Appeals court won't rehear Santa Ynez Band enrollment dispute

The Chumash Maritime Association rows in a traditional canoe, or tomol, named "Elye’wun" in California. Photo: rezzarat

A group of people who contend they should be enrolled in the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians are debating whether to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rosanna Miranda and her family members applied for citizenship in the California-based tribe but were denied after a 10-year wait, The Santa Maria Sun reported. The dispute centered on the blood quantum of one of their ancestors.

A 1940 roll listed Rosa Pace, who was Miranda's grandmother, as full-blooded Chumash. But a 1956 census said she was only one-half.

The tribe relied on the latter document in rejecting Miranda and her relatives, saying they did not meet the one-fourth blood quantum standard. The family appealed to the Bureau of Indian Affairs but the agency sustained the tribe's decision.

That led to a lawsuit in federal court but the family wasn't successful there either. In December, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the BIA made the right call by relying on the tribe's interpretation of all the evidence.

Miranda and her relatives asked the 9th Circuit to rehear the case but the request was denied on February 28. The final judgment was issued on March 8 but the family hasn't decided whether to take the matter to the nation's highest court.

“The government is still rotten and unfair,” Miranda told The Sun. “I’m not trying to knock down or bad mouth anyone, but what’s written is written.”

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Miranda v. Jewell.

Read More on the Story:
Bloodline: A woman fights the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to get tribal membership for her family (The Santa Maria Sun 4/5)

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Miranda v. Jewell (December 9, 2016)

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Disenrollment epidemic affects dozens of tribes across the nation (01/18)