Saginaw Chippewa Disenrollment Effort Begins Anew

Here is the news article, via Pechanga. And here is an excerpt:

The “D” word has again surfaced on the Isabella Reservation: Disenrollment.

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s Office of Administrative Hearings last week conducted the first hearing in several years into the possibility of removing a current member from the rolls. No decision was reached.

The case involves an 87-year-old elder who lives in Pennsylvania. Anna Bell Atwood. She became a member of the Tribe in 1988 during the Tribe’s open enrollment period, a time when the Tribe reached out to Natives who might qualify to become members.

Since that time, Tribal membership has become extremely valuable. Members qualify for numerous benefits, including per-capita payments of several thousand dollars per month based on income from the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, free health care and other perks.

But a high birth rate has caused membership in the Tribe to grow rapidly. At the same time, the economic downtown has cut into the Tribe’s income.

Tribal attorney Shawn Frank admitted during the hearing that a change in the makeup of the Tribal Council had put the disenrollment issue back into the spotlight.

Muscogee Nation Council Challenge to Tribal Constitutional Amendment Thrown Out (without briefing)

A year ago, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Council, along with a tribal member co-plaintiff, sued the Muscogee Election Board to challenge the adoption of several amendments to the tribal constitution, suing in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction. That Court held, over a dissent, that it was improper to bring suit under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, and remanded the case to the district court. The district court judge recused, leaving a vacancy that was never filled by the Muscogee executive branch. The case languished, and now the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Supreme Court (3-2, with one Justice not participating) has dismissed the claims for lack of standing of the plaintiffs, apparently without notice to the parties or the benefit of briefing of either party on the questions of whether it could reassert jurisdiction or on the standing of the parties.

Here are the materials:

Muscogee Council & Robert Trepp Complaint // CV 09-211 Summons & Complaint signed

Supreme Court Order Remanding to DCT

District Court Judge Recusement

Supreme Court Order Dismissing Suit // Supreme Court Order Dismissing Suit complete opinion

Timbisha Shoshone Leadership Dispute

Two rival factions of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe have been duking it out in federal court. One band sought a TRO preventing the enforcement of a BIA decision to recognize the other, but the Eastern District of California denied the motion on Dec. 23, on the grounds that adequate remedies at law remain, including administrative remedies. Here are the materials:

timbisha-v-kempthorne-complaint [includes BIA materials]

motion for TRO [includes Timbisha tribal constitution]

movant’s brief


GTB Constitution Reform Proposals (Uggh!)

From the Leelanau News:

Problems apparent during the last tribal election are among factors spurring the Tribal Council of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians to call for establishment of a “Legislative Drafting Committee” which will review procedures for amending the Tribal Constitution.

Hundreds of GTB members last year signed a petition calling for an amendment to the Tribal Constitution following a highly contentious 2006 election process that delayed the seating of newly elected Tribal Council members until 2007 and resulted in the elimination of two of the top vote-getters from the race.

A proposed constitutional amendment would allow tribal members to vote for the position of Chief Judge and Appellate Judges of the Tribal Court, the Tribal Prosecutor and Tribal Police Captain. Currently, those positions are filled by political appointees hand-picked by elected members of the Tribal Council.

Continue reading

Cal. Miwok v. United States (CA DC)

The D.C. Circuit affirmed the decision of the Secretary of Interior declining to approve the California Miwok Tribe’s constitution on the grounds that only a small number of tribal members participated in its formation, to the exclusion of most others.

CA DC Opinion

Sault Tribe Chairman Controversy

From Soo Evening News (H/T Indianz):

Board seeks Payment’s removal


Sault Tribal Board considers resolution to remove Chairman from office

SAULT STE. MARIE – Tribal Chairman Aaron Payment issued a press release early this morning announcing the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Board of Directors is considering a resolution to remove him from office. Payment also indicated that this action would render him ineligible to seek re-election later this year.

Continue reading

Sault Tribe Press Release on Separation of Powers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2007


SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – Tribal Chairperson Aaron Payment announced today
that pursuant to the authority granted to the Chairperson/CEO in the
Sault Tribe Constitution and Bylaws, he has established a new
organizational chart that creates a functional separation of powers for
key functions of the Tribe including Tribal Courts, Prosecution, Law
Enforcement, Juvenile Detention, Gaming Compliance, Tribal Registrar,
Natural Resources/Treaty Rights, Human Resources Compliance, Housing
Commission, and Appropriations/ Fiscal compliance.

Continue reading