Carole Goldberg

Good Native Governance Plenary 1: Innovations in Law

Producer
UCLA School of Law
Year

UCLA School of Law "Good Native Governance" conference presenters, panelists and participants Carole E. Goldberg, Matthew L.M. Fletcher, and Kristen A. Carpenter discuss law and the issues that Native nations deal with. Goldberg explains the recommendations of the Indian Law and Order Commission and the implications for good Native governance. Matthew talks about tribal disruption in the United States as a good thing. Discussing her work with Angela Riley, Carpenter presents on international human rights and the indigenous rights movement. 

This video resource is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Goldberg, Carole. "Innovations in Law." Good Native Governance: Innovative Research in Law, Education, and Economic Development Conference. University of California Los Angeles School of Law, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, March 7, 2014. Presentation.  

Fletcher, Matthew. "Innovations in Law." Good Native Governance: Innovative Research in Law, Education, and Economic Development Conference. University of California Los Angeles School of Law, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, March 7, 2014. Presentation.

Carpenter, Kristen A. "Innovations in Law." Good Native Governance: Innovative Research in Law, Education, and Economic Development Conference. University of California Los Angeles School of Law, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, March 7, 2014. Presentation.

Native Leaders and Scholars: Citizens Versus Members: Some Food for Thought

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Native Leaders and scholars discuss the pervasive role that terminology plays in conceptions of Native nation sovereignty and citizenship, comparing and contrasting the terms "member" and "citizen" and discussing the origins of the term "member" in Native nations' definitions of who is to be considered part of them.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Goldberg, Carole. "Designing Tribal Citizenship." Tribal Constitutions seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. April 3, 2013. Presentation.

Tatum, Melissa L. "Constitutions and Constitutional Reform - Day 2 (Q&A)." Tribal Constitutions seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. April 4, 2013. Q&A session.

Timeche, Joan. "The Process of Constitutional Reform: Key Issues and Cases to Consider." Tribal Constitutions seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. May 2, 2012. Presentation.

Carole Goldberg:

“You’ve often seen the word 'membership' used in lieu of 'citizenship.' The term 'membership' harkens back to something that Chairman Rocky Barrett of Citizen Potawatomi said in one of the earlier presentations you saw here today. There was in the development of tribal constitutions through the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 a view of tribes as, in some respects, corporate entities that would have boards and members. There was also a view of tribes as something akin to private associations or even clubs that would have members. The terminology of 'citizenship' evokes sovereignty and nationhood. I think it’s become more common for Native nations to use the terminology of 'citizenship,' but any constitution has to have, as you heard earlier, the legitimacy and acceptance of the people whose government it is and the terminology will have to fit comfortably for whatever community that is.”

Melissa L. Tatum:

“Tribes need to consciously claim the language of sovereignty when they’re reforming their government, and that means using separation of powers if it’s appropriate, if it’s a cultural fit, adopting some other means of allocating responsibility and government functions depending on the tribe. But it also means being conscious of how certain words and phrases are viewed by other governments. For example, the three that I often use as examples are in the United States, tribes talk about 'membership' and who’s a 'member' of a tribe. But private clubs have memberships, country clubs have memberships, governments have 'citizens.' So we should be talking about citizenship and who are citizens of the government. One of the things that’s used a lot -- I work a lot with tribal courts -- there’s a movement to develop tribal common law, or it’s sometimes called ‘custom and tradition’ and then when lawyers, Anglo-American lawyers, hear this phrase ‘custom and tradition,’ they’re like, ‘Oh, how quaint. Custom and tradition.’ But yet if you look at the definition of Anglo-American 'common law,' it’s the norms of society. That’s what custom and tradition is. So simply instead of talking about custom and tradition, talking about common law triggers a different response in outsiders, even though it’s the same thing internally. But the other example I use, since I work a lot in the tribal courts and the criminal justice system, is in the United States there’s been some discussion in recent years about ‘banishment’ and about tribes using banishment. But every government on this planet has a method of removing people who misbehave from their society. It’s just usually called ‘deportation.’ And so we need to be conscious of the words we use and the labels we put on things, because words do have power and do have meaning and we need to be conscious not only of internal fit, but how those words are received by the outside world, too…One thing that I’m very concerned [about] from my perspective as an Indian law scholar is when the word ‘member,’ and ‘tribal member,’ started being used frequently in the U.S. Supreme Court opinions, that’s when the court started drastically reducing tribal authority over its own territory, and it’s the only time the Supreme Court has really started consistently reducing the authority of a government over its territory, is by introducing this word ‘member’ frequently into the dialogue, and so that’s one of my concerns, too.”

