In all of your deliberations...in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion....Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation. -- Great Law of the Iroqouis
While some tribes who terminate their own people, spare the ancestors by not “posthumously disenrolling” them, any disenrollment of a descendant amounts to disenrollment of the dead.
Today’s disenrollees descend from Treaty Chiefs, reservation founders, original allottees, termination defenders, and other tribal matriarchs and patriarchs. Many of those ancestors signed a Treaty or accepted an Indian homestead, or defended those Indian holdings, to ensure that the coming “seven generations” would survive.
So when a tribe severs the ancestors’ so-called “down line” of lineal descendants,the ancestors are essentially disenrolled—or dismembered—too. The seven generations are severed.
What offending tribes fail to fully appreciate is that along with the jettisoned ancestors go the tribe’s legitimate ties to aboriginal lands, sacred sites, time-honored rites, and so much more that makes the tribe tribal.
Indeed, to disenroll is to cut off a tribe’s nose to spite its face. It is self-dismemberment.
Gabriel “Gabe” Galanda is the Managing Partner at Galanda Broadman, an American Indian law firm dedicated to defending Indian rights. He is a citizen of the Round Valley Indian Tribes. Gabe can be reached at 206.300.7801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.