Law | National

Nooksack Tribe tries to evict family amid mass enrollment purge






The Nooksack Tribe of Washington has removed more than 300 people from the rolls this year. Photo by The Nooksack 306

A family from the Nooksack Tribe of Washington is battling an eviction order.

Margretty Rabang was told to leave a tribal housing unit after she was disenrolled earlier this year, The Bellingham Herald reported. But a state judge stepped into the dispute by issuing a temporary restraining order on Wednesday.

The judge asserted jurisdiction because the housing unit is not located on the reservation. The decision appears to prevent Rabang, her 72-year-old husband, her daughter and her 1-year-old and 3-year-old grandchildren from being kicked out during the holiday season.

“I don’t want to be stressed out. I got these two babies," Rabang said during a hearing in tribal court last month during i which she was unable to delay the eviction proceedings. "You know they should be able to have Christmas in their own home.”

In addition to Rabang and her siblings, the tribe has removed more than 300 people from the rolls, claiming they do not meet membership standards. Chairman Bob Kelly called them "non-Indians" in a press release last month.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service have warned Kelly about the mass purge, saying it could have an effect on the tribe's self-determination contracts. Both agencies also say the council has been operating without a quorum since March.

The tribe has since held a primary election to fill four vacant seats on the council but The Nooksack 306 and others who have been removed from the rolls weren't allowed to participate. The general election is scheduled for January 21, 2017.

Turtle Talk has posted documents related to the Rabang eviction, a different state court decision and the mass disenrollment.

Read More on the Story:
Facing eviction days after Christmas, family gets hope from Whatcom court (The Bellingham Herald 12/21)

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