"It's just a Tribal membership dispute." (Plays #1 and 2 are exposed here and here.) Play #3—Cause a Tribal Membership Dispute. The bad guys know that if they style the Tribal leadership dispute as a membership dispute, nobody will touch it. They know that under banner of Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49 (1978), federal, state and local officials will simply say: “Sorry, the matter is internal to the Tribe. Tribes are sovereign and self-governing.”
The bad guys know that they can claim to disenroll any Tribal Councilperson or member who is not aligned with them, without suffering any legal recourse. They know that the federal and state courts will almost surely not get involved. They also know that they can denounce an Indian court as illegitimate and flout any Ex parte Young efforts to prospectively enjoin their “ethnic cleansing” efforts.
Tribal disenrollment is already at an “epidemic” level according to Professor David Wilkins; applying the Abramoff Playbook only accelerates the self-genocide.
Play #4—Rush to the Media. The bad guys hurry to create headlines that further cause folks in positions of power to stay out of it. The news stories they generate—through paid-for press releases via PRNewswire—will speak of “tribal disenrollment” and “tribal factions.”
They will allege some form of wrongdoing by their opponents, to the point of slander or libel. They understand that federal and state officials, cops and judges, as well as local community members and business leaders, will read the resulting headlines. In turn, those readers will fall back on preconceived ideas about what is happening within the Tribe, leading them to either pick the bad guys’ side or stay out of it completely.
Stay tuned for one more blog exposing Abramoff's Playbook.
Gabriel “Gabe” Galanda is the Managing Partner at Galanda Broadman. He is a citizen of the Round Valley Indian Tribes. Gabe can be reached at 206.300.7801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.