Adopted member, now chairman Bob Kelly:
As chairman, he felt that he had a sacred duty: to protect the tribe from invasion by a group of people that, he would eventually argue, weren’t even Native Americans. “I’m in a war,” he told me later, sketching family trees on the back of a copy of the tribe’s constitution. “This is our culture, not a game.
At the time, Rudy and Kelly were friends, allies on the council. At the long oval table where they met to discuss Nooksack business, Rudy always sat at Kelly’s right. But the debate over whether Rudy’s family qualified as Nooksack tore them apart. Today, more than four years later, they no longer speak. Rudy and his extended family refer to Kelly as a monster and a dictator; he calls them pond scum and con artists. They agree on almost nothing, but both remember the day when things fell apart the same way. “If my nephew isn’t Nooksack,” Rudy said in the council chambers, “then neither am I.”
READ THE WHOLE article at the link above...and SHARE it everywhere.
The writer answers her own question in her article:
"A 1978 Supreme Court decision, Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, held that, due to its sovereignty, a tribe cannot be sued for discrimination for accepting the children of male members who married outside the tribe but not those of female members who did. It has been widely interpreted as giving tribes the right to determine their membership requirements, even if individual rights are compromised. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, out of respect for sovereignty, has repeatedly declined to intervene in internal membership disputes."
As in the case of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan and I am sure elsewhere in the United States the BIA must and should step in and correct the past misdeeds, mistakes, mishandling and blatant corruption. The BIA issued land allotments, imposed constitutions and mandated certain criteria, not the Natives of that tribe. How fortuitous of the BIA to say they will not get involved in membership matters when they created those problems. When you have a system that is equitable and equal to all citizens of that Nation not just a chosen few or the corrupt than no intervention is needed. The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe is stripping its members of their rights, culture and heritage. The BIA has a duty and an obligation to step in and make corrupt tribal officials accountable.
Or a band who tries to follow custom and tradition "Pechanga " votes to stop ALL investigations and allow All current members to be honored and respected. Then a faction ignores custom and tradition, ignores TRUTH and disenrolls an entire clan anyways. Then the faction who dishonored others threatened others they could be next. Shameful, ignorant, factions will leave and have to face the TRUTH now or when they meet the Creator. TRUTH will always be crystal clear. Our Ancestors deserve that.
Would you really trust the BIA to own up to their past errors and make amends in any manner that would benefit Indians? The BIA has two main functions. One is to protect the federal government from liability stemming from mistreatment of Indians. The other is to supplement their income with bribes in order to enable tribal leaders to rob their tribes and terminate Indians through disenrollment. They are required to administer federal programs and services, but this is done in accordance with the wishes of the tribal leaders and the federal government.
Now you might say this is an overstatment, and that the BIA does good work helping Indians with education, providing access to medical care, enforcement law and order on reservations, and so on. I say that if you examine BIA performance closely you will find that the main functions serve as guidance and that substandard education, medical care and law enforcement are the rule rather than the exception.
Indians get crappy education unless their parents take them out of federally provided programs. Everyone gets crappy medical care unless they are extremely wealthy and can afford to pay without using insurance. The BIA allows bias and discrimination to direct their enforcement of law on reservations. All you need do is read this blog to find examples of the BIA performance I am describing.
BIA = Bureau of Indian Assimilation
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