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Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Saginaw Chippewa Appeals Panel Hearing Arguments on Families Disenrolled. New Hearings Requested.
A three-judge appeals panel heard arguments Wednesday morning concerning the status of two families who were disenrolled by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and whether those cases should be given a new community court hearing expanded to include expert testimony.
At the heart of both is whether there is documentation linking both families -- the Fowler/Wheaton family and the Ortiz/Perez family -- to Tribal rolls from the late 1800s.
The same panel will hear about a third family, the Alma family, early Wednesday afternoon. Sitting on the appeals court are Chief Justice Andrew Pyatskowit, Associate Justice Gregory Paulson and Associate Justice Carolyn Abeita.
The Fowler/Wheaton hearing filled the courtroom Wednesday morning as family attorney Paula Fisher traced that family's linneage back to a woman named Jane or Julia David and whether that was the same woman who appeared on the 1891 membership roll as Jane David.
Shawn Frank, attorney for the Tribe, said that the claim of lineage was completed directly and required that the family make several assumptions not born out in evidence.
Similarly for the Ortiz/Perez family, the matter comes down to just who is the John Williams identified on a Tribal membership roll from around the turn of the 20th century.