Joan Timeche:

“I was fortunate in that I was able to be raised in Hopi values that we’re to be self-sustaining, contributing members, citizens of our society and that we as individuals, we have responsibilities. Yes, we have rights, but with those rights come responsibilities. And I think that sometimes we take those things for granted, they’re not written, they’re taught to us by our parents, our elders, our grandparents and our societies that we may be part of. Those are all engrained in us and we don’t necessarily see it on paper, and we forget that it’s there because we’re bombarded by everything coming at us from all sides, and just the world as it’s changing, quickly changing every day. So I think that if you think about some of the message that Regis [Pecos] was sharing with us yesterday, it’s going back and taking that time to find out and remember and reinforce or reiterate, ‘Who are we? What do we believe in? What are our core values and who bears that responsibility to do that?’ Because nobody is going to do this for us except us. It’s going to be me, it’s going to be people individually in my family. Each one of us bears that responsibility, and so we may write them in our constitution -- that was one of the proposed revisions in the Hopi constitution, this latest version, is to include an extensive list of a Bill of Rights. But there was no mention whatsoever about what our responsibilities were as individual citizens. So I think that’s something -- I would really like to see that being added to my constitution.”

Carole Goldberg: Internal Considerations in Redefining Citizenship

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Scholar Carole Goldberg discusses the internal considerations that Native nations should ponder when deciding whether and how to change their citizenship criteria.

Resource Type
Citation

Goldberg, Carole. "Internal Considerations in Redefining Citizenship." Tribal Constitutions seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. April 3, 2013. Presentation.

"So what are some of the things to think about from within your own community?

Well, as we’ve said many times already in this brief amount of time this morning, constitutions need to have legitimacy within your community, which means they have to have continuity within the values and beliefs within your community. That’s not to say that those are static, that they never change, but there must be some organic sense that this reflects our community. So what does your community understand to be the expectation for someone to belong to that community? There’s a lot that’s been written by people in my academic world about whether kinship and descendants and blood quantum are new constructs for tribal citizenship that don’t really fit historical ways of understanding, of belonging for tribal communities. And they point to the fact that hundreds of years ago individuals who were not biologically related to members of a community might be incorporated through a variety of means -- through marriage, through captivity in warfare, through political alliances. For a lot of reasons people might be brought into a community even though they’re not biologically related. So why should native nations today care about descendants?

Well, I think there is an argument to be made that kinship has always been a fundamental component of belonging in tribal communities and how outsiders were viewed 200 or 300 years ago may not be the same way that outsiders would be viewed today. There is not the same concern 200 or 300 years ago about being overwhelmed by a population of immigrant colonizers from across the ocean. That wasn’t an issue 200 or 300 years ago and so maintaining some expectation of kinship may very well accord with foundational beliefs in a community. How that kinship is understood is going to vary from place to place, blood quantum may or may not capture that, but the idea that kinship matters I think is something to be considered from an internal perspective.

At the same time, another important consideration is going to be maintaining numbers, I suggest, and maximizing political impact. So I’ve worked with a number of native nations, and you heard from some even earlier today, who were concerned about reductions in their citizenship numbers over time if they maintain very high percentage descendance requirements.

One interesting example is the Otoe Missouria of Oklahoma, who just a few years ago reduced their percentage descendance requirement from one-fourth to one-eighth. And here’s what their leaders had to say. They said that, ‘Before the change there were about 1,400 enrolled members and only 129 of them were below the age of 18.’ Today, since they changed their requirements there are over 2,500 members, 479 of those are minors and what the chair said at that time, this was announced two years ago, is that, ‘The future of the tribe is more secure both physically and financially.’ The chair noted that a majority of the departments and services offered through the tribes are funded by grants and the higher the number of tribal members served by the grant, it means that the grant funding is generally higher. So there are many political, financial and other reasons. The chair also said, ‘Our tribe has gotten younger. A majority of our new members are younger people. This ensures a strong future for the Otoe Missouria Tribe. With a larger membership we should be able to obtain additional funds from government agencies and maintain and pass on strong traditional values to the growing tribal membership.’ So this was some of the thinking behind increasing the numbers by decreasing descendants’ requirements.

