Apr 24, 2016 - Nooksack 306 and Supporters Rally Against Disenrollment
On April 18th 2016, members of the Nooksack 306, Idle No More and supporters marched through the streets of Seattle to draw attention to the issue of disenrollment. For the past several years, 306 members of the Nooksack tribe have been fighting against efforts of the Nooksack tribal council to disenoll them from their tribe.
Nooksack 306 and supporters march in downtown Seattle. Photo by Alex Garland
Recently, the Nooksack tribe, led by its Chairman Bob Kelly whom ironically is adopted into the Nooksack tribe, has taken extreme measures against the Nooksack 306 including barring their attorneys from Galanda Broadman from practicing in their courts then firing tribal court Judge Susan Alexander due to a ruling she made against the tribal council in favor of the Nooksack 306.
In response, the Nooksack 306 reached out to Idle No More and supporters to rally and march.
The following comes from Michelle Roberts (Nooksack) and part of the Nooksack 306.
“Having rallies and national campaigns like the Stop Disenrollment movement help bring awareness to Indian country on the destruction and the affect it will have on the future of our race. We are stronger in numbers and in the political world numbers is what gets the attention so educating and asking for support is important.
As for our story, I know that we have attempted to remedy this issue internally and were cut off at each turn. Providing credible documentation, ancestry and oral history has been met with opposition from this council. For the last 3 ½ years the governmental changes made by this council has been directly related to accomplish their one and only goal of disenrolling our family. If we really do not belong then those changes should not have been needed; Court codes changed to give them an advantage and stonewall us, a Constitution change that was conducted in a bias manner, multiple Ordinance changes and resolutions that remove any type of support from the Tribe are discriminatory and bullying tactics.
The Sacred Water Canoe Family sings at Seattle’s Westlake Center in support of the Nooksack 306. Photo by Alex Garland.
Sovereignty has been used as a tool to attack our family, I am sure when our elders and ancestors fought for our rights sovereignty was not intended to be used against each other. As a last result we have had to reach out to the BIA and the federal government only to be accused of giving it (sovereign) up, but if they did not abuse their power and act responsibly we would not have been forced to take such action. I think of it as the US stepping in with other sovereign countries when their leadership abuses the citizens in that country. It is no different. Recently the Tribe fired the judge because she ruled with integrity and obviously did not meet the council’s objective. Court codes were changed to allow the council to administratively disbar our attorney, they have basically shut down the Nooksack court, we have tried to file papers only to find the court office closed. The motions or complaints filed in the last couple of weeks have lapsed the time requirements. These actions on their part have forced us to file directly with the court of appeals. Two motions yesterday were denied by the court clerks stating that they have already “answered” those motions and without having a judge to review these it is left up to the tribes attorneys to decide what will be accepted and not. That is totally a conflict of interest and a corrupt way of doing business.
Nooksack 306 youth say “We belong!” Photo by Alex Garland
Council has lobbied to the public that we lied on our applications and tell people we do not know who we are but our family tree is true and correct our grandmothers knew who their mother was and who their grandmothers were and in my grandmothers stories to us she loved and cared for her elders. She passed on to us who we are, where we come from and there is no question or doubt that….. through bloodline and constitutional ….. WE BELONG.
Last Real Indians editor and writer Matt Remle (Lakota) and Idle No More’s Sweetwater Nannauck (Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian) show solidarity with the Nooksack 306. Photo by Alex Garland
Bob, Katherine and the rest of the council think that if they succeed in disenrolling us that we will just disappear and all will go back to normal but we will continue to fight we will not give up, I see posts on FB that people want it “over with” and it won’t be over until they accept the truth.”
Find out more about the Nooksack 306 here