Frequent commenter to Original Pechanga's blog, Allen L. Lee is a guest blogger today with his proposal for a solution to continue and foster government to government reations between Native Nations and the U. S. Please ADD your comments.
The dis-enrollment of thousands of people from Native Nations in the U.S. has reached a crisis. From my view these dis-enrollments, largely based on the re-evaluation of the lineal descent of a previously recognized citizen/ member of a Native Nation is in opposition of the human rights principle that everyone has a right to belong to their respective Nations.
I take no issue with the rights of tribes to determine who may or may not become members of their tribes if the person’s were/are not previously recognized as members. That is what I believe the right to define who a tribe is by membership is meant to protect.
Those that have already been recognized by the tribe as members/citizens I believe have a right to belong, barring any traditional justifications for removal that can be substantiated in an historical context.
Re-defining who or what a tribe is should not infringe on the right of a member/citizen to belong. Almost all of the modern dis-enrollments are done with a foundation of Euro-American race and family lineage. Few have any tribal historical context at all and most can be traced to American requirements of Blood Quantum to prove a racial heritage. In this light, the U.S. must take a full measure of responsibility or any and all dis-enrollments and Native Nation citizenship disputes that revolve around Blood Quantum.
The three processes considered will be presented from the least desirable to most desirable from my perspective.
The least desirable would be to remove the offending dis-enrolling nations from the registry of federally recognized nations. Although I feel that it’s justification would be based on the clear fact the people who we as a nation originally agreed to recognize as sovereigns are no longer a part of that sovereign nation due to being dis-enrolled, thereby changing one of the cardinal tenets of federal recognition, being a retaining of a historical contexts, the removal from federal recognition would be tantamount to termination, especially since native nations people are recognized as having dual citizenship.
Second on the proposal would be what Diane Watson has already initiated in Congress regarding severing relations with tribes until they adhere to treaty and/ or Indian Civil Rights Act guidelines. This solution technically has no intervention offenses committed by the U.S. against Native Nations, just a refusal to finance or fund the acts of dis-enrollments.
The severing of relations is an act of sanctions, not interference, but the shortcoming in this action is that it approaches the Native Nations as if they were autonomous sovereigns, which they are not.
They are dependent sovereigns that cannot negotiate extradition treaties with foreign nations; they cannot harvest native foods and medicines and send them to foreign nations or even across state lines without federal inspection. They cannot manufacture are trade arms with foreign nations. If the U.S could technically severe relations with a domestic dependent sovereign then technically the Confederate States of America would have legal grounds to exist, and they don’t.
The flaw with the other two proposals is that they digress from one of the most important purposes of diplomacy, and that is to continue government-to-government relations with another sovereign.
My final proposal and most desirable for me from a U.S. citizen perspective would be for the federal government to encourage and recognize coalition governments consisting of those people that the U.S. may determine to have been wrongly dis-enrolled from their Native Nations, and the governments that approved of the dis-enrollments.
This solution fosters the principle of diplomacy, and continued government-to-government relations between the U.S. and Native Nations. It encourages the dis-enrolled to continue to exercise their right to belong to their Native Nation and enhance their collective powers of sovereignty without encouraging the creations of newly formed factional bands outside of any historical context.It also allows the U.S. the opportunity to continue government-to-government relation with the whole sovereign instead of a remnant depleted by internal or external acts.
It shows less of an act of preference for one group of people or the other with-in the idea of a “National” identity.I think the fostering of coalitions governments through mutual recognition of the wrongly dis-enrolled and the dis-enrollers is the best solution for the dis-enrollment crisis from a U.S. perspective.
Allen L. Lee