Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tribal Disenrollments are an ABUSE of SOVEREIGNTY Says Professor David Wilkins

BOOM!  Dr. Wilkins nails it here.   A reminder, SOUTH AFRICA's apartheid was LEGAL under that SOVEREIGN NATION'S laws.   We stood up against it (after much pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus) there, yet still accept it HERE.
Dr. David  E.  Wilkins
David E. Wilkins

Tribes that are disenrolling their own citizens are abusing their sovereignty, argues professor David Wilkins:

Tribal politicians and jurists who work to disenroll legitimate Native citizens justify their perverted behavior by wrapping themselves in the cloak of sovereign power, often described as sovereign immunity, and then declare that this protects them from their own people. They equate criticism of their leadership with an attack on sovereignty, itself. Like European kings of old, they place themselves above their “subjects,” beyond the reach of traditional and common law.

But as political scientist Louis Henkin has said: “sovereignty as a right to do as one pleases is part of the concept, but not sovereignty as anarchy, not sovereignty as resistance to cooperation. And not sovereignty as immunity.” This term, he noted, was wrongly used to excuse “immunity from law, immunity from scrutiny, immunity from justice.” Sovereignty does not mean that leaders are above the people. Sovereignty means leaders have a profound responsibility to the people. It is up to the people to hold their leader accountable for their words and deeds.

In the history of Native nations in North America, no single individual or group of individuals would have been allowed to wield the kind of abusive and absolute control we increasingly see today. The clan and kinship system dictated accountable, not autocratic behavior. In fact, many nations, such as the Cheyenne, have traditional protections to prevent political tyranny. Some have forgotten these safeguards or have not considered how they might incorporate them into their modern governmental practices.

A corrupted kind of sovereignty is now increasingly being used as a weapon against Native people and as a shield by those thieves, robbers, and charlatans Sam Deloria so clearly envisioned. It has taken us hostage through the idea that criticism of abusive leadership is criticism of our own powers as nations. This twisted logic has paralyzed many of our responsible Native leaders.


Anonymous said...

Macarro et al is the story book heading in a safe outcome for your heirs. Is the story truthful for ALL heirs today? Hopefully you ALL respect the outcome, the book was written by the creator, we are ALL here for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Violate someone's rights? Don't follow laws, customs or traditions used for decades. Allow the band to make decisions, until you want a certain outcome, then take those rights away from ALL. Not only has individual members rights been violated, but at Pechanga, the entire band has it's rights violated. The Band Adopted a member in a vote under custom and tradition. This is legal. The band votes on a petition to stop ALL disenrollment's and except ALL band members according to custom and tradition. ALL members civil rights are violated by Macarro et al. Band meetings are suspended, disenrollment issues continue behind the bands status. An entire clan is then disenrolled who have had ties to Pechanga since the creation of the reserve. Anyone asking questions about this is told to stay quite or you could be next. ALL rights are violated.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

Now we are making some progress! So tribal sovereignty is not intended to provide tribal leaders immunity from prosecution by tribal members. Is there a statement of law to this effect that can be cited in a complaint? The courts won't legislate from the bench, but they will interpret pre-existing law.

I do agree that sovereign immunity should not protect tribal leaders from legal actions brought by tribal members. The Courts routinely dismiss such actions as outside their jurisdiction. Think about this though. Tribal members living off reservation are not bound by tribal law unless they are on the reservation. How can tribes violate the civil rights of members who live outside the tribe's jurisdiction? We are starting to get the ammunition we need to make tribal leaders abide by the law.