Friday, October 18, 2013

NOOKSACK 306 Win Small Victory Against Abuse by BOB KELLY, Chairman.

Nooksack Tribal Court Chief Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis has ruled that 306 people facing expulsion from tribal membership rolls are entitled to legal representation when they go before the tribal council, but she has rejected other legal efforts to block the expulsion process.
OP: PECHANGA did not allow attorney's to represent disenrolled in their hearings.  Pechanga ALSO did not hear each case on it's merits, but herded groups like cattle into a hearing with at least ONE incompetent EC member, Ruth Masiel.

Seattle attorney Gabriel Galanda, representing the embattled faction of the 2,000-member Nooksack Indian Tribe, has raised a variety of arguments challenging the legality of the expulsion drive spearheaded by Tribal Chairman Bob Kelly and his supporters on the tribal council. But the tribe's attorneys have argued that the tribe, as a sovereign government, is legally immune from lawsuits in the case, and Montoya-Lewis has mostly agreed.
In her Oct. 17, 2013, ruling dismissing nearly all of Galanda's arguments, Montoya-Lewis cited a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court ruling: Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez. In that case, a majority of justices agreed that tribal councils have broad powers to make and enforce rules governing tribal membership.
"Tribal membership rules vary widely from tribe to tribe, but it's undisputed that the authority to make those rules lies at the heart of tribal governance and sovereignty," Montoya-Lewis wrote.
Galanda had argued that his clients were not getting their constitutional right to due process before they face loss of tribal membership that includes valuable fishing rights and tribal services, as well as emotional significance.
While Montoya-Lewis noted the lack of clear legal precedent determining how much "due process" tribal members must get before losing their membership, she ruled that the tribal council's proposal to give each challenged member a 10-minute telephone hearing was sufficient - as long as the members are allowed to have someone to represent them in that hearing. The tribal council had earlier told the 306 they would not be allowed to have an attorney assist them.
Otherwise, Montoya-Lewis wrote, a 10-minute telephone conference should be sufficient to determine the issue at hand. Tribal officials have presented evidence that the 306 do not descend from anyone listed on a 1942 tribal census that is the key factor for valid tribal ancestry under Nooksack membership rules.
All 306 trace their ancestry to the late Annie George. They argue that she was a Nooksack left off the census by mistake, and they have presented other legal documents and anthropologists' opinions attempting to prove that.
In perhaps the most alarming development for the 306, Montoya-Lewis wrote that the accuracy of the census doesn't matter: The tribal council has the legal right to use that census, however flawed, as the condition for membership today.
"Some tribes no longer rely on census data for enrollment and rely instead on DNA evidence," the judge wrote. "Some tribes rely entirely on census data and family trees, even when that census data was never intended for such purposes. Any way a tribe determines membership will result in what some will determine to be unfair and what others will determine to be protective of a tribe's interests."
In a final blow to the Nooksacks fighting to stay in the tribe, Montoya-Lewis rejected a legal challenge to a tribal council decision denying payment of annual back-to-school stipends of $275 to children who face eventual expulsion from the tribe.
Montoya called that decision "distasteful," but she said the tribal council had the legal authority to make it.




Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/10/18/3266417/embattled-members-of-nooksack.html#storylink=cpy

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

The disenrolled and almost disenrolled need a case to go through positive for them so that it can be used as a basis for judgement instead of Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, ughh, so tired of hearing tribal leaders' lawyers and judges cite that case, it is like an automatic shutdown for the disenrollees.
The idea of census being the basis for enrollment is ludicrous really, because my grandmother told me that many Indians did not want to talk to the census takers, they were white, and the Indians did not trust them. The tribal members were treated so badly by the government and the white people, that many Indians did not want to say they were full-blooded, they thought they would get taken away if they did. My grandfather was not allowed to ride in the front of the bus, if at all, and not allowed in most establishments in town. Hearing what our ancestors went through, is so sad, and to know that the descendants are facing this crap from their own people is unfathomable, the devil has found a home in the evil tribal leaders' souls and he is settling in.

Anonymous said...

Well said! Facing it from their own people is sad, disrespectful for our ancestors.

Anonymous said...

That's what money does to people! I have a question if all these disenrollment are about the integrity of the tribe and proper membership how come they never corrected/disenrolled before there were huge casino profits? Why are people that have been enrolled 50, 60 years now just being looked into for disenrolment? Disenrolemt started only a couple years after the casino's opened. Why did these tribal leaders let these supposedly illegitimate members stay on the rolls so long? Now there is money to be had in smaller numbers now they supposedly care about who's a real member? Some tribal leaders even disenroll with no evidence and say they have it but don't need to show anyone because they are soverieign "Robert smith"...u are not sovereign the tribe is! So at least show us your secret unknown proof.

White Buffalo said...

To, October 19, 2013 at 8:54 AM

The answer is simple it was about federal dollars. The more members a recognized tribe had the more in federal aid, for housing, medical, food allotments, education, and a manner of other aid packages specific to the tribe and the treaty/allotment agreements between the tribe and government.

White Buffalo said...

I forgot to mention, for some of the less scrupulous tribes the more money to embezzle. In many cases the tribal leaders funneled money out of the trust funds set up for the tribe and lived well. While the rest of the tribe. Old, young, uneducated members lived in abject poverty. My grandfather told stories about his grandmother who remembered the Indian Agent who would take the government discernments. and sell the food to the people it was supposed to go to for free. If he liked you and your family he would be more generous toward them.

White Buffalo said...

I forgot to mention, for some of the less scrupulous tribes the more money to embezzle. In many cases the tribal leaders funneled money out of the trust funds set up for the tribe and lived well. While the rest of the tribe. Old, young, uneducated members lived in abject poverty. My grandfather told stories about his grandmother who remembered the Indian Agent who would take the government discernments. and sell the food to the people it was supposed to go to for free. If he liked you and your family he would be more generous toward them.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

In Pala there have been no hearings for disenrollees, with or without representation. No opportunity to face our accusers. No chance to present our evidence to the tribe, even though the Pala Constitution protects our right to due process.

That is why we claim that we have been denied due process. The Pala Executive Committee has no respect for our rights or for the tribe's Constitution. The BIA and the courts upheld the denial of our civil rights. Apparently our civil rights are not worth protecting because we are Indians.

Luiseno said...

"In Pala there have been no hearings for disenrollees, with or without representation"

Such is the problem when a Tribe has NO COURT system. As with Pechanga, they have no court system, so the people we had to go before to judge our disenrollment were the very same people who were responsible for our disenrollment. It was like a rape victim haveing to go before the very same person who raped them for justice! How fair was that?

Anonymous said...

How would you trust a court system that was set up say by Pechanga or Pala. When Fletcher Ibanez was the Riverside B.I.A. supervisor he was changing IBD cards for Pechanga on the disenrolled Indians.