TRIBAL DISENROLLMENT of Native Americans by Native Americans.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
NOOKSACK 306 are at American Indian LOBBY DAY in Washington State.
Indian American lobby day brought about 50 to the capitol Friday morning to voice their opinions about tribal issues.
A group from the Nooksack tribe, based in Deming in Whatcom County, gathered mainly to express their anger with the disenrollment conflict that would cut the tribe by about about 15 percent.
According to the Nooksack Tribal Council, 306 members do not meet membership requirements because their common ancestor Annie George is missing from a 1942 census that is used as to verify lineage.
Since the council cannot find proof that supports their membership, the group is losing medical, housing, fishing and hunting rights. But the excluded members said that they are upset for reasons that go much deeper than these surface issues.
“I feel like they’re dragging my ancestors through the mud,” said Michelle Roberts, a member who would be excluded. “We have unity and belong just as much as they do.”
Rudy St. Germaine, who was removed from his council position of executive tribal secretary because of the issue, agreed. He said this is a fight for his and his family’s identity.
Tribal police have started to serve disenrollment notices. Now, the impacted Nooksacks are raising awareness about the issue and calling on fellow members to get informed about issues discussed at the capitol.
Elizabeth Satiacum, a tribe member, challenged the crowd to look up a bill that affects them, whether it’s related to hunting, gathering, health or education. For example, she mentioned House Bill 1290 that would require county auditors to place ballot drop boxes at various locations, which would allow tribe members to vote without making a trip to the city.
She added it is important to be aware of the issues in order to impact them.
“It all starts with one thought because thoughts can and do become things,” said Satiacum.