Without a tribe: Fighting to stay Native American #STOPDISENROLLMENT

stop disenrollmentBy Trace Lara Hentz, co-editor of THE MIX

Some of you may wonder if the discussion of tribal dis-enrollment is a clever way to erase tribes on paper.  I believe it is and it’s a racist construct.  We discussed it here. and here.

How a tribe dealt with its members who were a problem (like someone who commits a murder), there was banishment.  This disenrollment issue is a relatively new phenomena, removing people from tribal rolls.  It’s painful, it’s tragic.  And it speaks on genocide and the eventual erasure and death of tribes and their sovereignty.

In February, a #StopDisenrollment selfie campaign took off online, raising awareness and opposing the practice some have dubbed “not traditional.”  The new website #STOPDISENROLLMENT is HERE.

Al Jazeera has run a special program on March 3 called Without a tribe: Fighting to stay Native American


More than 80 federally recognized tribes in 17 states have administered the practice, with many looking to clamp down on enrollment requirements. While tribe leaders assert disenrollments are meant to protect the integrity of the tribe, critics argue it’s politically and economically motivated. We’ll look into this controversial issue and ask what it takes to belong.

Joining this conversation:

Matthew L.M. Fletcher
Law Professor, Michigan State University

Gabriel S. Galanda @NDNlawyer
Attorney, Galanda Broadman

Gyasi Ross @BigIndianGyasi
Storyteller, Father

Michelle Roberts @nooksack306
Spokeswoman, The Nooksack 306


Keep reading:

Related Stories:
Chase Iron Eyes: Real sovereigns don’t disenroll their own people (02/10)
National campaign launched to stop tribal disenrollment epidemic (02/09)
Debora Juarez: Disenrollments are not an exercise in sovereignty (02/02)
Nooksack Tribe loses bid to prevent some from voting in election (01/27)
James Mills: Sovereignty trumps paternalism in tribal enrollment (01/27)
Eastern Cherokees consider disenrollment law for drug dealers (12/09)
Gabe Galanda: The tide keeps turning against disenrollment (11/16)
Gabe Galanda: The growing chorus against disenrollments (11/13)
Disenrollment from Pala Band affects children in ICWA case (11/12)
Joseph Hamilton: Tribal leaders must talk about disenrollments (10/05)

Saginaw Chippewa Tribe starts disenrollment proceedings again (09/24)
Turtle Talk removes briefs in Grand Ronde disenrollment dispute (09/10)
Grande Ronde Tribes take another shot at descendants of chief (09/08)
Gabriel Galanda: Banish drug dealers but don’t disenroll them (09/08)
Appeal planned in Grand Ronde Tribes disenrollment dispute (09/03)
Grand Ronde Tribes to disenroll 86 descendants of treaty signer (09/02)


5 thoughts on “Without a tribe: Fighting to stay Native American #STOPDISENROLLMENT

  1. Original Pechanga (@opechanga) March 10, 2016 / 12:46 pm

    We have been posting about tribal disenrollment for 8 years at Original Pechanga Blog: http://originalpechanga.com
    Disenrollment is the STRIPPING of Citizenship from Tribal members. Can YOU name ONE American who has had their citizenship taken away?
    In Indian Country, it’s happened to THOUSANDS.


    • Lara/Trace March 10, 2016 / 1:18 pm

      I can think of a Native adoptee who was never made a citizen and told they are Canadian – so they had to leave the US (deported). But that was it.


    • Lara/Trace March 10, 2016 / 1:21 pm

      I will check out your site – thank you for comments! Trace


  2. Rose Mooney March 11, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    All Elders have always taught that being Native American is in your heart. To most of us BIA recognized doesn’t matter. Traditional Native American people do not vote for their Chief. Their Chief is named by the elders or previous Chiefs by bloodline and it has been that way for thousands of years also they have to qualify to be a Chief in the elders eyes. One drop of Native American blood makes you Indian. Your heart tells you you’re Indian. The Government involvement has made attempts to erase the Native American culture and heritage. We are stronger today and becoming even more stronger every day in finding the real Chief’s through their bloodlines for spiritual guidance. Some of us could care less about BIA recognized. We know who we are. We are a river that has flowed for years and today we are stronger than we were when we first began. There is no other race that has to prove who they are and prove a pedigree. Shame on our government for what they have done to separate and divide our people. We are all one people.


    • Lara/Trace March 12, 2016 / 8:04 am

      Rose, that is beautiful and so true. Thank you! Megwetch. WaDo.


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