Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Legality of Tribal Disenrollments

Blogger Erick RHOAN (name corrected now) has a series of posts about Tribal Disenrollments and the Law. For those of you that may think the consequences of disenrollment is like being kicked out of the country club, Erick points out, it's much more than that.

What is disenrollment? Disenrollment is the end result of a tribal proceeding whereby a particular federally recognized Indian tribe strips an individual tribal member of their status as a Native American with eradication of all rights and privileges that he or she may have previously enjoyed as a member.

In effect, the disenrolled is no longer a Native American. That in itself is shocking to say the least because most people, even I, have always been led to believe that one’s lineage is unalterable. When you fill out forms or applications you will sometimes see an optional section of the form dealing with race or ethnicity; one bubble or checkbox will usually say “Native American,” or “American Indian.” If you are a disenrolled tribal member you can technically no longer check this box. No person living inside the United States has to worry about such a thing happening to them except Native Americans.

There’s more to being a disenrolled Indian than just loss of ethnic identity. Disenrolled Indians no longer have access to specially arranged healthcare that, under normal circumstances, they could not have afforded in the first place. Access to education is substantially impaired as there are many funding sources that are only available to federally recognized Indian students.
In certain cases, the disenrolled are ejected from the tribal grounds and can never return.

Erick's site is at: Strict Liability in Blog please take a look
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