Monday, May 10, 2010

Increasing Efforts to Draw Attention to Disenrollments In Indian Country and Boycotts Of Offending Tribes

Elizabeth Larson of the Lake County News has another story on the protests of Tribal Disenrollments in California, this time on the Robinson Rancheria. Read the Full Article


Throughout the day Friday, about two dozen American Indian community members and their friends stood alongside the entry into Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino, holding signs, shouting slogans and trying to bring attention to the situation of local tribal disenrollees.

The action comes in the wake of a Bureau of Indian Affairs decision last month to uphold the December 2008 disenrollment action carried out by the Robinson Rancheria Citizens Business Council against a total of 67 tribal members, as Lake County News has reported.

Members of the Quitiquit family, several dozen of whom were disenrolled from the tribe, were back at the scene on Friday, a day they picked because it also was the fifth annual National Indian Day.

The group called for a boycott of the casino and demanded a hearing on what they argue are civil and human rights violations.

They carried signs with slogans that accused the tribe of offering the disenrollees no due process and misspending tribal and federal funding.

But the main issue was the disenrollment action, which has cut off the now-former tribal members from the rancheria and their cultural ties. They say disenrollment is an attack on their identity as American Indians.

“Why is the government backing this genocide on paper?” asked Wanda Quitiquit, one of her family's most vocal members.

A message left at the tribal office seeking comment was not returned.

Quitiquit, ironically, worked for years as a member of the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization (AIRRO), to bring attention to the growing number of disenrollment actions across California and the nation before she herself became a target of it.
AIRRO has estimated 3,500 Indians have been disenrolled in California, with a total of 11,000 civil and human rights violations across the United States as a whole.


During the Friday protest, American Indians from other tribes – including Dry Creek in Sonoma County, and the Apache and Passamaquoddy, the latter from Maine – stopped in to ask questions, as did other community members.


Natives from other areas agreed that many of the problems facing tribes is all about money.

The Quitiquits and others whose names were removed from the tribal rolls say they are planning to appeal the BIA decision, with a letter expected to go out to the agency announcing that intention this week.


“We really don't want to go into court, but if that's the last thing we have to do, that's what we'll do,” Quitiquit said.


Even a favorable court decision doesn't guarantee a welcome back into the tribe, she said, pointing to court rulings in other states that still left disenrollees without resolution.


However, there are efforts to draw attention to the disenrollment problem, both from other activists and from Lake County's congressman, who is calling for a congressional hearing on the matter.


On April 29, North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson wrote a letter to Congressman Nick Rahall, who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, which includes the Office of Indian Affairs.


“Disenrollment of tribal members is an issue among tribes in my district and throughout California, as well as in other parts of the United States,” Thompson wrote. “In some cases, members are voted out of tribes for bona fide reasons such as their lack of relative bloodline and/or failure to meet membership or residency requirements in accordance with tribal constitutions. However, in other cases, there appears to be arbitrary removal of entire families for obscure reasons.”


Thompson explained that when Congress passed the Indian Civil Rights Act in 1968, tribal members who believed that their civil rights were abused had no legal recourse except to turn to the tribal bodies that were accused of civil rights infringements.


“On behalf of the growing number of disenrolled Native Americans, I believe this issue merits a congressional oversight hearing be convened to review enforcement of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968,” he said.


Late last week, Thompson's Washington, DC office told Lake County News that there had been no formal response to, or acknowledgment of, the letter yet.

Quitiquit said she and the others impacted by the disenrollment action are looking to Thompson for leadership at this time.

12 comments:

Carolyn said...

We stand with you and wish we could be at the protest. We continue to write letters requesting an oversight hearing - we are with you!

Snoqualmie9

'aamokat said...

Our anonymous critic will say again, "the disenrolled lost their tribal membership because the facts were not on their side and the tribe was simply correcting an error in the membership rolls.

They went through established procedures that afforded them a simple due process."

1. We didn't get due process in anyway, shape, or form because the tribal council and the enrollment committee allowed close relatives of people who submitted and/or signed statements against our tribal membership to rule on our disenrollment cases.

So how did we get due process if it wasn't fair and impartial?

Which is a violation of the equal protection clause of the Temecula Band's, sometimes referred to as the Pechanga Band, constitution and bylaws under Article V which forbids malice or predujice against individual tribal members.

And this is happening all over Indian country as well with virtually the same story over and over again at places like the Robinson Rancheria.

Anonymous said...

please dont leave out moratorium people we to are fighting for our rights

Anonymous said...

please dont leave out moratorium people we to are fighting for our rights

Anonymous said...

please dont leave out moratorium people we to are fighting for our rights

'aamokat said...

Our critic doesn't usually say anything about the moratorium.

If he did he would probably say, "you had a lot of years to join the tribe so how come you never joined before?"

My answer to him would be, we know that people had their applications in before the deadline but were stuck in the moratorium anyway and that the moratorium should have been declared unconstitutional because the Band's constitution says open enrollment is every January.

Anonymous said...

