your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Nooksack Tribe remains without recognized council as Trump administration digs in

Filed Under: Health | Law | National | Politics
More on: bia, disenrollment, doi, elections, ibia, ihs, nooksack, sovereignty, supreme court, washington

A disenrollment dispute within the Nooksack Tribe continues to make waves. Photo: The Nooksack 306

The Nooksack Tribe remains without a recognized governing body as the Trump administration continues to put the squeeze on an "illegitimate" group of leaders.

The Washington-based tribe has been denied access to an estimated $14 million in federal funds amid a long-running dispute over election and enrollment matters. And the situation will continue for the foreseeable future because a judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the ruling faction on the reservation.

The faction can't represent the "Nooksack Indian Tribe," Judge John C. Coughenor concluded on Thursday, because it is not recognized by the Department of the Interior. Although the agency's stance took shape during the final year of the Obama era, the new administration has dug in with a remarkably harsh view of the "unelected, unrecognized, and illegitimate" group.

"These are very rare circumstances," Coughenor observed.

Coughenor's 12-page decision rehashes the turmoil that threatens health care, housing and even judicial services on the reservation, all because a group led by Bob Kelly, the chairman of the ruling faction, is clinging to power. According to Interior, his group has has disenrolled more than 300 citizens and has refused to call elections in defiance of tribal law.

Coughenor did not rule on the merits of those claims -- indeed he cautioned that he cannot intrude on tribe's sovereign affairs. But he said Interior's refusal to recognize the Kelly faction is owed "deference" in light of the facts in the record.

As a result, both the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service stand on solid ground in withholding funds from the Kelly's disputed group. And both agencies are reclaiming authority that had been previously granted to the tribe.

In mid-March, the BIA began distributing flyers in the Nooksack community, announcing that it will re-assume control of a general assistance program. Later in the month, the IHS informed Kelly that it would be taking over health care services for eligible Nooksack descendants, even those who had been removed from the rolls late last year.

The actions have given hope to The Nooksack 306, whose members are among those derided by Kelly as "non-Indians." The group supports Interior's conclusion that the tribal council ceased to be legal in March 2016.

"Both the executive and judicial branches of the United States government have now affirmed what we have literally been saying since March 24, 2016: the Kelly faction lacks any legal authority whatsoever," Michelle Roberts, a spokesperson for the group, said on Thursday. "Until they conduct a full and fair and tribal council election, they are and will remain illegitimate."

Separately, members of the Nooksack 306 are suing Kelly and his allies in federal court. They have invoked the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal law that is more commonly used to break up criminal entities.

The disenrolled Nooksack citizens are also intervening in an administrative proceeding that affects the tribe's federal funding stream. In another sign of the shift at the federal level, the IHS didn't even object to their motion to join a case that Kelly brought to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals.

Turtle Talk has posted recent documents from Nooksack Indian Tribe v. Zinke, the now-dismissed lawsuit filed by the Kelly faction, and Rabang v. Kelly , the RICO lawsuit filed by members of The Nooksack 306.

Documents from the IBIA case, Nooksack Indian Tribe v. Director, Portland Area, Indian Health Service, are also available.

Related Stories:
Disputed leaders of Nooksack Tribe hit by new Supreme Court decision (April 27, 2017)
Disputed leader of Nooksack Tribe blames 'non-Indians' for crisis (April 6, 2017)
Trump administration calls out Nooksack Tribe for 'abuses of power' (April 4, 2017)
Internal tribal disputes continue to trip up federal court system (March 23, 2017)
Nooksack Tribe tries to evict family amid mass enrollment purge (December 22, 2016)
Leader of Nooksack Tribe defends purge of 'non-Indians' from rolls (November 23, 2016)
Indian Health Service warns Nooksack Tribe about disenrollees (November 22, 2016)
Bureau of Indian Affairs rebuffs Nooksack Tribe on disenrollment (November 17, 2016)
Nooksack Tribe moves to disenroll 306 after holding referendum (November 10, 2016)
Bureau of Indian Affairs questions Nooksack Tribe's government (October 18, 2016)
Nooksack Tribe creates new court and puts chairman in charge (October 14, 2016)
Nooksack Tribe ignores court orders as disenrollment dispute stalls (August 1, 2016)
Nooksack Tribe fires elder who spoke out against disenrollment (June 29, 2016)
National tribal judge group questions firing in disenrollment case (May 11, 2016)
Nooksack Tribe fires judge and loses attorney in disenrollment crisis (May 4, 2016)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Lawmakers once again seek fixes to 'broken' Indian Health Service (5/25)
Secretary Zinke headed to National Congress of American Indians (5/25)
Bureau of Indian Affairs opens listening sessions on reorganization (5/25)
Kevin Washburn: Indian Country feels the pain with Donald Trump (5/25)
Yakama Nation landowners weigh offers as buy-back winds down (5/25)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe cannabis consultant found not guilty (5/25)
Secretary Zinke plans to work with tribes on drilling push in Alaska (5/25)
Republican candidate to replace Ryan Zinke charged with assault (5/25)
Democrats drop Andrew Jackson from name of event in Arkansas (5/25)
Chickasaw Nation breaks ground on $10M casino by Texas border (5/25)
Washoe Tribe celebrates 1st anniversary of unique gaming facility (5/25)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community shares update on casino work (5/25)
Trump administration ready to let Cobell program run out of funds (5/24)
Northwest tribes slam Trump's budget for cuts to Indian programs (5/24)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe finds one bright spot in Trump's budget (5/24)
Pascua Yaqui Tribe reports jury conviction of non-Indian offender (5/24)
YES! Magazine: Native birthing center maintains tribal traditions (5/24)
Peter d'Errico: Founding Fathers conspired to take land from tribes (5/24)
Eastern Cherokee chief questions fairness of impeachment hearing (5/24)
Another guilty plea in theft of gaming funds from Winnebago Tribe (5/24)
Tribes clear legislative hurdle in bid for new casino in Connecticut (5/24)
President Trump confirms Indian Country's worst fears with budget (5/23)
Office of Special Trustee pitches lower budget as 'taxpayer' savings (5/23)
Steven Newcomb: Monuments to white supremacy harm our people (5/23)
Two more spills of oil from Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota (5/23)
Native woman in skirt and sandals wins ultramarathon in Mexico (5/23)
Brothers from Huichol Tribe murdered as drug war rages in Mexico (5/23)
Iowa Tribe misses deadline again to launch internet poker project (5/23)
Mississippi Choctaw citizens request vote on $25M casino project (5/23)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe must wait to restart work on casino (5/23)
Documents show few meetings between Secretary Zinke and tribes (5/22)
Landowners on 2 reservations in Nebraska receive buy-back offers (5/22)
Human Rights Complaint: 'We are only letting the white people in' (5/22)
Mark Trahant: Funds for Indian health in danger under Republicans (5/22)
Cronkite News: Navajo Nation school works hard to teach language (5/22)
Harlan McKosato: DNA tests can't reveal your unique tribal history (5/22)
Gyasi Ross: Fired FBI director made sure Peltier remained in prison (5/22)
Tiffany Midge: A response to winning the cultural appropriation prize (5/22)
André Cramblit: Treasure your aunties and uncles for their histories (5/22)
Treaty tribes celebrate after court refuses to rehear salmon dispute (5/22)
Eastern Cherokee leaders open impeachment hearing against chief (5/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.