Stop the involuntary disenrollment process started by adopted Nooksack member and Tribal Chairman Bob Kelly and his faction against 306 enrolled members of the Nooksack Indian Tribe.
We proudly descend from Annie George, who was of 100% Nooksack blood and of Nooksack ancestry. We are all of Nooksack ancestry and we all possess ¼ degree Indian blood as per Article II, Section (h) of the Nooksack Constitution.
In 1996, the Nooksack Tribe’s lawyer, Thomas P. Schlosser, Esq., wrote an opinion that makes clear that “the descendants of Annie George James qualify under other sections of the Constitution, in particular the category in Article II, section 1(H), that ‘encompasses ‘persons who possess at least 1/4th degree Indian blood and who can prove Nooksack ancestry to any degree.’” The Tribal Council now chooses to ignore that opinion.
It is disgusting that Annie George and other Nooksack Ancestors who are no longer on this earth, are now being disrespected and accused of being non-Indian. It is not the Nooksack way to speak ill of the dead. It is especially not our way to make hateful attacks against the Ancestors.
Many Nooksack Ancestors married Filipino migrant farm and cannery workers during the Great Depression, in order to survive. We are both Filipino and Nooksack, by blood and ancestry, and proudly so. We are not a “Filipino Gang” as the Tribal Council and its supporters suggest. We are a family. Like every family, we have our problems. But those problems do not make us non-Nooksack. And those problems most certainly do not justify our termination as Tribal members.
This is a gross attempt to rid our Tribe of its Filipino blood and ancestry. This is cultural genocide. This is ethnic cleaning. This is simply hateful. This is not right. Other Nooksack families of mixed race may be next.
The bigotry of Bob Kelly – who too has problems having resigned from the Whatcom County Council in scandal and as a known batterer of Indian women – is even more incomprehensible given that Bob Kelly is an adopted member of our Tribe with not one drop of Nooksack blood.
On February 13, 2012, during a Nooksack Tribal Council Special Meeting called by Bob Kelly, he illegally ordered the exclusion of two Tribal Councilpersons, and illegally spoke at length in support of a motion to disenroll the 306 tribal members. That motion passed unanimously by the five Councilpersons named above, who simply did what Bob Kelly illegally told them to do.
Meanwhile, Bob Kelly has illegally refused to call Nooksack Tribal General Meetings in February and March, so he can keep his and his Tribal Council faction’s decision-making insulates from Tribal public comment. In the ultimate abuse of his power as Chairman, Bob Kelly has stifled Nooksack democracy in order to carry out the termination of 306 members.
Bob Kelly has repeatedly violated the Nooksack Constitution, as well as Nooksack customary law, including his sworn duty as Nooksack Chairman. Four of those other Councilpersons have yet to even take their oath to serve on the Council, in violation of Tribal law. All six of those Councilpersons have exposed themselves to personal liability, and they have exposed the Tribe to the type of infighting that destroys tribal communities – the type of infighting that non-Indian critics of tribes and tribal sovereignty exploit to suggest tribes should be terminated.
This Nooksack Tribe-wide crisis is being fueled by a misuse of power, greed, bigotry and family vengeance, by a handful of people who are being lead by an adopted Tribal member and known bigot and misogynist. What makes this even more disturbing is the fact that our corrupt Tribal leaders are attempting to hide behind tribal sovereignty, which they plan to use as a shield to protect them against any accountability and due punishment. This cannot stand.
Although this petition is about only the Nooksack Tribe’s struggle and is not a petition that concerns any other peoples, you can still help support our cause. Please help us send a clear message that the public is watching and aware of the Tribal Council corruption and gross misuse of power that is tearing the Nooksack Tribe apart at the seams. Although they have done wrong it is not too late for Bob Kelly and his Tribal Council faction to rise above their hate and do right by all of the Nooksack People.