Monday, June 29, 2015

Galanda: Disenrollment Causes Tribal Classism, Income Inequality - NOT the Indian Way,...

Gabe Galanda of Galanda Broadman Law Firm has a piece up on how tribal disenrollment is

“One hundred fifty years ago, this was utopia — with no (social) classes, no rich, no poor, no starving people. Everyone lived together in 1,000-foot longhouses, and they knew the difference between right and wrong.” —NCAI President Brian Cladoosby, Seattle Times

Disenrollment is destroying the remaining vestiges of the American indigenous utopia.  OP: At Pechanga, the very people who used to come begging for help, with milk or diapers to our family elder, since passed, Lawrence Madariaga, are the same people who worked to disenroll him.

Tribal commercialism, specifically gaming per capita craze, runs roughshod over communal ways. Fueled by Indian political power and financial greed, wrong too frequently prevails over what is right. And tribal communities are being stratified into socio-economic classes—classes of rich, poor and starving Indians.  OP:  Tribes will say 'it's NOT about the money", but that argument is wiped out  by the total stolen, which is now over $800 MILLION.  Greed? Yes, at Pechanga, a rightful family the Tosobol descendents we kept out because "there were too many of them"

In other words, disenrollment causes or exacerbates income inequality within tribal communities.  As Peninsula College economics professor, Dr. Dan Underwood, recently remarked on the tribal disenrollment epidemic, applying tenets of behavioral economics:

[R]ecent studies indicate “selfishness” is a luxury, that becomes culturally acceptable and individually rewarded as income and wealth increase. Thus, historical notions of identity were established when sharing was necessary to reproduce culture. Now, with new sources of revenues, historical conceptions of culture are abandoned to benefit particular class interests. What we observe happening to tribes mirrors the more general movement towards ever great degrees of concentration of wealth and power.

(Such selfishness and classism flies in the face of grassroots Indian movements ranging from the American Indian Movement and National Indian Youth Council, to Idle No More and Last Real Indians, all of which focus(ed) on externalized Indian equality and unity, rather than difference and division.)

More specifically, disenrollment—especially when tribal-wealth or per-capita driven—creates or widens classes of:

Middle-to-upper class Indians, and lower-class Indians;
Employed Indians, and unemployed Indians;
Safe and sound Indians, and homeless Indians;
Solvent Indians, and bankrupt Indians;
Politically popular Indians, and outcast Indians;
“Rez” Indians (including subsets of “from-the-Rez” and “Johnny-come-lately” folks), and “off-Rez” Indians.

READ MORE:  Galanda Broadman Law Firm

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