Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shunned Tribal Members Claim Civil Right Violations

OP: More evidence that some tribes in Indian Country are so out of control, that they will end up hurting all tribes.

Shunned tribal members claim civil rights violations
By Stephanie Vosk also by George Brennan April 29, 2008 6:00 AM

Amelia and Steven Bingham, shunned by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in December 2006, yesterday filed a civil suit against tribal council leaders in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. They are asking a jury to overturn the tribal council's sanctions as a violation their of civil rights. The suit also seeks unspecified financial compensation.
Michael Altman, a high-profile Boston lawyer specializing in civil rights cases, is representing the mother and son. The Binghams are arguing that the tribal council violated their civil rights by banning them from tribal activities and benefits for seven years after they filed a separate suit in Barnstable Superior Court, along with tribe members Stephanie Tobey-Roderick and Michelle Fernandes. That action seeks access to the tribe's financial information. "We would hope that the Massachusetts court system would not tolerate any group that seeks to silence people because they're saying things that others don't want to hear," Altman said yesterday.

The tribal leadership remains unruffled. "The Binghams continue to be obsessed with trying to force the commonwealth to impose its laws on our sovereign nation," tribal council Chairman Shawn Hendricks said through a spokesman. "They have failed repeatedly in those efforts." The shunning hasn't stopped the Binghams from speaking out against the tribe's leaders and their deals with casino investors. The pair also cooperated with investigators who launched a probe of tribe finances in September.
In the suit, the Binghams also claim the tribal council violated their civil rights by barring them from the tribe's annual powwow last July. Police were called to the public celebration to enforce a no-trespass order requested by the tribal council earlier that day. "The use of police officers to deny plaintiffs access to a public event constitutes threats, intimidation and coercion," the suit states. With the annual event slated for this July, the Binghams are seeking a court injunction that will allow them to attend.
In a telephone interview, Amelia Bingham said they filed suit after exhausting other attempts to have the shunning lifted. That includes an overwhelming vote by tribe members in January to reverse the shunning order. "We have to do something to stop these people," she said. "They've hurt me to the core by discriminating against me and they're going to have to pay for that."

Full Article HERE

OP: OH, and the shadow Snoqualmie government that is abetted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has resulted in this mess:

Snoqualmie Tribe banishes banish 8 members, disenrolls 60

Members of the Snoqualmie Tribe banished eight tribal members Sunday, and more than 60 others have received letters informing them they have been disenrolled from the tribe. A selected group of Snoqualmies designated "preferred voters" (uh, PREFERRED VOTERS?)by honorary(meaning NOT-ELECTED) chief Jerry Enick and tribal council members gathered in an all-day, closed-door meeting Sunday at the Issaquah Hilton to consider punishment of the tribal chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and two council members. They were accused of operating an "illegal, shadow government" after being suspended by Enick (who has NO power to suspend)last fall, when he asserted control of the tribal government.

The banished maintain they are the rightful, duly elected leaders of the tribe. A tribal spiritual leader and a minister of the Indian Shaker church were also banished, along with the chairman's brother. Sunday's events were the latest in a long-running dispute between battling factions in the tribe. At stake are control of the tribal government and what promises to be one of the most lucrative casinos in the state, scheduled to open in November. Today, two councils claim to be the legitimate leaders of the Snoqualmies -- one composed of now-banished members who've gathered regularly in a private home and the other that continues to meet in the tribe's administrative offices.

The accusations against the banished members range from treason to saying a prayer, according to tribal resolutions of discipline issued this month. Banishment is the most extreme punishment in Indian Country, usually reserved for capital crimes such as murder, or drug dealing. The banished lose all right to be on tribal land, claim tribal benefits or even claim Indian identity.

OP: THIS has to be addressed. Some jerk like Enick is saying now that these people are no longer Indians and POOF, the Feds will agree?
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