Column: Republican activist goes after tribal sovereignty again

"Is the Washington state Republican Party taking another misguided run at tribal sovereignty?

They are, if Bob Eberle and his fellow Skagit County Republicans have anything to say about it.

Eberle lives on the Swinomish Indian Reservation on Puget Sound. He supports a Skagit County GOP platform that included a plank calling for federal intervention in tribal elections, forcing them to allow nonmembers to vote. He presents the notion as simple and inoffensive, a matter of fairness, and not an assault on the right of tribes to govern themselves. But the truth is that Eberle and his fellow travelers don’t believe in the right of tribes to govern themselves at all.

“This business about the Indians having sovereign authority is a bunch of bunk,” he said. “They adhere solely to laws passed by the U.S. Congress.”

Eberle said he hopes the state GOP – which is convening now in Tacoma – will adopt the plank, though the last time he and his fellows took on tribal sovereignty it didn’t go so well. In 2000, Eberle and John Fleming – a longtime opponent of tribal sovereignty who also lives on the Swinomish reservation – supported an even farther-reaching attempt to eliminate tribal sovereignty, including a provision that the government compensate people like Eberle and Fleming for the denial of their constitutional rights. "

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Shawn Vestal: GOP activist targeting tribal sovereignty again (The Spokesman Review 6/2)

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