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Opinion: Nooksack Tribe's election affects disenrollment dispute

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: disenrollment, elections, nooksack, washington

Attorney Jim Diamond discusses how an upcoming election could affect a disenrollment dispute within the Nooksack Tribe of Washington:
On March 15, 2014 a very important vote will take place on the Deming, Washington Reservation of The Nooksack Indian Tribe. The Tribe has attempted a mass disenrollment of more than 300 enrolled tribal members. Represented by Gabe Galanda of Galanda Broadman, several lawsuits have been filed in tribal court and in federal court. Elections of the Tribal Council and its officers, however, could alter the balance of power and the attempted purge.

Galanda says that the elections are essentially a referendum on the disenrollment. “The results of the primary signaled that the current Council lacks a mandate for that mass disenrollment,” he says. “In the general election the Nooksack People, who have been silenced in all political forums for the last fourteen months, will rightfully have a say in the matter.”

In the case of most American Indian tribes, historically the tribes have had the power to determine tribal membership. For centuries tribes “banished” people as punishment for serious offenses. In recent years, however, a trend has been evident with tribes canceling membership, or “disenrolling” tribal members due to claims of inferior membership qualification.

Get the Story:
March 15 Vote Could Reverse WA Indian Tribal Membership Purge (Jim Diamond's Blog 3/3)

Related Stories:
Michelle Roberts: Open letter on Nooksack Tribe disenrollment (2/27)
Nooksack Tribe heads into election amid disenrollment dispute (2/18)
Court puts hold on disenrollments within Nooksack Tribe (01/23)
Michelle Roberts: Nooksack Tribe persecutes its own people (12/17)

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