The Plaintiffs in this case were denied due process and their own tribal council would not follow their own laws. This is a victory for tribal members over a corrupt council. A great day for tribal country and for this tribe's applicants membership. Another crack in the sovereignty dam.
"The Tribe had previously taken the position it would not honor its own Tribal blood quantum certifications," said Fisher, attorney for Tappen and Ayling. "That resulted in Tribal applicants who were born to Tribal members who had at least one half degree Indian blood quantum, not being allowed to use their parents to prove their members (eligibility).
"The Tribe has taken the position for the last several years that one half of one half does not equal one quarter."
Chief Judge Kevin K. Washburn, Associate Judges Robert Kittecon, and Dennis Peterson issued an opinion and an order that would allow Dennis Tappen, Angela Ayling and Skykur Graveratte "due process rights" with their applications for Tribal enrollment.
Section 6A, of the Tribe's enrollment ordinance provides the documentation that may be used by applicants for membership to establish one quarter degree Indian blood required by the Tribe's Constitution," said Frank Cloutier, Tribal public relation's director. "The Tribe's Court of Appeals ruled in the Graveratte case that the Tribe must allow other types of evidence to be presented and considered when determining whether an applicant meets the one quarter degree Indian blood requirement.
"Similarly, in the the Tappen and Ayling cases, the Appeals Court held that the Tribe must consider its own Tribal certification for blood quantum purposes."
Cloutier said the blood certifications made by the Tribal certifiers are "presumed valid unless the Tribe provides evidence to the contrary."
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