What role -- if any -- should the federal government have in tribal citizenship disputes?

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Mar 30Liked by Rob Capriccioso

When you give stripping citzenship a cute moniker like “disenrollment”, it takes on the context of, say, losing you membership in the Harper Valley P. T. A. And that makes it simpler for a politician to take tribal money and with the phrase, “tribes can choose their own membership” they can avoid taking a closer look at what it really entails.

Take American citizenship, the U.S. Government can strip an American of citizenship for few reasons, here’s one from US CODE 1481:

7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.

We are talking about treason or overthrowing the government as a serious offense. No disenrollees have threatened overthrow of their tribal government. No bearing arms against tribal councils. In Indian Country, you can lose your citizenship for simply disagreeing with the tribal council. Putting a “wrong” member on the council or speaking your mind about their business entities can get one stripped of their citizenship.

How many American’s have been stripped of their citizenship, can you name ONE? WAS Charles Manson stripped of his US citizenship? No. How about American terrorists who advocate death to American and sharia law? Nope, uh-uh, but in Indian Country, the number is in the THOUSANDS. We have tribes like Snoqualmie in Washington, that have stripped citizenship simply for taking a position opposite of the tribal council. Pechanga threatens the children or grandchildren of tribal members if you speak out:


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We cannot measure blood. The colonial way of thinking will continue and dominate and divide us if we attempt to define ourselves by blood. It's so sad: How did we forget we are Sovereign?

We are educated in their mindset. And we are in constant danger.

Rebecca Tallbear wrote: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.


The Allotment Act (1887–1934) and Blood Quantum

Instead of forced assimilation or removal, the General Allotment (Dawes) Act aimed to break up Native communities by targeting their geographic autonomy. The statute parceled up previously communal Indian lands and allocated it to individual tribal members. Then it opened “surplus land” to settler homesteading. The government institutionalized a policy called “blood quantum,” in this case requiring Natives to “prove one-fourth Indian blood in a given group” in order to inherit their families’ land. This system, in turn, set Natives up to eventually breed themselves out of existence through intermarriage, which would ultimately relieve the government of upholding treaty promises. Although the Dawes Act was replaced by the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934, blood quantum continues to be widely used to determine citizenship– and how blood quantum is used varies from tribe to tribe. In many cases, blood quantum has the continued effect of shrinking enrollment, burdening and complicating Native identity and relationships, and, in the company of dogs and horses, reducing Natives to our blood measurements.

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There are enrolled tribal members who are 1/2400 Native ... if non-Indians are allowed to take over our very identify as tribal members .. then all is lost

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