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Washburn confirms lack of authority in disenrollment case

The Bureau of Indian Affairs lacks authority to determine membership issues for the Pala Band of Mission Indians, Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn said in a decision on Wednesday.

The tribe removed more than 100 people from the rolls, arguing they didn't meet membership requirements. The disenrollees asked the BIA to step in, citing a provision in the tribal constitution.

Washburn, however, said the constitution does not grant any authority to the BIA. The agency make only make recommendations on enrollment matters, he determined.

"Tribal law limited the [BIA] regional director to making a 'recommendation,' rather than actually deciding the enrollment appeals," Washburn wrote in the decision, a copy of which was posted by Turtle Talk.

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Pala Band finalizes decision to remove 154 people from the rolls (06/19)

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