Deron Marquez, Ph.D., former Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, delivered the keynote address at a powerful inter-tribal conference, "Historic Trauma: Healing the Future."
The conference was held in Southern California, where disenrollment has always burned the hottest. As Ramona Band of Cahuilla Indians Chairman Joseph Hamilton explained recently:
In Southern California, where my tribe calls home, disenrollment is common, in part because of big gaming revenues and internal power struggles. It is also a symptom of the breakdown of traditional tribal power structures. Simply put, some tribal leaders listen to lawyers instead of elders.
The conference location---in the middle of So. Cal. Indian Country---was itself powerful.
The conference was hosted by the Riverside-San Bernadino-Riverside County Health, which dovetails beautifully with the recent Resolution and published studies by the Association of American Indian Physicians.
Last year, the Association disavowed disenrollment and the resulting loss of cultural identity, which "leads to grief, depression, anxiety and more serious mental health problems [for] American Indian and Alaska Native people."
Gabe Galanda is the managing lawyer of Galanda Broadman, PLLC, an American Indian-owned law firm with office in Seattle and Yakima, Washington and Bend, Oregon. Gabe descends from the Nomlaki and Concow Tribes, belonging to the Round Valley Indian Confederation.