Nooksack evictions of disenrolled on hold at Washington Supreme Court
Next date to watch: June 15.
The Supreme Court of Washington state this afternoon granted an injunction for tribal disenrollees of the Nooksack Indian Tribe who were being evicted from their homes as a result of their disenrollments.
The disenrollees have long argued that the tribe wrongfully and politically used its sovereign status to disenroll — and evict — members.
Thousands of tribal citizens have been disenrolled around the nation, and disenrollment continues at some tribes today, despite increasing controversy surrounding it as more people grow to understand it.
Members of seven Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) households will for now be allowed to stay in their homes on tribal lands as a result of the court’s decision. In turn, evictions are at least temporarily halted while the high court decides whether to take up the case.
Gabe Galanda, the lawyer for the disenrollees, has received nationwide attention for his efforts to speak about the human rights componenets and abuses involved with tribal disenrollment and their juxtaposition with tribal sovereignty. His argument is that tribal sovereignty should not trump the rights of individual tribal citizens. In other words, the citizens make up the tribe, not the other way around.
Galanda explained in a statement that the tribe’s eviction efforts will be paused until the state’s Supreme Court justices can decide later this month — June 15 — whether to grant discretionary review of the households' plea for a preliminary injunction against the evictions.
The tribe has yet to make a statement. Nooksack tribal leadership has in the past argued that tribal disenrollees won’t lose their culture as a result of being disenrolled and evicted.
The order, signed by Chief Justice Steven González, is here.
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