Moratorium:1. Agreed period of delay - A formally agreed period during which an activity is halted or a planned activity is postponed. 2.Allowed delay in meeting obligation - a period during which a person, usually a debtor, has the right to postpone meeting an obligation.

Does the Pechanga Constitution state that enrollment issues are left to the Enrollment Committee or the Tribal Membership? When the motion was made to implement a moratorium, who made the motion, the general membership or enrollment committee. Who was authorized to do so according to the constitution.

'aamokat said...

Although the General Membership did pass the moratorium in 1996 and twice extend it in 2000 and, I believe in 2008, The Band's constitution and bylaws under Article VIII meetings says, "The simple majority of members shall rule and decide in all matters of government and business of the Band, unless stipulated otherwise in these Bylaws."

Article II of the constitution and bylaws, membership, says, "The membership will be opened the first month of each year by the Band's Enrollment Committee."

So since it is stipulated in the constitution and bylaws that open enrollment is supposed to be January of each year, the moratorium should be ruled unconstitutional.

But even if the law were legitimate its selective enforcement makes it null and void.

Among allegations of wrongdoing made by newly elected members of the enrollment committee in 2002, among them members of the Hunter and Manuela Miranda families, against committee members from the CPP faction of the tribe were:

1. Adults enrolled prior to the 2000 election despite the moratorium.

2. People who had their applications in before the deadline ended up in the moratorium anyway.

But even though the tribal council was informed of the allegations they did nothing about it and those same enrollment committee members from the CPP faction were allowed to rule on the disenrollment cases of the M. Miandas and Hunters and Predictively we were disenrolled in 2004 and 2006 respectively.

Sounds like payback by the CPP to me.

Sidenote: recently the tribe reportedly voted to not process applications of people who had beaten the deadline for the moratorium which gives credance to the allegations made against enrollment committee members of the CPP in 2002 and 2003.

'aamokat said...

Regarding enrollment and disenrollment (besides open enrollment each January), it is not stimpulated in the constitution and bylaws that the enrollment committee has the final authority on these issues.

In fact after the enrollment committee had turned down the membership applications of the heirs of Rose Murphy in 1986, including current tribal councilman Russell Butch Murphy, the general membership voted to overturn the committee's decision and take in the Murphys as tribal members.

So the tribal council's letter of March 14, 2006 saying the Hunters were not covered by the July 17, 2005 law outlawing disenrollment, by the way only 2 days before the Hunters were disenrolled, doesn't hold water.

In this letter the council claimed, "The General Membership, through its own authority, may not interrupt or question the actions of the Enrollment Committee concerning enrollment or disenrollment. This is illegal and in violation of established precedent in Tribal law."

Established legal precedent?

Then why is Butch Murphy in the tribe?

'aamokat said...

I want to clear up part of my last statement.

I didn't mean to say that the Band's constitution and bylaws stipulates that the enrollment committee has final authority regarding if there is open enrollment or not.

It is clear that the constitution and bylaws mandates open enrollment is every January otherwise the general membership has final authority on all matters of tribal government and business, including enrollment issues, as it is not stipulated that they don't.

Anonymous said...

A lot of Tribes use moratoriums for whatever reasons in spite of the enrollment clauses in their respective constitutions. It is a non issue and, moratoriums ". Agreed period of delay - A formally agreed period during which an activity is halted or a planned activity is postponed. 2.Allowed delay in meeting obligation - a period during which a person, usually a debtor, has the right to postpone meeting an obligation." at the end of the day moratoiums are legal and can be used, if need be a Tribe can include it as an amendment, etc. It is what it is. There is not way you can defeat it.

'aamokat said...

Anonymous of May 17,2010 9:28 said...

"A lot of Tribes use moratoriums for whatever reasons in spite of the enrollment clauses in their respective constitutions. It is a non issue and, moratoriums ". Agreed period of delay - A formally agreed period during which an activity is halted or a planned activity is postponed. 2.Allowed delay in meeting obligation - a period during which a person, usually a debtor, has the right to postpone meeting an obligation." at the end of the day moratoiums are legal and can be used, if need be a Tribe can include it as an amendment, etc. It is what it is. There is not way you can defeat it."

The Band's constitution and bylaws under Article VIII meetings says, "The simple majority of members shall rule and decide in all matters of government and business of the Band, unless stipulated otherwise in these Bylaws."

Article II of the constitution and bylaws, membership, says, "The membership will be opened the first month of each year by the Band's Enrollment Committee."

I guess the Band's constitution and bylaws means nothing to our anonymous pro moratorium person because it clearly says the general membership is the final authority on everything except where it is stipulated in the bylaws.

So again since it is clearly stipulated in those bylaws that there is open enrollment the first month of each year, the moratorium is null and void.

In addition, it wasn't an amendment to the Band's constitution and bylaws, which requires a 2/3 majority of the number of voters in the last election, so for this reason this person's pro moratorium argument also doesn't hold water.

But that is how we our opponents do everything they twist, bend, and flat out break the rules to suit their agenda.

You know, deep down they know I am right but they just don't care as long as they are getting their check.