their successors have been elected or appointed.
Section III. Powers:
The Council shall regulate and supervise the day to day affairs of the Society. It shall attend to all internal affairs of the Society and shall have all the powers bestowed upon it by law, such as establishing chartered bands. It shall make such arrangement for the carrying on of the business of the Society as it shall deem best. It may do all such lawful acts and things required to be exercised or done by the members.
Section IV. Election:
The members of the Council shall be elected at the yearly regular meeting of the members for a period of five (5) years. Members of the Council shall be elected by a majority of those voting. However, Council positions such as archaeologist, anthropologist, DNA analyst and genealogist may be appointed. If two (2) members seek and qualify for the same position, such as archaeologist, then the membership shall vote to decided which one (1) of the two (2) members will fill the position, for example.
The month preceding the expiration of the term of office of the Board of Council and at a time and place designated by the Chairperson, or if no place and time is selected by the Chairperson, then at the regular annual meeting of members the new Council directors shall be elected by the membership from nominations from the floor at the time of the meeting and shall serve for five (5) years or until their successors are elected.
The Council of Directors
Section I. Officers:
The Council shall consist of the following directors or officers, any of which may hold more than one office as is deemed necessary:
- Representative of Bands
- DNA Analyst
- Health Care Advocate
- Veterans Advocate
Two-thirds (2/3) of the offices filled will constitute a quorum.
Section II. Terms of Office:
Section III. Qualifications and Restrictions:
No more than one (1) Representative of Bands can sit on the Council. However, each band may have one (1) representative (elected or appointed) that brings grievances or other matters to the Representative of Bands who in turn brings the matters to the Council. Selection of positions on the Council shall be determined by the individual’s knowledge and credentials as a subject matter expert for the position to be filled.
Section IV. Executive Committee:
The Chief Executive of the Council and the Society as a whole, is the Chairperson of the Council. Additionally, the Council members shall serve as executive committee and shall in addition regulate the affairs of the bands from time to time as may be needed and determined by the Council.
Section V. Rules:
The Council shall make such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out their functions of importance to the Society or to do anything which may benefit the Society.
Section VI. Officers’ Duties:
The officers so designated in Section I, as Chairperson, Secretary, Ambassador, and Representative of Bands shall in addition to their office have conferred upon them the usual powers and duties, rights and privileges of the offices they hold as Chairperson, Secretary, Ambassador and Representative of Bands, and are charged to execute said powers and duties under these stipulations and laws of Puerto Rico and the United States of America.
Section VII. Removal:
Any member of the Council may be removed from office by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) majority of Council members or by vote from the majority of the membership of the Society only at a special meeting of the Council, or of the members, called for the purpose of that removal. Special meetings will be called per Article II, Section III, except that in the case involving removal from office, written notice must be sent to each member of the Society at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of said meeting.
Section VIII. Vacancy in Office:
In the event a member of the Council becomes unable or unwilling to serve, thereby creating a vacancy on the Council, the Chairperson will appoint a replacement who must then be approved by the Council members at a later date no more than thirty (30) days after the appointment. The appointee will then fill the office. If for some reason the office of Chairperson becomes vacant, the Secretary will fill the vacancy for the unexpired term of Chairperson. In this scenario the Secretary will then appoint someone to take the minutes.
Section I. Quorum:
At all directors’ meetings at least two-thirds (2/3) of the total directors shall be necessary to constitute a quorum to transact business but any lesser number shall be sufficient to adjourn the meeting.
Section II. Regular Meetings:
Regular meetings shall be held annually or as often as the Council deems necessary at such time and place as shall be determined by the Council and may be held in conjunction with the regular quarterly/monthly meeting of the Council members as hereinafter provided.
Section I. Band Meetings:
In addition to regular annual meetings of the members, bands may also hold meetings at their discretion at such time and place they may determine.
