"Who Belongs?" Conference Brings Together Tribal Leaders and Law Scholars to Discuss Disenrollment

Justin Boro

TUCSON, Arizona – The “Who Belongs? From Tribal Kinship to Native Nation Citizenship to Disenrollment” Conference will be held at the James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona, March 9-10, 2017.

Dates: March 9 & 10, 2017

Location: Ares Auditorium (Room 164) University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law

Registration: http://conta.cc/2jshO6q

Full agenda available: here

The conference is co-convened by the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the Rogers College of Law and the Department of American Indian Studies.

This first-of-its-kind conference will bring together prominent scholars in the field of Federal Indian Law, International Law, and American Indian Studies, as well as tribal government officials, to discuss recent trends in Indian Country dealing with citizenship and community belonging, including disenrollment.  

The Tribal Leaders Forum on the afternoon of March 10 will be moderated by Joan Timeche (Hopi), Executive Director of the Native Nations Institute (NNI), and Dr. Miriam Jorgensen, NNI’s Research Director. Timeche noted, “Participants will have an unparalleled opportunity to explore the question “Who belongs?”— a foundational aspect of self-governance and self-determination for Native nations and critical question for the future of any nation.”
 
The conference is free to all tribal officials, Native and Indigenous Peoples, faculty, and students. Attorneys are also eligible for 12 CLE hours including one hour of ethics (fees for CLE credits are categorized on the Registration site). The Registration site and Agenda and can be accessed here: http://conta.cc/2jshO6q. Please see attached flyer for more information. If you have questions regarding the conference, please contact the Event Coordinator, Matthew Schwoebel, by email at mdschwoebel@email.arizona.edu or via phone at (520) 271-1718.

"The conference is designed to address the sensitive issues surrounding who has a hereditary and/or cultural right to be a part of a Native and Aboriginal community, and what are an individual’s responsibilities to that community," said conference organizer Professor Robert Hershey. "It is our hope that an atmosphere of respect, understanding, listening, and learning will be fostered, and that our gathering will promote utmost dignity."
 
Additionally, as highlighted this past week by the New York Times, disenrollment has reached an epidemic level, with as many as 9,000 Native Americans having been jettisoned from nearly 80 tribes in recent years. As Professor Robert A. Williams, Jr. (Lumbee) recently stated in the New York Times, “It’s almost become an industry in some parts of Indian Country.”
 
The conference is designed for attendance by tribal leaders and citizens, tribal and federal government officials, attorneys and advocates practicing Native American and Indigenous Peoples law, Native and Indigenous people, officers of tribal enrollment and constitution reform committees, and faculty and students of American Indian Studies and law.
 
Confirmed participants include thought-leaders Stephen Cornell, Matthew Fletcher (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians), Gabriel Galanda (Round Valley Indian Tribe), Norbert Hill (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Joseph Kalt, Richard Luarkie (Pueblo of Laguna), Oren Lyons  (Onondaga) (Invited), Pamela Palmater (Mi’kmaq), Patricia Riggs (Ysleta del Sur Pueblo), Kawika Riley (Native Hawaiian), Lorinda Riley (Cherokee/Native Hawaiian), Wenona Singel (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians), Kevin Washburn (Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma), David Wilkins (Lumbee), and tribal leaders, including Bernadine Burnette, President, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Carol Evans, Chairwoman, Spokane Tribe of IndiansReno Keoni Franklin, Chairman, Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, Edward Manuel, Chairman, Tohono O’odham Nation, and Robert Valencia, Chairman, Pascua Yaqui Tribe. University of Arizona Law professors Rebecca Tsosie (Yaqui descendant), Robert A. Williams, Jr. (Lumbee), and Robert Hershey will also be featured speakers.

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For media inquiries, contact Prof. Robert Hershey-Lear, hershey@law.arizona.edu or (520) 621-5677.