Disenrolled members of the San Pasqual and Pechanga California bands are staging a Fed Up With Disenrollment and Tribal Corruption March and Twitterstorm live event to draw attention to the disregard of the individual rights of indigenous people under the 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act. Here is the event page, and the site of the Pechanga disenrolled.
The group is attempting to draw the attention of the new Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, John Barrasso, (R) Wyoming. There is a broader issue of tribal corruption that has gone unchecked for decades in Indian country, where tribal governments routinely disenroll their citizens to which a federal trust and fiduciary duty is owed by the Bureau if Indian Affairs.
Tribal councils routinely abuse their authority under the Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49 (1978) precedent that allowed tribes unfettered right to enforce sometimes arbitrary, unfair and discriminatory enrollment standards. This has caused an abusive pattern on the part of tribal government councils to engage in discharge of tribal citizens. This causes an individual tribal citizen to lose their identity, citizenship, benefits and it causes the loss of culture.
For the San Pasqual descendants, it is an issue of improper handling of blood quantum laws. This is an issue of broader incompetence of the BIA to properly monitor tribal governments. Still some tribal governmental organizations, the extinguishment of citizenship is systemic, organized, and willful. There is a need to hold tribal governments accountable, their actions are often done behind the claim of sovereign official government immunity, leaving the U.S. government holding the liability.
There is likely a need for the federal government to adopt a policy of descendency rolls, and imposing this upon the tribal governments, as blood quantum brawling is becoming more commonplace throughout Indian country. Similar battles have been waged on the Flathead Indian Reservation, where the tribe upheld a blood quantum bar. A similar issue has torn apart the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana. Still for other tribes, like the issue facing the Rocky Boy Band of Chippewa Indians; it is an issue of federal recognition robbery and wholesale tribal identity theft.
In this issue, the federal government outright threw out the original roll of the Chippewa Indians, and re-enrolled Cree and Mixed ancestry Indians, referred to as Metis, descendants of Louis Riel. Not only were these rival tribal groups not of Chippewa descent; they are not treaty tribes in the United States. Their point of origin is Frog Lake, Saskatewan, and fled after the Frog Lake Massacre. They were allowed to claim adoptee status in the 1935 tribal constitution under the authority of the Indian Reorganization Act.
The adoptess then changed the name of the original Rocky Boy's Band of Chippewa Indians, and it became what it is known today, the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation. This is a long term mess left for the Chippewa to clean up. The tribal enrollment and membership rolls are outright illegal, out of the norm of most tribes, and allow anyone to enroll.
This past winter, the Adoptee Business Committee enrolled a white clergyman, whom they call "Father Pete." This is called the Father Pete Scandal, he then cast his vote as a newly minted tribal citizen. This brought their whole election cycle to a grinding halt, the matter is now before the Billings, MT Area Director's office.
This century old feud has created a toxic political environment in Montana and may have contributed to the collapse of the Montana State Democratic party. The party scrambled to attempt to recover, the more they tried to save themselves, the more they took in water until the party went down. The Sen. John Walsh scandal is just one example of the political fallout of this issue, which continues to unfold.
The state party has been in a state of crisis management as the Chippewa people have been coming to the forefront in a new political resurgence. The Chippewa people question why groups like the 226 tribes and bands awaiting recognition at the OFA; when the US has engaged with an adoptee led government--the Chippewa Cree Business Committee, who are wards of the government of Canada. There is a lack of fairness only an executive order can correct.
QUESTIONS GROW FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA
This is an on-going and developing story. In the meantime, the fight for the basic civil rights of this continent's first citizens continues across the country.
The question Chippewa people ask: why are US based groups like the San Pasqual disenrolled, forced to reapply under the OFA laws, a legal process with no end--when non-treaty Cree are federally recognized and receive 50 million annually by the US?
Why are our Chippewa not lawfully enrolled in our own reservation, and non-treaty Cree make enrollment laws? Why are the Little Shell Band of Chippewa, who come off the same treaty as us 1864 Pembina, the Rocky Boy Band---but both are denied federal recognized status---and the federal government has refused to help the Chippewa restore citizenship?
Why is the government conducting a government to government relationship with a Cree non-treaty Band (Little Bear) but denying this relationship to the 226 petitioning groups who are US in origin?
Including the band that awaits recognition to whom the late Amb. Stevens was a member and who was killed in Benghazi (Chinook)? People like Amb. Stevens, die for this country, but are denied their legal status as a Native American, this is a human rights violation.
This is a scandal that should be put before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. It is a situation of political collusion in Montana; where Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy (D) Box Elder, MT--is a non-treaty Chippewa but who has pulled strings in the party to maintain illegal adoptee enrollments in Rocky Boy under the veil of tribal sovereignty.
The Chippewa are finding almost 80% of the adoptees of the tribal membership of over 4,500 are dually enrolled in Canadian first nations. This is a clear abuse of enrollment in Rocky boy, where they are only enrolled on the basis of fraud. Clearly, people like Windy Boy are abusing the political system.
The Chippewa have made several attempts to mediate this matter with both the Adoptee Business Committee (it is called that because not one direct descendant of the Rocky Boy band serves on the council). Now at the present time; the Chippewa are attempting to put the matter before the specially funded Obama Guardians Project; a new Dept. of Justice project aimed at addressing fraud and tribal corruption, but so far has been cool toward restoring the Chippewa descendants.
Instead what we are finding is outright government sanctioned federal recognition robbery of our Chippewa identity, resources and rights, again, by rival groups whose treaty rights are in Canada.