The Challenge of Tribal Disenrollment

Sp[ring Floods, VermontTribal disenrollment is apparently becoming the new norm for newly wealthy tribes in Indian Country.

Greed has always been a risk that accompanies authority. Our leaders have traditionally been given the task of protecting and nurturing The People. Often that meant sharing both scarcity and wealth. Now Greed and corruption seem to be the new norm.

Native America Calling: The Real Life of An American Indian provided the following announcement:

Earlier this month (Feb. 2012) the Pala Band of Mission Indians disenrolled a number of previous tribal members.  As stated in an earlier blog, this did not catch much attention in the non-Native community surrounding San Diego.  However, Native Country will not allow this issue to go without critical review, dialogue and extended discussion.  The meaning behind this matter is still being questioned.  It is hopeful that, in the near future, a level of truth will surface regarding this matter.

On Monday Feb. 13 Native America Calling will hold a broadcast about this issue and examine similar cases that have taken place in other Native tribes.  It is important to share this information, call-in if possible, discuss and speak – with an informed opinion that is critical of the issues at stake – about this with those who are not aware of the devastating impact that this has, and will continue to foster, for the local tribe(s) and their families for generations to come.

For those affected, disenrollment seems to be another form of genocide, as Original Pechanga’s Blog noted recently;

It has been discussed that tribal disenrollments in Indian Country is nothing short of genocide of families.  It’s nothing compared to the horrors in Rwanda or Armenia of last century, however, tribes are eliminating large percentages of their people.   Just recently, The Pala Band of Mission Indians in N. San Diego County eliminated 154 people, taking a cue from their relatives and neighbors at Pechanga.

The Picayune Rancheria, near Fresno, eliminated almost 70% of their tribe.  Pechanga at about 25%.   The Redding Rancheria even terminated the family of their FIRST Tribal Chairman, Robert Foreman.   Tribes are small, so when you phrase it as 400 people, it doesn’t sound so bad, if you equate that to say, 8 MILLION Californians or 78 MILLION Americans, you’d get a truer picture.  The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has done the same with their Freedmen population, and I’m sure many readers would be surprised to know the Cherokee to their SLAVES on the Trail of Tears.

We’ve taken an article from Genocide Watch that details the stages of genocide and used them to illustrate what went on at the Pechanga Reservation in Temecula California, the tribe is led by Mark Macarro.  There is an urgent need for the enforcement of the Indian Civil Rights Act.

These are indeed heartbreaking times.

Want more information about the issue? Here are some additional resources:

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3 thoughts on “The Challenge of Tribal Disenrollment

  1. Thank you so much for the mention and link to our blog. Many have asked what can be done, here is my view:

    mentioned on other sites, tribal sovereignty is something that should be nurtured and cherished. Many now believe that the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians from Temecula, CA will be responsible for the quick erosion of sovereignty, that tribes have fought for for centuries. The question was asked, “what could be done?”.

    Frankly, economic sanctions of another nation, plus public embarrassment may be the only course of action that is effective. For instance, in South Africa, it was their SOVEREIGN RIGHT as a free nation to impose apartheid on their country.
    What recourse did civilized countries use to bring down this hateful policy? Economic sanctions and world ridicule of the policy. No trade, no travel, no money. Final result, end of apartheid and a welcome back to South Africa into the world community.
    Similarly, citizens of the United States (OP: AND California especially) can impose their own economic sanctions on the Tribal Nation of Pechanga by boycotting their nation.

    Stop patronizing their casino, hotel, restaurants and their powwows. Let them know that we do not agree with their system of denying civil rights to their people and until they follow their own tribal law, citizens of our country will NOT support their nation, but will patronize (OP: In other words, support tribal gaming elsewhere) their competitor nations.

    Also, letting state and federal representatives know that we expect them not to support a nation that would treat its citizens this way, especially NOT to allow them increased monetary benefits by expanding their casino slot machines. Politicians are turning a blind eye to civil rights and human rights violations right in their own districts. Darrell Issa, are you listening?

    • You are welcome. Obviously disenrollment is a problem in a growing number of tribes and communities. I would hope that chastisement and embarrassment would have some impact, but given the mess in Cherokee country, I am doubtful. Still, we must speak out against greed and the violation of civil rights. Thank you for your good work.

  2. There should be a study about Tribal Dis-enrollment from a sociology, psychological, political, and cultural aspect, and how it impacts tribal members and their out-casted members. Consider all of the issues that evolve from dis-enrollment: Lack of rights under the tribe and the Federal Government (through laws such as Indian Welfare Child Act), lack of educational opportunities through scholarships and minority seats, lack of health care opportunities, tax immunities involving land developments, and jobs under the Indian Preference Act. It is surreal the civil violations that Native American families are facing i.e. being displaced off the reservation, as well as facing a dead end road with the lack of jurisdictional courts to hear their cases.

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