There is great hope that this new Congress will look into disenrollments, such as those perpetrated on their people by Pechanga, Redding, Picayune, San Pascual here in California. Will Rep. Diane Watson finally look into what's happening in her own back yard?
Capitol Weekly has a story up.
American Indian activists have high hopes for the new Barack Obama administration-including the hope that the issue of tribal disenrollments could finally be on the president's radar.
Many say they are closely watching who Obama will appoint to head the Department of the Interior, which overseas the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Meanwhile, the inclusion of disenrollment and other issues of importance to tribes have made it into a list of recommendations for question to ask potential Interior appointees issued by the federal General Accountability Office.
OP: We have letters posted to the candidates. PLEASE send one for each of your family members.
Last month, he named Harper and five other American Indians to his transition team. Harper was an plaintiff's attorney on the Cobell vs. Kempthorne case. This was a massive class action case charging Interior and Dick Kempthorne, the agency's director since 2006, with massive mismanagement of assets they held on behalf of American Indians.
Harper is also on record taking on some tribes that have disenrolled members, said activist Cathy Corey. In one memorable exchange on the Indian-themed radio show, he said that tribes that kicked out members were "not acting like nations."
While Harper is likely to get an appointment at Interior of elsewhere, he is not among the names being floated as director of the department. The two names that come up most often in connection to that job are Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, and Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. Thompson has long been considered friendly to tribal issues; he has already been endorsed for the job by one California tribe, the Karuk
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