Tribal Disenrollment RIPS Citizenship of Native Americans
Corrupt Councils Wield Sovereignty As a CLUB to BEAT the Weak
Monday, December 16, 2013
Indian Country Today: Loss of Citizenship via Disenrollment is a DISASTER
What is happening at Nooksack is making the national stage. It helps those who have been victims of corrupt activities to keep bringing their stories forward. Pechanga, Chukchansi, Redding, Pala, Cherokee Freedmen all have disenrollment stories, and they are not alone. Moratoriums have harmed hundreds, and loss of federal recognition, like the Mixed Blood Uinta Utes are stories that also need to be learned.
Read this opinion piece from Indian Country Today:
His dismay is directed not at the holding of the case, which supported the sovereign authority of the Nooksack Nation to be stupid, but to the Chief Judge’s assertion that tribal enrollment is of less legal import than loss of US citizenship.
Nowhere in Prof. Wilkins’s critique of the opinion does he touch the essential argument the judge made: “While the impact on the disenrollee is serious and detrimental, it is not akin to becoming stateless.”
I propose a thought experiment. Suppose that the persons subject to disenrollment by the Nooksacks had US citizenship not by the right of birth set out in the Fourteenth Amendment, but rather a derivative citizenship based on the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.
Suppose that upon disenrollment, US passports had to be surrendered, Social Security numbers cancelled. Would that not be at least a different kettle of fish, if not two seasons ofThe Deadliest Catch?
Disenrollees would be insulted and diminished. They may have lost affirmative action consideration if it existed anymore. They would have lost any benefits that flow though membership in the Nooksack Social Club—for so it will render itself by its own actions.
Disenrollees are not stateless persons in two senses. The first is that they still have passports and the consular rights those passports confer. They still have Social Security cards and access to the anemic social safety net those cards confer.
The second is that they are still citizens of the Nooksack Nation to the degree it still exists, as the Cherokee Nation does, as the Six Nations do, as the Navajo Nation does…I am not fully informed how many tribal nations survive, but I’m certain that it’s a substantially smaller number than can be found in 25Code of Federal RegulationsPart 83.
You don’t get your tribal citizenship from the US government.
Either something of your tribal identity, your peoplehood, survives as more than family folklore or it does not.