TRIBAL DISENROLLMENT of Native Americans by Native Americans.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Nooksack Court of Appeals Rules in FAVOR of Nooksack 306 Against Chairman Kelly UPDATE
The Nooksack Court of Appeals has just thrown out the Kelly Faction's "1-800 number" disenrollment procedures. The judges ruled IN FAVOR OF THE NOOKSACK 306 in Roberts v. Kelly. This battle is far, far from over! UPDATE:
Three days after suffering a setback in tribal elections, the 306 people facing loss of membership in the Nooksack Indian Tribe won a legal victory that promises to slow down the tribal council's effort to remove them.
But the appeals court's action may not stop that removal.
In a ruling delivered to the tribal court office on Tuesday, March 18, a three-judge Nooksack Tribal Appeals Court panel ruled that the procedures for removing the 306 from tribal membership rolls must be approved by the U.S. Department of Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The tribal council, headed by Chairman Bob Kelly, had approved a resolution in August 2013 declaring that each individual facing loss of tribal membership would get a telephone hearing before the tribal council of no more than 10 minutes.
Attorneys representing the council had argued that the resolution did not need federal approval. Seattle attorney Gabe Galanda and his firm, representing the 306, convinced the court that the resolution was, in fact, an ordinance, and the tribal constitution requires Interior Department approval of ordinances.
Otherwise, the appeals court ruled that the short telephonic hearing was adequate protection of the affected tribal members' legal right to due process before they are deprived of tribal membership, which members say has emotional as well as financial benefits. The judges' ruling states that a more lengthy, in-person hearing would serve no purpose, because a member's right to tribal status would hinge on documentary evidence of ancestry, not personal pleas.
The court ruled that the affected tribal members must have 21 days' notice before their hearing, and they have a right to be represented by someone of their choice.
In an email, Galanda said it was significant that the appeals court ruling forces the Department of Interior to get involved. Until now, the threatened Nooksacks have been rebuffed in efforts to get the agency to weigh in on the membership controversy.
Galanda said he wasn't sure whether the approval process would be handled in regional BIA offices, or whether it might be referred to Washington, D.C. He declined to guess how long the approval process might take, and whether there was any chance that the federal agency would deny the approval that the tribal council needs to get the membership ouster started.
Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/03/18/3537385/appeals-panel-says-nooksack-ouster.html#storylink=cpy