Disenrollment is a violation of basic human rights, which not only undermines the dignity and self-determination of those affected but also damages the fabric of our tribal communities as a whole.
The practice of disenrollment is not a new phenomenon, but it has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, particularly in California. Many tribes have members from their rolls, often due to disputes over membership eligibility or claims of fraudulent enrollment. Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro actually said my ancestor was fraudulently enrolled, which would make ANY current Pechanga member fraudulently enrolled,
Disenrollment robs individuals of their heritage and identity, and also strips them of their access to essential tribal services, such as health care, education, and housing, as we've seen in the Nooksack 306 eviction hearings
The need for social justice and compassion in addressing this issue cannot be overstated. Native Americans have endured centuries of oppression, genocide, and forced assimilation at the hands of the federal government and colonizers. Disenrollment perpetuates this legacy of injustice and further marginalizes already vulnerable communities.
To address this problem, it is crucial that tribal communities work together to find fair and transparent solutions to disputes over membership eligibility. This requires a commitment to democratic decision-making and a respect for due process and human rights. Tribal leadership should also prioritize the preservation of their cultural heritage and promote inclusivity and unity within their communities, not banning people for speaking out, or eliminating voting rights just before elections.
The federal government has a critical role to play in protecting the rights of Native Americans and ensuring that they are not subject to discrimination and exclusion from their own communities. The Department of the Interior, which oversees Indian affairs, must provide guidance and resources to tribes to help them navigate disputes over membership eligibility, and intervene in cases where there are violations of civil rights. STICKING their heads in the sand or shrugging their shoulders is not leadership.
Returning disenrolled Native Americans to their tribes is not just a legal or administrative issue but a matter of social justice and compassion. It is an opportunity to right historical wrongs and to ensure that Native American communities are able to thrive and flourish. All stakeholders, including tribal leaders, government officials, and civil society organizations, should promote a culture of inclusivity and respect for the human rights of disenrolled Native Americans.