I'm moving this post up from 2011 as the disenrollment issue is gaining traction.
Cedric Sunray's column in Indian Country Today has a strong argument that tribes are becoming more "social clubs" that the nations they purport to be.
Since the Cherokee Freedmen have been in the news this past month, his column focuses on them, righfully so. Here is what one Cherokee person who is 1/256th Cherokee has to say:
This is not a club; you can’t just claim to be Cherokee and show up and be included,” says Cara Cowan Watts, a vocal member of the Cherokees’ tribal council.
The Cherokee Nation is the largest of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes.
“This is absolutely something that we have to defend. And the Cherokee people overwhelmingly voted in the Constitution that we want to remain an Indian tribe made up of Indians,” Watts says.
“It appears that Marilyn Vann [one of the leaders of the Cherokee Freedmen] is a non-Indian insurgent terrorizing Cherokee nation families, children, elders and leadership. She and her allied terrorists attack the Cherokee people with weapons of mass disinformation and falsehoods. Marilyn is aligned with anti-Indian sovereignty groups and inside self-serving malcontents who seek to destroy the Cherokee Nation if the Cherokee Nation doesn’t give them what they want…her fellow Indian Freedmen allies want $50,000,000.00, allotment land, and apparently the right to operate gaming facilities
Cedric points out:
Sovereignty.. a word that many of these tribe’s officials couldn’t spell ten years ago, much less manipulate into its current genocidal form. Sovereignty demands ethical practice for it to hold any merit.
We continue to stand on the sidelines when we define disenrollment as an internal issue. “Internal Issue” has become the coined phrase for the removal of many people who have been generationally involved in their tribal communities. These removals are not paper resolutions batted around in the council chambers of various tribes regarding which new firm to hire for the new “addition to the casino”. These decisions directly impact the social, cultural, and at times economic well-being of actual people. If the decision of Indian country is to place sovereignty over humanity, then we all stand condemned.
OP: Our California Senator's Boxer and Feinstein have steadfastly refused to get involved, even using the term "internal matter" in correspondence back to constituents. One of our commenters wondered what their position was on South Africa? Did they side with the white Botha government against Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu? Or were their vocal about the issues of THAT SOVEREIGN NATION? The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians practice apartheid practice apartheid on their reservation and what do we hear from Boxer and Feinstein? Crickets chirping
Read the article at the link above. The list of tribes that have stripped the citizenship from their people is painfully long. They are not worthy of your respect, nor the respect of the U.S. government. And certainly, they should not recieve government funds when they use sovereignty like a club to batter the weak and helpless.