Sunday, August 20, 2017

The MORAL STAIN of TRIBAL DISENROLLMENT

MORALITY:  a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.


The Obama Administration and the George W. Bush administration that preceded him, both suffered from "SPINELESS MORALITY" Their Bureau of Indian Affairs turn a blind eye to civil rights violations by native American tribes at every opportunity.   Will the Donald Trump administration be just as guilty?


Obama was okay with tribes cutting 25% of their membership, but are going bullistic over perceived civil rights violations such as requiring ID to vote ( a 15th amendment right), while having no problems requiring ID to purchase weapons (a second amendment right).

The spineless Tribal Leaders call on "sovereignty rights" to allow tribes to violate 1st, 14th, 15th and ex post facto laws.  A law has no meaning unless it was rendered with morality, ethics, heart, and equity at its foundation. (h/t C.Sunray)

As Abraham Lincoln said:  "No one has the right to choose to do what is wrong!"
Yet our BIA, our representatives and our executive branch are allowing just that.  
Attorney  Dennis Chappabitty argued that not only does the BIA have a fiduciary duty to protect Pala disenrollees from a corrupt government. THEY HAVE THE RIGHT to do so because Pala has a federally approved constitution. Where is the Senate Committee on Indian affairs?  The last 3 committee chairs, Barrasso, Cantwell and now Hoeven haven't even held a hearing!

We wrote about Temecula excusing the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians "moral dance" here

IT IS WRONG to abuse your own people and then wield sovereignty like a club to beat the weak!  How many more than the 11,000 that have been harmed so far need to be hurt before it's seen as WRONG?

12 comments:

a. robot said...

The Trump administration needs to abolish the B.I.A. and soon!!

Anonymous said...

And Congress needs to act on all of these Corrupt Tribal leaders that are abusing there own people.
By Congress not acting on this issue is giving the go ahead for the leaders to do as they please and to steal all the money from the Tribes and disenroll legit Native Americans.
People need to push Congress to act in any way they can until change is made.
Tribal Members need to band together and stop the money that is flowing into the political arena's by voting it down at your Tribal Meetings and don't take no for an answer.
Then maybe Congress will step in and act to stop the Corruption.

Anonymous said...

Is there any judge's who have jurisdiction on these matters? If judges can halt the presidents travel bans why cant a judge stop a disenrollment from happening? Is sovereignty really untouchable? In my opinion since no one can do anything about these cases now is to create a court system to hear and judge these cases. Is it possible for the disenrollees to create such a thing or are we just suppose to wait for the spineless BIA to do something? Because casino people on my reservation won't ever bring my family back. But they are the ones who run with greed. Casino people only care about casino profit.

Anonymous said...

The only way that seems to get the attention of the Government is when violence breaks out and people get hurt or killed.
So maybe it's time to get locked and loaded and go for it.

Lezlie Grigone said...

Next Level Disenrollment
Re: Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

Culprits such as Chairman Greg Sarris are few among California's sovereign nations tribal leadership. Thousands of California Indians have been violated by those few.

Aside from the couple of reams of documentation this boils down to a 'he said / she said' case. I said he did it on purpose, he said it was a mistake; either way he did it. Chairman Sarris does not get to cheat and hurt tribal members, not even by mistake. At a minimum he is guilty of gross malfeasance for his failure to take responsibility for his mistake long before now.

Chairman Sarris is highly educated (Ph.D.). Chairman Sarris acted with malice and forethought. When questioned by the 9th Circuit Court, under oath, Chairman Sarris testified he made a mistake.

Everybody makes mistakes, it's what you do after a mistake, (what lengths he's gone to avoid accountability), that matter. As far as mistakes go, this was a dozy, it caught the attention of the 9th Circuit Court.

The Chairman received no disciplinary, no censure and he never apologized to me; as a matter of fact subsequent to being ousted from my duly elected Office of Tribal Secretary I complained and received a 5 year disciplinary sanction. Wrongful prosecution. I served more than eight (8) years on that 5 year sentence.

Chairman Greg Sarris is the leader of a sovereign people, a small group of 1300+ persons, many elderly and children. This is no giant bureaucracy. Chairman Greg Sarris is accountable for his abuses and offences. By ousting me, Sarris invalidated every vote, and by definition, corrupted the government; and with the wrongful prosecution established ominous control - 'Do what he wants and don't talk back.'

I have been severely harmed and cheated of irreclaimable years of my voice, vote, benefits; my mother, father and sister have gone to their graves. I was exiled, kicked out and continue under threat of being charged with harassment and being kicked out again. I am not to write letters or approach / confront him in public. I know other tribal members fear it could happen to them. I know Chairman Sarris's offences and abuses are abhorent to other sovereign peoples.

