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Thursday, September 24, 2015

BIA IDLE SOME MORE as Saginaw Chippewa Tribe Reopens Disenrollment of the Dead and their Descendants

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe has reopened the enrollment case that was previously dismissed on Aug. 18, 2015, and they sent transmittal letters to 233 members - living and dead - on Sept. 11. who may now face disenrollment.

Attorney Paula Fisher, who has defended tribe members in the past, said upon receival of the letter, they have 30 days to request a hearing from the Office of Administrative Hearing. The reason the court dismissed the case back in August was because the membership was based on collateral trace, which is proving one is related to the tribe through their aunt, uncle and/or cousin.

However according to the press release that was published on the same date, the Tribe now ask that the 233 appellants prove through lineal trace - the grandparent - that they’re related to the tribe.

It also stated that the three independent Court of Appeals judges Robert Kittecon, Andrew Pyatskowit and Dennis Peterson issued the decision to reopen the case. They’re doing so on the basis of Enrollment Ordinance No. 14, which states that the court may disenroll if the Tribe can show that the initial enrollment was a mistake or fraudulent. Based on the Appellate Court decision on Aug. 27, 2013, where members were disenrolled based on lineal trace, the 233 members have failed “to demonstrate a particular violation of the Saginaw Constitution or ordinances,” which is fatal to the case

According to the press release, Tribal chief Steven Pego said, “We cannot strip the rights of individuals to be native. We are merely honoring and executing the requirements of our Constitution so what is best for the many is best for our Tribal community. That is what is traditional.”

Fisher said that with the new council in place, the decision to let the case rest is being affected by a different set of mind. The old council went along with the collateral trace while the current judges in place have gone the opposite way. She added that this has been an on-going case for six years and that some of her clients have gone to court about the matter twice already.

“This concerns a political shift and a different mind set, nothing else,” Fisher said. “Politics are controlling this and that’s not justice. How many times do they have to win these cases before it’s left alone?”

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

exactly, how can we ALL learn to honor our Ancestors. They ALL went through trial, and discomfort by outside agencies. Now we have to face those actions from within our communities? cant we ALL get along?

Anonymous said...

Don't know the whole case but I do know this, This is not traditional. Traditional is living and tolerating all things and all people, especially family. It is welcoming in. How many Indians do know that grew up with their grandparents in the same house, or were raised by their grandparents while their parents were off in different directions and then they end up taking in their grandchildren once they have settled down. Tradition is unconditional love. The article above says this: "According to the press release, Tribal chief Steven Pego said, “We cannot strip the rights of individuals to be native. We are merely honoring and executing the requirements of our Constitution so what is best for the many is best for our Tribal community. That is what is traditional.” This is a lie, when you disenroll, you do strip the rights of individuals to be native. That person can no longer use their Indian Card, they get no recognition of being Indian and are even called names by their own people, even if they have more blood than the others still enrolled. It is taking away their sense of who they are and where they belong, that is stripping them of their right to be native, so Pego is lying!

White Buffalo said...

This and all other mass disenrollment is not the Indian way. It took a lot for a community to decide if a person should be asked to leave until their spirit was healed. Never has there been a case where a whole family as been made to leave. Never has a select committee made the decision for the tribe. It was the elders who presented the information to the people and then the people decided by telling the elders. Last the person always had the option/chance to come back if they said they would live by the ways of the tribe, made amends, and/or changed the behavior that got them in trouble in the first place. I am sure this is not the same for every tribe, yet the premise is the same. We lived as a community enjoyed the prosperity of the community, and we endured the hardship together as a community by working for the common good of the community. At least that is the way it was for our ancestors.