Disenrollment: Why Tribes Must Audit Membership
Tribes conduct enrollment audits for a variety of reasons. Some conduct them for the right reasons: To clean up their records and to make sure that the errors of the past are not repeated. And to make sure that every tribal member has an updated membership file that is consistent with their governing documents and the wishes of their tribal membership. They do not do it for the sole purpose of disenrolling tribal members. Many tribes that I have worked with recognize that and do everything they can to avoid disenrolling any of their citizens after an audit.
Anyone who knows anything about tribal enrollment recognizes that the sins of the past in enrollment are many. Often, tribes did not have the resources to properly train their staffs and committees in the everyday functions of their jobs. In addition, the governing documents supplied to them were sloppily written by the BIA or by those who did not have their best interests at heart.