Interesting how quickly the NCAI came out against the decision by the Dept. of Interior on the Mashpee Wampanoag people. Days, yet for over a DECADE, they've been completely SILENT on the abuses, the oppreession, the torment BY TRIBES on the disenrollment issue in fact MISSING IN ACTION.
|NARF, NCAI and NIGA|
Professor David Wilkins, who has written extensively on disenrollment, calls out Native American organizations that we've written about who've buried their heads in the sand to avoid the topic of Indians abused by their own tribes.
Open letter to the leaders of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA):
Dear Native Leaders,
Each of your organizations, founded at critical moments in native history–NCAI in 1944, NARF in 1970, and NIGA in 1985– have and continue to play vital roles in the political, legal, and economic development of Native nations. I write you all now to request that you continue to remain vital and relevant by taking an unequivocal stand against spurious disenrollment practices that destroy the human and civil rights of individual native citizens and threaten the sovereign powers of all Native nations.
NCAI is the largest (over 250 member nations) and one of the oldest interest groups representing indigenous peoples. The organization was born during the turbulent period when the federal government was aggressively moving to politically and legally terminate over 100 tribal nations. NCAI fought against giving state governments’ greater jurisdiction over tribal peoples and their resources, and fought against relocation policies that compelled thousands of tribal citizens off their homelands and into major urban areas.
NARF was one of the first native legal interest groups established in 1970 at the start of the native self-determination era, staffed by hardworking and earnest native and non-native lawyers and other legal professionals with the critical mission of assisting indigenous peoples recover and enforce their sovereignty, defend and enhance treaty rights, and hold the federal government accountable to its trust obligations to Native peoples.
NIGA was formed in 1985 in anticipation of the economic opportunities that the early gaming operations might provide for native communities who were desperately looking for alternative economic means to produce revenue that was not dependent upon federal lawmakers.
There are, of course, dozens of other native interest groups that focus on any number of critical issues vital to indigenous peoples– the Indian Child Welfare Association, The National Indian Education Association, the International Indian Treaty Council, The Native American Journalists Association, The Council of Energy Resource Tribes, and the Native American Indian Court Judges Association– and while each of these groups do important work, your three organizations, both because of the subject matters you address and range of indigenous peoples you affect are the prime bodies wielding significant influence in Indian Country and beyond.
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