|LEST we FORGET|
We have stood with the Nooksack 306, since the beginning. Here, the issue is given much space on Wikipedia You can use the search box on this blog to learn more.
In the early 21st century, the tribe has become embroiled for years in a bitter political controversy that resulted in 306 living descendants of ancestor Annie George being disenrolled by a 2013 tribal council decision under the leadership of tribal Chairman Bob Kelly. The council questioned the membership of 306 members, all living descendants of elder Annie George and her three daughters. George's name did not appear in a 1942 tribal census, which has been the basis required for documenting descent for tribal membership, nor was she granted land. The 306 comprise about 15 percent of the tribe, and are all descendants of Annie's daughters, who married Filipino migrant workers.
Their descendants enrolled in the tribe in the 1980s, about a decade after it achieved federal recognition. Over time members of these Rabang, Rapada, and Narte-Gladstone families gained political power in the tribe. Other tribal members resented them, as well as worrying about some members prosecuted for drug trade.
Notices were sent out to the 306 in February 2013, informing them of the revocation of their citizenship within 30 days. People opposed to the disenrollment marched in March 2013 in Seattle, the largest city in the state, in protest. The families hired Gabriel Galanda, a Native American attorney, to represent them, and he has consulted with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
In March 2014, the disenrollment case was pending in tribal court, which, a KUOW reporter noted, usually decided in alliance with the majority on the tribal council. This would have been the largest mass disenrollment by any tribe within Washington state.
The 306 say that Annie George is documented as a daughter of Matsqui George, leader of a Nooksack village in what is now British Columbia. Ancestral tribal members were split when Canada and the United States established boundaries across former common land. Opponents of Kelly's position have said the disenrollment decision was political, and that Kelly was trying to get rid of critics before the next council election. Votes were very close among candidates in the primary election in the spring of 2014.
Kelly allegedly fired tribal employees who supported or were members of the Nooksack 306. In addition, "the tribal council allegedly fired a judge who was about to rule against them, disbarred the attorney representing the 306, and by most accounts refused to hold new tribal elections until after the 306 are officially disenrolled." Judge Susan Alexander ruled that the tribe could not disbar Galanda from representing these clients in court. Alexander was later removed from her post and new 'supreme court' was created with Kelly as chief justice, an action which was invalidated by the federal government.
After a close primary, four tribal council positions were up for election in March 2014, but the council refused to call elections until the appeal was finished on disenrollment of the Nooksack 306. Elder George Adams, the tribe's election superintendent, believed the council had gone too far. He "invoked the right of General Council, an ancient tradition meaning the voice of the people. According to tradition, the tribe gives authority to its leaders, but in extreme cases of misuse this authority can be revoked by the tribe, which acts together as a single unit, the General Council."
On July 14, 2016, a General Council meeting was called in order to conduct a special election of the four open council seats. The more than 200 attendees met off the reservation to ensure they did not have interference. They elected four interim council members and also invalidated the recall of Carmen Tageant from the Tribal Council, returning her to office.
Elected as vice chairman was Bob Doucette, who had served on the council in the 1970s; Bernadine Roberts, also a former council member, was elected treasurer. Jeremiah Johnny and Ron Roberts were elected to the two council positions, and Tageant was returned to her seat.
Chairman Bob Kelly has said he won't recognize this General Council election as valid. His supporters on the council include Secretary Nadene Rapada and member Bob Solomon.
The tribe lost federal funding and recognition in 2017 but it was re-instated in March 2018 after special elections were held. The elections resulted in further legal challenges after allegations of fraud and irregularities surfaced.
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