Friday, March 10, 2023

Silence is Complicity: Failure to Stand Against Tribal Disenrollment is a Betrayal of Tribal Community and Justice


The fight against disenrollment requires courage, perseverance, and a commitment to justice and human dignity. It requires us to speak out against injustice and to stand in solidarity with those who have been disenrolled or who are at risk of disenrollment.

There are so many reasons why tribal members won't stand up against leadership when they are doing wrongs. For some, it's a sense of loyalty and misguided respect towards the leaders, who may have earned their trust and misplaced admiration over time. This loyalty can be further strengthened by deference to authority figures who professed to care about them.  

A stronger reason may be fear of retaliation or retribution. Leaders who hold significant power and influence within the community may be able to wield that power to punish or ostracize those who speak out against them. This abuse of power creates a climate of fear and silence, where people are hesitant to voice their concerns for fear of being targeted next.

Tribal politics are complex and nuanced, with various factions and interest groups vying for power and influence.  Members may feel pressure to align themselves with one group over another, and may be hesitant to speak out against their own leaders for fear of upsetting this delicate balance of power at any cost. Many have asked, "why is it so hard to do the right thing?"

Economic factors can also play a role. The desire for wealth and prosperity may have clouded the judgment of some members, who saw the call for an audit as a threat to their financial interests. At Pechanga, one large family, the Petra Tosobol descendants BELONGED in the tribe.   The Concerned Pechanga People weren't concerned about justice, they only saw the per capita slices being cut smaller, with more people.  The sense of self-interest overrode broader concerns for the well-being of our Pechanga community.  


The "divide and conquer" tactic benefits those who hold power and want to maintain it. By creating divisions within a group, as was done repeatedly by the Splinter Group and The Concerned Pechanga People, they can weaken the group's cohesion and prevent them from uniting against their common interests.  Because there was a power increase after the first family, the Manuela Miranda Descendants were removed.  The membership that was concerned about doing the right thing... were overwhelmed.

Those who hold power and influence always seek to maintain that power by any means necessary, including using tactics like divide and conquer. The spoils may come in the form of continued control over resources, access to economic opportunities, or other forms of privilege or advantage.

READ MORE on Today's DISENROLLMENT ISSUES. It's not just 20 years old history.

Chukchansi still disenrolls today
Nooksack 306 Elders Face Winter Evictions
Saginaw Chippewa Appeasers Face Disenrollment Now
Ancestors and Elders DIE without Justice|
BIA IGNORES PLIGHT of 11,000 Natives

By excluding members based on arbitrary or discriminatory criteria, tribes undermine their own legitimacy and credibility in the eyes of other tribal nations, governments, and international organizations.  

Disenrollment is internal colonialism. It perpetuates broader patterns of historical trauma and discrimination that have been experienced by Indigenous peoples in the United States and elsewhere.

Those of us who are disenrolled lose access to critical resources and services, such as healthcare, housing, and education, the ability to adopt Native children, all of which can have significant impacts on our well-being and quality of life.  That should matter to everyone, especially those who purport to "care" about Native Americans AND tribal sovereignty.

1 comment:

Chief FireWalker said...

When you say nothing.It means Yes. It means you don’t care.I know this is the farthest from the truth.I’m frustrated as well! I see the faces of my family that have walked on.Must keep going