Robert Edwards is no longer an Indian. At least not according to his own tribe.
Edwards and about 70 other members of Butte County's Enterprise Rancheria were disenrolled -- essentially voted out -- by the tribal government during a bitter power struggle three years ago.
Never mind that Edwards' great-grandmother was a full-blooded Maidu. As nations unto themselves, tribes are free to decide who belongs and who doesn't...
Stories such as Edwards' are not uncommon. Over the past decade, more than 2,000 American Indians have been booted from their tribes, said John Gomez Jr., a disenrolled Pechanga member in Temecula, Riverside County.
Politics and greed, said Gomez, who earlier this year founded the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization to advocate for disenrolled Indians. He said it's sometimes easier for a tribe to simply banish a disaffected member than to deal with the criticism. Also, fewer members mean larger shares of casino profits for those who remain.
Glenda Nelson, Enterprise tribal chairwoman, said the disenrollments aren't about avarice. She said that maintaining tribal unity is a motivating factor. (emphasis mine--Darren)
No dissent allowed. I'll remember that. Socialism and lack of dissent whilst raking in the bucks from a protected monopoly, these indians are no doubt the icons of the American left. So much for the "noble" part.
As sovereign nations, tribes generally can't be sued, and the U.S. government usually considers membership disputes to be internal tribal matters.
So here's where our federalism went!