Gabe Galanda: Even Hollywood is taking on tribal disenrollment

Jason Momoa stars in The Red Road as a member of a New Jersey tribe who has been disenrolled. Still image from Sundance

Attorney Gabe Galanda sees Hollywood taking on a topic that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is ignoring:
Amidst the furor about Adam Sandler’s racist depiction of Indians in his forthcoming movie, consider another narrative about Indian Country that is increasingly being told by Hollywood and its Indian actors: Disenrollment.

Two examples: In the first episode of the second season of Red Road last month, Phillip Kopus (Jason Mamoa) learns he has been disenrolled from the fictional Lenape Tribe for having been convicted after a shoot-out.

In last season’s House of Cards–-which, like Sandler’s “satire,” is produced by Netflix—the following plotline unfolded:

Doug Stamper travels to a Missouri casino owned by the fictional “Ugaya” Native American tribe and run by a greedy tribal chairman that has recently disenrolled an unknown number of tribal members. Leaders of the band that was booted meet with the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs because they want to be federally recognized . . . which would allow them to be able to open a casino. Federally recognized tribes have government-to-government relationships with the U.S.

The Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs was played by Gary “Litefoot” Davis, who, in his role, says something about disenrollment to the effect of: “The federal government does not get involved in internal tribal affairs.”

Get the Story:
Gabe Galanda: Hollywood’s Portrayal Of Tribal Disenrollment Is Another Bad Look (Galanda Broadman Blog 4/27)

National Native American Bar Association Resolution:
Supporting Equal Protection and Due Process For Any Divestment of the American Indigenous Right of Tribal Citizenship (April 2015)

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