David Wilkins: Tribal disenrollments are a growing problem

"A strange thing is happening in and across Indian country: the number of federally recognized tribal nations continues to increase—the Tejon people of California were readmitted to the ranks in early January of this year, bringing the number of such groups to 566—while the population figures for existing federally recognized native peoples continues to decline because of the ongoing number of disenrollments of tribal members.

The disenrollment of ever-increasing numbers of Native citizens has, unfortunately, become a national phenomenon, with native nations in at least seventeen states engaging in the practice. But the small nations of California, over thirty at last count, are leading the charge in the dismemberment of their own peoples. The most disturbing case is that of the Chukchansi people, where over half the population–1,000+ individuals–have been dismembered in recent years.

The New York Times has weighed in on the subject recently, focusing, not surprisingly, on the California scene because of the sheer number of Native communities involved."

Get the Story:
David E. Wilkins: Depopulation in Indian Country, 21st Century Style (Indian Country Today 3/19)

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