Seattle: Indigenous People Protest Tribal Disenrollment

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Above Photo: Indigenous people from throughout Washington march through Seattle streets to protest tribal disenrollment. ALEX GARLAND

In February, a group of Seattle-based indigenous activists launched an online campaign against tribal disenrollment, the process by which tribal governments eject their own members. The Stop Disenrollment movement has been publishing images of Native people with messages against these actions ever since. Today, many of these activists will march in Westlake Park at noon.

The march carries quite a bit of local meaning. In March, the Nooksack tribal council, which has been trying to disenroll 306 of its own members since 2012, abruptly disbarred the 306’s lawyer, Gabriel Galanda.

Galanda, a Native American lawyer who operates out of Wedgwood, has gained national recognition because of his activism against disenrollment and his defense of the Nooksack 306. He’s also posted an image of himself on the Stop Disenrollment website with an image of the slashed word “fascism” on his hand.

The Westlake march will also feature a speech from Snoqualmie Tribe chairwoman Carolyn Lubenau. Lubenau was once exiled by her own tribe in a controversial 2008 decision that sought to disenroll as many as 60 members of the Snoqualmie Tribe—a decision that also coincided with the opening of the Snoqualmie Casino just half an hour outside of Seattle.

A Native youth dances as the Sacred Water family sings traditional songs at Westlake Park. ALEX GARLAND

A Native youth dances as the Sacred Water family sings traditional songs at Westlake Park. ALEX GARLAND

Robert Upham, originally from Montana, speaks to the crowd with passion about the realities of disenrollment to tribal members. ALEX GARLAND

Robert Upham, originally from Montana, speaks to the crowd with passion about the realities of disenrollment to tribal members. ALEX GARLAND

Native youth march through Seattle holding signs in support of Nooksack 306 tribal members. ALEX GARLAND

Native youth march through Seattle holding signs in support of Nooksack 306 tribal members. ALEX GARLAND