Tribe says it has booted 289 people off its rolls
SEATTLE — After a yearslong fight that included a host of unusual legal maneuvers, the Nooksack Indian Tribe in Northwestern Washington said Wednesday it booted nearly 300 people off its membership rolls. But a lawyer for those purportedly disenrolled insisted they’re not going anywhere.
Tribal Council Chairman Bob Kelly said in a news release that the 289 were “non-Indians who had erroneously been enrolled in the Tribe” beginning in 1983 and thus shouldn’t be entitled to tribal rights or benefits, which can include housing, health care and educational support.
The announcement followed a Nov. 4 referendum that showed “overwhelming support” for the disenrollments, Kelly said — but those facing disenrollment were not allowed to vote, and federal authorities have said they won’t recognize the referendum’s results.