At the Capitol portion of the Native Lives Matter Protest, Hopland Pomo Native Michelle Hammock one of 74 who were disenrolled from the Hopland Tribe. gave a masterful speech on tribal disenrollment and sovereignty. I'll excerpt some here and you can find the entire speech here.
Hammock: Our tribe’s constitution does have a membership clause that spells out instances of potential loss of membership. The council however, disregarded every word of the constitution and did things their own way. Because… Sovereignty.
OP: SOVEREIGNTY, wielded as a club to beat tribal citizens will lead to, the end of sovereignty. That's what must be impressed upon tribal leaders and the people that follow them.
Hammock: Our tribes are given sovereign rights to determine who is a tribal member. So once we are members, why do we have to continue a song and dance in order to keep our memberships? What is going on here, breeds corruption. IF a member has a fundamental disagreement of policy or a person, that should not be grounds for disenrollment.
Unfortunately, it is. Any opposition to the tribal council is now grounds for disenrollment. Because.. Sovereignty.
OP: 1st Amendment rights should always apply. Alternate viewpoints should NOT be an OFFENSE, it should be welcomed. Let the tribe decide, not corrupt leaders.
Hammock: Since our disenrollment, there hasn’t been a day that we haven’t put our foot forward to stop fighting for our rights. There is a group of great people from our tribe who also realize they, too, were cheated out of their rights as tribal members. By a fair count of their own votes. To be heard in tribal council meetings that have since taken place. By asking tribal authorities questions, to only be barred from meetings and blacked out of communications. Now with the pot farms being installed without consulting the members, are now being threatened with trespassing on tribal lands. ON TRIBAL LANDS, Natives are now being threatened with trespassing on their own lands! Why? Because the tribal council’s Sovereignty.
OP: The Indian Civil Rights Act needs to be strengthened. I urge all of you to contact YOUR representatives and demand changes.
Disenrolled Native Children UNPROTECTED by ICWA
Hammock: One of our prepaid right and benefit that is stripped is ICWA; a federal law that attempts to protect our Native children from forced adoptions and foster care to non native homes. It is meant for our native children to maintain a relationship with their culture, their tribe, their people. If any of our children are in the ICWA system prior to disenrollment, now, this puts every disenrolled child at imminent risk for foster care outside of native homes, adoptions to non native families, breaking every tie they have with their tribe and its people
READ the Full Speech HERE and please SHARE on social media.