Dismembered: Native Disenrollment and the Battle for Human Rights

Dismembered: Native Disenrollment and the Battle for Human Rights

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Overview

While the number of federally recognized Native nations in the United States are increasing, the population figures for existing tribal nations are declining. This depopulation is not being perpetrated by the federal government, but by Native governments that are banishing, denying, or disenrolling Native citizens at an unprecedented rate. Since the 1990s, tribal belonging has become more of a privilege than a sacred right. Political and legal dismemberment has become a national phenomenon with nearly eighty Native nations, in at least twenty states, terminating the rights of indigenous citizens.

The first comprehensive examination of the origins and significance of tribal disenrollment, Dismembered examines this disturbing trend, which often leaves the disenrolled tribal members with no recourse or appeal. At the center of the issue is how Native nations are defined today and who has the fundamental rights to belong. By looking at hundreds of tribal constitutions and talking with both disenrolled members and tribal officials, the authors demonstrate the damage this practice is having across Indian Country and ways to address the problem.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780295741581
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Publication date: 05/10/2017
Series: Indigenous Confluences Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David E. Wilkins is the McKnight Presidential Professor in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is the coauthor of American Indian Politics and the American Political System. Shelly Hulse Wilkins is a partner with the Wilkins Forum and specializes in tribal governmental relations.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 3

Chapter 1 Banishment 12

Chapter 2 Federal Power and Citizenship in Indian Country 26

Chapter 3 A New Deal for Native Citizenship 43

Chapter 4 Native Self-Determination 60

Chapter 5 The Dismembering Explodes 67

Chapter 6 Judicial Interpretations of Dismemberment 102

Conclusion 142

Appendix 167

List of Interviews 173

Notes 175

Selected Bibliography 191

Index 195

What People are Saying About This

Gabriel Galanda

Dismembered provides a transformative look at the colonially-inspired and federally designed mode of modern tribal self-termination: disenrollment. It is a must-read for anybody concerned about the future of indigenous peoples in America.

From the Publisher

"Dismemberment is a truly enlightening study of the history of federal Indian law and policy because of its careful empirical research, compelling analysis, and genuine concern for the people and tribal governments involved."—Thomas Biolsi, author of Deadliest Enemies: Law and Race Relations on and off Rosebud Reservation

"Dismembered provides a transformative look at the colonially-inspired and federally designed mode of modern tribal self-termination: disenrollment. It is a must-read for anybody concerned about the future of indigenous peoples in America."—Gabriel Galanda, attorney and co-author of Curing the Tribal Disenrollment Epidemic: In Search of a Remedy

"David and Shelly Wilkins have done excellent research on the twisted path of disenrollment and banishment. What the federal government tried to do through many failed Indian policies and boarding schools, tribes are now accomplishing through disenrollment. If the current trend continues, tribes will make themselves extinct."—Senator John R. McCoy, Washington State 38th Legislative District

Thomas Biolsi

Dismemberment is a truly enlightening study of the history of federal Indian law and policy because of its careful empirical research, compelling analysis, and genuine concern for the people and tribal governments involved.

Senator John R. McCoy

David and Shelly Wilkins have done excellent research on the twisted path of disenrollment and banishment. What the federal government tried to do through many failed Indian policies and boarding schools, tribes are now accomplishing through disenrollment. If the current trend continues, tribes will make themselves extinct.

Interviews

A strange thing is happening in Indian Country: the number of federally-recognized Native nations continues to increase, while the population figures for existing tribal nations continues to decline. This depopulation of an ever increasing number of native citizens is being perpetrated not by the federal government but by Native governments which are banishing, denying, or disenrolling otherwise bonafide native citizens at an unprecedented level. Political and legal dismemberment has become a national phenomenon with nearly eighty Native nations in at least twenty states engaging in the practices of terminating the rights of indigenous citizens, in numerous cases without equal protection at law or due process of law and with no effective remedy for the deprivation of their essential rights.This study is the first comprehensive treatment of the origins, significance, and contemporary situation involving native citizen dismemberment by tribal government action.Native nations have always possessed the inherent authority to denationalize any tribal member or to physically expel members and even non-member natives and non-natives as well. But this study argues that far too many Indigenous nations are engaging in dismemberment practices that clearly violate their own historic values and principles which at one time utilized peacemaking, mediation, restitution, and compensation to resolve the inevitable disputes that occasionally arose.The subject of tribal dismemberment raises the vital question of how Native nations are defined today, and prompts the related questions of who has the fundamental right to belong in these nations and what are the grounds upon which an individual’s relationship to their nation may be politically, legally, or culturally severed by native governing elites. These questions are the heart of this book.Tribal belonging, long viewed as an absolute given by Native citizens, since the early 1990s has become more of a political privilege than a sacred and organic kinship right as defined by tribal officialdom. Such dismemberments are happening for a variety of reasons that will be explored in the book, but the two most apparent factors associated with the practices are increased gambling revenue and criminal activity that presumably threatens community stability.After examining the early history and evolution of banishment and disenrollment, the study moves to provide a thorough empirical analysis of both Native and federal court cases that have dealt with disenrollment matters and concludes by discussing numerous ideas and proposed mechanisms to address Native expulsions.

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