At the time of my ousting I was a clam shell bead artist, one of 8 shell artists featured in Winter 2002/2003 News from Native California art magazine. Most of the 80s and 90s I worked in prisons; with familiarization of bureaucracies, police states, and long legal battles for rights.


Lezlie Grigone
Tribal Elder

WeRone said...

The sad truth is several episodes of illegal actions taken within bands because the only actions against these acts are violence. Some bands have voiced their opinions and the council has ignored the will of the people knowing their is no way to stop their corrupt actions against the band. Then the band is scared to death they could be next. The only thing that really matters is the TRUTH needs to be shared and upheld and the corrupt need to face the TRUTH even if violence is the only solution. If a band ignores the truth and allows the corrupt to keep their seats, the band needs to see the truth first hand.

Anonymous said...

Greg Sarris isn't even Native.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

At one time it entirely up to the BIA to create tribal membership rolls. The BIA made many errors in putting these rolls together, especially in California, and compounded those errors with mistakes in blood degree calculations. When the 1933 California Court of Claims Roll was completed, the BIA incorporated all the errors contained in the 1928 CIJR applications and changed individual blood quantum for many Indians. No matter that many of these applications were completed for dead Indians. Those filing claims for compensation for land that was improperly taken had to trace their descent from an Indian living in 1854.

So applications were submitted for dead Indians, and some people were unable to complete their own applications and someone else filled them out. The BIA then made the harmful decision to use the information on the 1928 CIJR applications and the 1933 CoC roll for enrollment purposes. Many Indians continue to feel the harm of changes to their blood degree based on improperly completed applications.

When the Indian Education and Self-Determination Act was passed in 1975, the BIA was required to offer consultation to tribes and to assist them in becoming making their own decisions rather than making the decisions for them. With this new legislation it became necessary to identify which tribes were eligible for the programs and benefits mandated by Congress, and so the Part 83 process for federal recognition was promulgated, and the first list of federally recognized tribes was published in 1979.

At the same time the Supreme Court issued its decision in Santa Clara Pueblos v. Martinez establishing the right of tribes to determine their own membership, a prohibition of interference in the internal matters of tribes, and the limitations of enforcement in the Indian Civil Rights Act to that of habeas corpus.

I believe that what happened next was foreseen by the agency, the Courts, and Congress. Tribes began to question the rolls imposed on them by the BIA, and took action to remove members or deny enrollment to those who previously qualified. The federal government determined that only those who were members of federally recognized tribes were Indians, and denied federal programs and benefits on the basis of tribal enrollment decisions.

The legalization and regulation of tribal gaming brought big money into the equation. States wanted their share, tribal members wanted larger shares, tribal leaders wanted to live high lifestyles, and attorneys wanted to reap huge fees from teaching tribal leaders how to manage gaming to reap huge wealth, how to assert power over the general membership, and how to eliminate opposition through disenrollment.

So there you have it. The Courts can't intercede; they are barred by Santa Clara Pueblos v. Martinez and the protections of sovereign immunity. The BIA follows in the footsteps of the Court even though the agency can invoke 25 U.S.C. 2 which gives the Secretary general authority to manage Indian affairs. Congress fiddles as tribes burn, because the real goal has always been to get rid of Indians.

Tribes have to solve their own problems, but have failed to rise against corrupt leaders, overturn disenrollments, or even to protect their members before disenrollment becomes an issue. There is plenty of blame to go around, but one thing is certain. Looking to Congress for help is a double edged sword. They might help rein in these leaders, but there will likely be a large price to pay.

Anonymous said...

Greg Sarris is not Indian.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

Notice the contradictions that prevail in the federal government's observation of the trust duty owed to Indians. The BIA asserts that the duty is owed to tribes and that the agency has an obligation to protect the interests of tribes.

Now tell me what tribes were affected by the Cobell suit? In the Cobell suit the BIA was accused of mismanagement IIM accouts. Individual Indian Money accounts are not tribal interests. They belong to individuals. The BIA shifts positions depending on the situation. Mostly the agency pretends it has no obligation to individuals, but when issues escalate it becomes clear that individual Indians have interests in land, assets, and resources just as tribes have. Individual Indians also participate in federal programs and receive services and benefits just like tribes. How much longer are the courts going to continue to let the contradictions guide their decisions?

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Lezlie Grigone said...


Tribal leaders like Chairman Greg Sarris who rape and abuse tribal members of their rights for years and years need to be removed from all leadership roles. An 'oops my bad' is not enough. Sarris is highly educated - Ph.D. Level - he acted with malice and forethought.