This is a re-post of an earlier blog post.
I find it disconcerting that in all the years we have had mass terminations of tribal citizenships, no politician has stood up for those Indians who have been harmed by their tribe. (See: Like Being Raped and Going to your Rapist for Justice)
When you give it a cute moniker like “disenrollment”, it takes on the context of, say, losing you membership in the P. T. A. And that makes it simpler for a politician to take tribal money and with the phrase, “tribes can choose their own membership” they can avoid taking a closer look at what it really entails.
Take American citizenship, the U.S. Government can strip an American of citizenship for few reasons, here’s one from US CODE 1481:
7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.
We are talking about treason or overthrowing the government as a serious offense. No disenrollees have threatened overthrow of their tribal government. No bearing arms against tribal councils. In Indian Country, you can lose your citizenship for simply disagreeing with the tribal council. Putting a “wrong” member on the council or speaking your mind about their business entities can get one stripped of their citizenship.
How many American’s have been stripped of their citizenship, can you name ONE? Has Charles Manson lost his citizenship? No. How about American terrorists who advocate death to American and sharia law? Nope, uh-uh, but in Indian Country, the number is in the THOUSANDS. We have tribes like Snoqualmie in Washington, that have stripped citizenship simply for taking a position opposite of the tribal council.
On the Pechanga Reservation in Temecula, Original Pechanga allottee descendents have had their citizenship taken away, along with voting rights, the right to health care, the right to speak at meeting, even when the situation is directly relating to them, such as water rights. It's virtual apartheid. Pechanga, headed my Mark Macarro, the subject of a recall attempt, tried to usurp the water rights of allottees, lying to congressional staffers about how many allottees were still on the reservation. Redding Rancheria even terminated 25% of their tribe, including their FIRST Tribal chairman. We have tribes like Snoqualmie in Washington, that have stripped citizenship simply for taking a position opposite of the tribal council. And the Picayune Rancheria already terminated 50% of their tribe and are looking at more.
We have politicians who turn a blind eye, because stripping citizenship comes now with a cute moniker: disenrollment. The same politicians who rightfully found the apartheid policy of sovereign country of South Africa abhorrent, now side with tribes who are practicing the same apartheid in their own districts. Equally confusing, the NAACP in CA has taken money from tribes that violate their people's civil rights. We can't get the ACLU to be interested and the Native American Rights Fund won't help those Native Americans who have lost their RIGHTS.
Politicians in CA who were vehemently appalled over neighbor state Arizona’s stricter immigration enforcement laws, going so far as to shrilly calling for boycotting that state over ‘possible’ civil rights violation, are supporting tribes who have actually stripped voting rights, health care, per capita (now totaling $500 million), elder care, educational assistance. They recently passed the Dream Act providing educational assistance to non-citizens, yet won’t stand up for actual citizens.
They tell themselves “well it’s only 9 people, or it’s only 75 people”. Yet how many does it have to be to make it wrong? 75 Redding tribal members, stripped of their citizenship is akin to 80 million Americans losing theirs. The Picayune Rancheria took away citizenship to fully 50% of their tribal people. When is it wrong, or rather “wrong enough”. Would they stand up for union members who didn’t get to vote? Or what if say, the GOP got 25% of Democrats excluded? Would it be wrong? Of course it would.
It’s past time to take it seriously and to stand up for the rights of the individual Indian.
Our government needs to do its job and stand up for the weak and defenseless. Exercising its moral outrage includes:
1. Eliminate funding for tribes who violate the rights of their people.
2. No longer take land into trust for abusive tribes
3. Place enforcement actions into the Indian Civil Rights Act
Tribes have a right to do wrong, but they shouldn’t be supported by our politicians when they do.
See more on Enterprise Rancheria disenrollments they were rewarded with a casino by Department of Interior.
Robinson Rancheria Disenrollments