Section II. Records, Election of Officer:
The Secretary shall keep an accurate record of all bands belonging to this Society. The Chairperson may appoint a temporary Band Representative, from the active members who are eligible under Article I, to serve until the next regular or special meeting of the membership or the Council. At that meeting the appointment will be approved or rejected. A Band Representative can be removed by two-thirds (2/3) of the vote of the members of that band, voting at a regular or special meeting of that band, or by petition of the Chairperson where a Band Representative is removed from office by a vote of no-confidence, at a regular or special meeting, by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Council.
Section III. Incorporation of Bands, Use of Society Name, Seal, etc.
No band of the Descendants of Puerto Rico’s First Nation can lawfully incorporate on their own and use the name, paperwork, seal or ID card of this Society.
There is only one set of by-laws and one (1) tax exempt number (future pending) for the Descendants of Puerto Rico’s First Nation. Unless the ID cards are issued from the Society office, they are not official ID cards. (Article VI, Section III is currently a draft since the Society is not yet incorporated). Bands will be chartered by the Council. Any band not chartered by the Council are not recognized by the Society as legit bands.
Section IV. New Bands:
New bands may be organized but must first be presented to the Council for review to ensure members of the new band meet the requirements outlined in Article I. To organize a new band there must be at least 10 members.
No member of this Society shall be entitled to any portion of the net earnings of the Society except in the form of grants, scholarships or travel and lodging for educational purposes that may be available in the future. Furthermore, said net earnings shall not ensure to the benefit of any private person. However, this Society may pay a member of this Society for expenses for service rendered to it.
Robert’s Rules of Order shall be followed at all meetings whether for the Council, membership, band or otherwise.
The Descendants of Puerto Rico’s First Nation maintains much of its indigenous culture through art, music, and dance, which is not to be misinterpreted or misunderstood to represent any specific religion. Though members of the Society are made up of different religions, faiths, and denominations much of the Society’s indigenous culture is reflected in one’s pride of their American Indian heritage.
Therefore, the Descendants of Puerto Rico’s First Nation is a non-secular organization and one’s religious rights shall not be infringed as provided for by the United States Constitution. Any member who infringes on another member’s religious rights, is subject to Article I, Section IX. However, non-secular is not to be interpreted to mean that members cannot open up an activity with a prayer and give thanks to our Creator, or to say God bless, Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah, for example.
The Descendants of Puerto Rico’s First Nation is a non-partisan organization which does not belong to or support any political party, although the Society has its own in-house politics such as elections for Council members and Band Representatives, and to keep order and cohesiveness among Society members, for example. Therefore, a member of the Society who belongs to a political party outside the politics of this Society will not endanger their membership in this Society as long as the member does not impose his/her political views upon the membership of this Society. This does not mean they cannot express a point of view.
Some examples of imposing a political view are as follows; passing out political literature and champaign speeches at Society meetings or events, posting political propaganda on the Society’s Facebook page, and/or future websites. Additionally, the Descendants of Puerto Rico’s First Nation is not subversive to the United States government or the Puerto Rico government but supports and defends the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of Puerto Rico. Any abuse of this article by a member will subject him/her to Article I, Section IX.
Though the Descendants of Puerto Rico’s First Nation are direct descendants of the first people to inhabit Puerto Rico as far back as ca. 2000BC or before, we are no longer paleo as much as Europeans are no longer Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal people.
We are modern people who live in a modern society but who are proud of our Native American heritage. Therefore, at Native American functions such as POWWOW’s or Areytos, members will use careful judgment in their attire and dress in an appropriate and decent manner. Members must remember that these are family functions and that people’s mothers, wives and small children are attending and they do not need to be exposed to indecent and promiscuous attire such as men wearing only a jockstrap. Examples of proper regalia are breechclothes that effectively cover one’s genitals and buttocks so that he/she present themselves in decent attire that yet promotes the Native American culture. Inter-tribal regalia is recommended. Indecent dressing will not be tolerated within the membership of the Society and the abuse of such will subject a member to Article I, Section IX.
These by-laws may be altered, amended or additional by-laws adopted by a majority vote at any annual meeting by the Council.