The New York Times Magazine
"Who Decides Who Counts as Native American?"
Jan. 18, 2017
University of Arizona Law’s Robert A. Williams, Jr., E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and faculty chair of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program, was interviewed by the New York Times Magazine in a feature story highlighting the growing controversy surrounding the determination of who counts as an enrolled member of a tribal nation and the ongoing legal challenges to the disenrollment of Nooksack tribal members.
Williams shared that some tribes have begun to hire consultants to manage their membership rolls, noting that “It’s almost become an industry in some parts of Indian Country.” In the article he goes on to say that disenrollment is a remnant of "colonialism and good-old fashioned American racism, with Indians left to deal with the mess."
A series of cases involving tribal members being disenrolled from their tribe has brought attention to the complex and emotionally charged issues surrounding tribal membership. The disenrollment of more than 300 Nooksack tribal members is one of the most publicized instances, as detailed in the article. Seattle-based law firm Galanda Broadman PLLC—founded by Arizona Law alumni Anthony Broadman and Gabe Galanda and later joined by graduates Ryan Dreveskracht and Joseph Sexton—represents the disenrolled members of the “Nooksack 306.”
Exploring the Question of Who Belongs
This March 9-10, Arizona Law and IPLP will convene “Who Belongs,” a two-day conference featuring conversations with tribal leaders and leading scholars on the complex and interrelated issues surrounding tribal kinship, native nation citizenship, and disenrollment.
The conference is an opportunity for tribal leaders, tribal members, government officials, attorneys, advocates, faculty, and students to discuss this vital issue.
Visit Who Belongs for event details and registration.