Chukchansi Tribe sends disenrollment letters to founding families

A view of the Picayune Rancheria in California. Photo by Native American Law Students Association - Suffolk University Law School

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in California is once again trying to remove more people from the rolls.

This time the targets include members of the tribe's founding families. They are the ones who kept the Chukchansi people together following their termination by the federal government in 1958. The tribe was eventually restored to recognition through the landmark Tillie Hardwick case in 1983.

"I am really disappointed by this council, though I should not be surprised," Sam Lawhon, 47, who has been threatened with removal despite being a member since 1983, told The Sierra Star.

Lawhon's wife, Kim, also received a disenrollment letter, the paper said. She is one of the few people who can teach the Chukchansi language. One of the last fluent speakers was ousted by the tribe a few years ago.

Read More on the Story:
Former tribal leader calls action retaliation (The Sierra Star 8/3)

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