Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Santa Ynez Tribe Wins Right to Reduce Indian Population In Their Tribe, WITH BIA's assistance

From the attorney for Santa Ynez people that were denied citizenship in their own tribe, Jon Velie.  Velie is well known for fighting for the civil and human rights of Native Americans, against those tribes who would strip them from their brothers and sisters.

For those who followed our case about the Santa Ynez Indian people that were denied citizenship in their Tribe because the BIA confirmed a decision of the temporary election committee officials to analyze and utilize documents outside of the historical document adopted by the people in its Constitutional document, we lost.

The Federal Court was able to hear this case because of a rare clause in the Tribe's Constitutional document that granted the BIA the duty to hear appeals on membership issues.
In our opinion the BIA shirked its fiduciary duty to ensure the officials followed the laws passed by the people.
Unfortunately, the Court agreed with the BIA that it was reasonable for the officials to ask the Plaintiffs to prove that not only was their ancestor listed on the 1940 historical document a full blood, but that her father was too.
We cited federal and tribal court cases that say whatever facts are listed on the historical document are not open to interpretation.
Yet we lost and so did all Indians who have Constitutions that adopted historical documents to prove membership, because this ruling means an appointed officials can now determine whether the rolls may be accurate instead of requiring them to take the data on them as facts. With this additional power, nobody is safe from the whim of analysis.
Today my client's authorized me to appeal. I do so on their behalf and for all who are now exposed.
The fight for Native peoples who's identity is being stripped by their Tribal and Federal governments goes forward.
While physical genocide of Indian people may have passed into the ugly past, native identicide continues as the U.S. policy to reduce numbers of people who can claim the benefits of being an Indian increased its toll by dozens.

The saddest part is the partnership some tribes have taken to assist the Feds in terminating their numbers.

There is strength in numbers. Reducing tribal population based on Disenrollment, moratoriums on enrollment, purging of rolls, utilization of excessive or extra requirements and implementation of blood quantum all have to the same effect, reducing the number of Indians.
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