On vacation this week. But while I’m away I thought of something.
On this blog, and others, I have repeatedly denounced the use of banishment and disenrollment as a means for unscrupulous tribal councils and factions to get rid of members of their own community based on little more than greed, petty family strife, and plain old petulance. The so-called “Paper Genocide” — (a term I dislike, but can’t think of a replacement right this second) — has claimed thousands of Native Americans’ identities, leaving many of them without access to subsidized health care, tribal schools, various services and casino money allotments. Currently, it is one of the great legal crises that is going on in America and more people need to be aware of it. Congress must do something about it. I’ve repeated these sentiments ad nauseum.
But, out of an abundance of fairness, I must ask: has there ever been a case where someone who was disenrolled actually deserve it? Put another way, has any Indian ever been banished or disenrolled as the result of a legitimate, non-nefarious purpose? I would appreciate some historical practices and examples as well.
The thing is, however, it’s hard to disentangle disenrollments that were made AFTER the tribe’s casino was built, or any time after the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed. The core excuse I’ve heard to date about why tribal councils want to disenroll their own members it that they’re just correcting their paper work. Of course, the retort is that why should tribes care now what their paperwork says when they’ve had decades prior to the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to correct it. At this point, it’s almost as if any disenrollment made after IGRA was passed is presumed to be tainted.
But, if there’s another way of looking at it, please clue me in.