Law | Politics

Spokane Tribe bars disenrollment in amendment to constitution

A sign on the Spokane Reservation in Washington. Photo by Thomas Mac Krell

The Spokane Tribe of Washington has outlawed disenrollment.

Tribal members on Saturday approved a constitutional amendment to bar the practice. The vote was 309 in favor to 268 against, according to results posted by The Rawhide Press, the tribe's newspaper.

The results were first noticed by attorney Gabe Galanda. He has represented clients who are being removed from the rolls of their tribes under disputed circumstances.

"Spokane joins a growing list of tribal governments who are amending IRA constitutions—which have been the primary vehicle for disenrollment in Indian Country—to discontinue the colonialist practice," Galanda said in a blog post.

The National Native American Bar Association, which counts Galanda as a board member, also has taken a stand against disenrollment. The group says tribes have a right to determine their own citizenship rules as long as individuals are provided equal protection and due process.

Get the Story:
Spokane Tribe Bans Disenrollment (Galanda Broadman Blog 6/9)

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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