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Thursday, March 23, 2017

CONGRESS must Take Another LOOK at the INDIAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACT: Harold Monteau

We've posted articles before by attorney Harold Monteau .  Here's an article from Indian Country Today...we have been calling for this for over a decade. Maybe......this time?

Harold Monteau a citizen of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, calls on Congress to take another look at the Indian Civil Rights Act to address abuse, corruption and disenrollment among tribal governments:

The U.S. Congress may have to, and maybe should, revisit the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 (ICRA) considering the abrogative behavior of tribal governments, as of late, towards their own people regarding the Civil Rights of individual Indians, and in light of the corruption being exposed by numerous U.S. Attorney prosecutions.

The lack of such rights and the use (abuse?) of the defense of Sovereign Immunity by tribal governments has become a shield to sometimes illegal activities within tribal government and as a shield when committing egregious acts against the tribe’s own people. This is especially true regarding the recent use of mass disenrollment by tribal governments to enlarge shares of “per capita” payments from Indian Gaming Revenue or to put one faction of the tribe into perpetual power. In some cases, there is an element of fraud when re-recognized or newly recognized tribes use various rolls (or descendants from those rolls} to justify Federal Recognition by the U.S. Administrative (BIA) Congressional and Judicial Branches and later disavow those enrollees.

In any other context, that would be looked at as fraud upon the U.S. Government. Tribes, tribal attorneys and some legal scholars have misconstrued Supreme Court decisions to give tribal governments unfettered “plenary” power over membership decisions while providing no remedies for tribal members harmed by these decisions. Due process is literally non-existent or, at best, illusory, when any appeal is limited to the body that made the harmful decision in the first instance, or limited to a judiciary controlled by that body.

But, the U.S. Trustee stands idly by while the tribes, in the capacity of surrogate U.S. policy enforcers, continue to engage in what amounts to civil rights and human rights violations. Tribes are enforcing a U.S. policy, about blood quantum based tribal enrollment, and arbitrary termination of tribal membership, that has its origins in the allotment and termination era when the U.S. Indian Policy was to “disappear” all Indians into the mainstream. The trustee sits idly by while tribes engage in self-termination by arbitrary disenrollment of the trustee’s beneficiaries which serves the interests of the trustee in lessening its responsibilities and eventually eliminating its responsibilities towards Native Americans. Federal law and Federal Courts do not recognize any remedies for disenrolled Indians. In fact, the trustee seems more than happy to stop access to federal benefits for disenrolled Indians.


Unknown said...

Disenrolled members retain all rights under th Reserved Rights Doctrine same as Treaty Indians. It can be google or yahoo search.

Anonymous said...

fixing the ICRA is definitely overdue.

Anonymous said...

The government wont help,indians

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

When the federal government has fiduciary trust duty to a federally recognized tribe, the BIA is obligated to protect the interests of the members whose names appear on the approved list of enrolled members. The BIA has breached this trust duty repeatedly and asserts that triball leaders have the authority to strip members of their interests in the land, assets, and resources of reservations that are held in trust for the use, occupancy, and support of the Indians. Disenrollees keep fighting for membership, but it's time to start filing actions in the Court of Claims for damages incurred by improper disenrollment. It takes a long time, but if victims of mass disenrollment filed claims as a class, the damage amounts would definitely raise eyebrows within Congress.

Anonymous said...

Like a Class Action type lawsuit? I agree, there are enough of us that have been directly affected, and even more indirectly affected.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

Like a tribe filing a claim for compensation from the federal government for conveying protected interests to an outside party. If the feds approve a membership roll, then they recognize the individuals as Indians with protected interests on a reservation. Letting tribal leaders strip those interests is a breach of trust. The damaged party can file a claim. If lots of people were affected then they can file as a class. There is a special court that hears these types of cases called the Court of Claims. The Court of Claims will have to establish whether or not the injured party's claim rises to the level of a compensatory intetest. I believe that stripping away membership is an illegal taking which create a compensatory intetest, but I am not the judge.

Anonymous said...

If you can't sue and go after the tribe because of sovereignty. Why can't you sue and go after the BIA for not protecting civil rights of disenrolled natives. Possibly getting the U.N involved? Over 10,000 humans have had rights violated. I just can't see certain tribes letting the disenrolled back in. I really hope and pray a court system is created to hear and judge these cases. So these casino people can't abuse sovereignty anymore. And justice is served for all the disenrolled.

Anonymous said...

It’s long past time for a class action and we should also consider since it was the individuals who voted for the disenrollments then we should also file suit against the individual members and not the tribe. It’s definitely time since Congress has done nothing and the individual suits aren’t getting us anywhere.