Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Disenrollment Demands Serious Attention from ALL SOVEREIGN NATIONS, Including the Federal Government

Attorney Ryan Seelau has an essay in Indian Country Today on the issue of the harmful action of disenrollment foisted upon thousands of Native Americans by their own tribe.

Before I go any further, let me be very clear about something. The Nooksack Indian Tribe
—like all Native Nations—are sovereign and, collectively, the Nooksack Indian Tribe possesses the inherent right of self-determination. The right to self determination includes, among other things, the right of a Native Nation to citizenship. And the right to define citizenship includes both a right to
include individuals as citizens of the nation as well as to exclude individuals from being citizens of the nation. 

This right is qualified, or at least should be, by due process protections. Unfortunately, many Native Nations spend their time focusing on citizenship selection criteria while ignoring the need for procedural protections.   OP: In our case, the Pechanga tribe herded us into groups and only allowed ONE person to speak to our "lot" on appeal. We could not bring writing implements, have an attorney present, nor present any evidence against those who accused us with no evidence.

While many Native Nations are now doing pro-terminationist’s dirty work by revoking their own peoples’ citizenship – often through disenrollment procedures based on membership rolls and other artificial requirements originally created by the federal government – and, by extension, causing a cultural identity crisis, there are Native Nations that recognize the serious consequences of disenrollment and are looking for different options. For example, the Graton Rancheria government recently revised their constitution to put in place significant protections for its people. Although disenrollment is still legally possible under Graton Rancheria law, it can only occur in cases of fraud or mistake, and even then the proceedings must take place within a three-year statute of limitations. To further protect its citizenry, any changes to citizenship laws can only occur when with the approval of two-thirds the adult population. Examples like this one, though, are scarce across Indian Country, and need to be more prevalent.   OP:  Congratulations to Graton Rancheria for finding a proper way to treat their citizenship.   We've written extensively on Chukchanski, Pala, Pechanga, Redding on how they have not followed their own tribal laws and how sovereign nations, including our own government, should treat these tribes that harm their people.   No water rights, not attending functions at those casinos of disenrolling tribes.

READ the rest of the story at the link above.