Native lawyer takes on tribes that kick members out
DEMING, Whatcom County — In his big gray truck, Gabriel Galanda makes a notable entrance into a Nooksack tribal-housing development of a couple dozen modest homes, set on a winding road about a half-hour east of Bellingham. Many of the residents, members of a sprawling clan who move easily in and out of each other’s homes, appear with platters of fry bread, chicken adobo, baked halibut, salads, cupcakes and pies.
It’s a feast befitting their biggest defender, one who has made their small tribe of a couple thousand members well-known throughout Indian country, and not in a good way. The Nooksack tribal government for the past three years has been trying to disenroll the clan in this housing development and its extended family — which would strip all 306 of tribal membership.