William McRae of Ewing, New Jersey may call himself “Crown Prince Emperor El Bey Bigbay Bagby,” but a federal judge has decided he must face justice on a 2009 DUI charge anyway.
The 41-year-old McRae asked a federal judge to remove him from the criminal case filed in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.
In court documents, McRae argues he’s a member of the Powhattan Renape Tribe and not a citizen of the United States.
McRae has made headlines before, petitioning New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to grant hundreds of acres of tribal land in the Garden State.
The photo above came from McRae’s @CrownEmperor Twitter account, which is one of the most bizarre social media streams I have ever examined. In pursuit of some kind of legitimization, McRae has accepted artifacts on behalf of the tribe while wearing a headdress that is more reminiscent of the Washitaw Nation, the bizarre Creole-flavored group that imported Posse Comitatus ideas into the Moorish Science Temple, than any actual Native American tribe.
McRae seems to have reinvented himself in the Powhattan tribal identity when their decline as a community left their image open to exploitation. Although he somehow managed to gain control of the tribe’s phone number, McRae’s claims to the now-abandoned last Native American reservation in Southern New Jersey certainly seem far-fetched, to say the least:
JoAnne Hawkins, the Powhatan Renape representative on the New Jersey Commission on American Indian Affairs, is not impressed with the man who claims to be the tribe’s new leader.
“He isn’t legitimate,” Hawkins said. “He has nothing to do with Powhatan Renape Nation.”
Doreen Adele “Autumn Wind” Scott, the commission’s chairwoman and a member of North Jersey’s Ramapough Lenape Nation, said she had heard about the Crown Prince and would look into his claims.
But other Powhatan members and people posting on Native-American website forums have questioned why the council hasn’t taken action against the Crown Prince.
“Our tribal leadership lacks a spiritual foundation, so we’re unable to thrive as an organized Nation and it appears non-members are taking advantage of our time of weakness,” Wendy Logan, a Powhatan formerly from South Jersey, said in an email from Arizona.
The Southern Poverty Law Center first noticed fringe black separatists moving from Pennsylvania into New Jersey in 2007. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, many of these groups have adapted the white supremacist ‘sovereign citizen’ movement’s ideas into their weird belief systems. Some self-proclaimed members of the Moorish Nation have issued themselves fake identification and license plates for years, while others have gotten in trouble for “paper terrorism” by filing false liens and financial instruments.