At the same time, Native nations have been concerned that if they expand their citizenship numbers too greatly, they may jeopardize cultural cohesion and they may be jeopardizing those who have shown their loyalty over time by maintaining affiliation. How do you at the same time sustain your numbers over time and at the same time not disburse your citizenship so widely that you lose connection to your home community. You saw from the depiction of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, with their 27,000, how widespread their population is. How do you ensure that you don’t have a citizenship so large that the people are not vested in protecting their land and their home community? So that’s another issue to consider. And protecting the tribal land base is going to be very important, because if you have lots and lots of citizens who do not reside or feel a connection to that land base, you may very well be in a position where the majority of your citizens are willing to see it despoiled because it will provide benefits to folks who are not present. And that is a danger that one must anticipate in thinking about the design of citizenship and related provisions.

Do you want to secure future generations? What I’ve heard so often in working with Native nations on their citizenship provisions is they want to make sure that their future generations are not left out, that they are able to pass on that tradition and culture and they are able to pass on that sense of belonging. And finally, I want to make sure that I mention, because I’m a lawyer, sorry, that you want citizenship provisions that are not going to be too complicated. You want ones that are not going to turn into huge arguments over time about what they mean.

Okay. So the last thing I’m going to talk about before I let you move onto the next presentation is what are some of the design options that you can be thinking about to try to balance some of these, especially these internal considerations, because sometimes they point in opposing directions and you have to be able to accommodate them. So one thing to be keeping in mind is that citizenship and voting provisions can be considered to some degree on separate tracks. You have to be very careful that you not have classes of citizens. We all know that there  until 1919 women were citizens of the United States, but they could not vote. And certainly those in the 18- to 21-year-old range who were being drafted in Vietnam were pretty unhappy that although they were citizens they could not vote on whether they were even going to be involved in a war. So that there is a powerful force that moves towards the convergence of citizenship and voting, but still there are ways to design voting provisions so that you can both expand numbers and at the same time protect your core community and land.

So one of the ways you could do it is you could say, ‘Fine, everybody who’s a citizen can vote, but you must be living in the tribal community in order to have voting privileges.’ In other words, anybody is entitled to come and live there so anybody who makes that choice can be a voting member. That way you can be ensured that those who actually make the decisions are the ones who are invested in that community. Or you could simply say, ‘No absentee voting,’ meaning that you have to really care about this community in order to vote and make the journey. 'Come on voting day, but we will not let you sit in the comfort of your home in Anchorage and vote for what’s going to happen in Citizen Potawatomi.' Or what you could do is what Citizen Potawatomi and Cherokee Nation have done, both of them places with large off reservation populations, and in the case of Cherokee Nation even contested whether there is a reservation, and what they’ve said is, ‘We are going to structure our voting by districts. There will be districts within our territory and then we will construct districts outside our territory that will not have an equal voice, but they will have a voice.’ So the Cherokee Nation actually created a bunch of districts within their territory and then they said, ‘There is a separate voting district that will elect a representative for the off-reservation Cherokees.’ And that way they are not excluded, but they are not given overwhelming influence. Two other suggestions for design that can help you start to accommodate some of these considerations. One is the idea of the right of return and this idea is the idea that anyone who is a lineal descendant would have special privileges to become a citizen if they so chose. So they would have to make an active effort. They would not automatically as a lineal descendant be a citizen, but they would have to make the affirmative effort to affiliate and if they did they would be allowed to do so. It’s not that they would have to be subject to someone else’s decision about it, but they would still have to make the active choice. That way you can ensure that there is some real connection that that person has to the community.

And finally, you can think about doing what Fort Peck did back in the 1980s. They created a category that they called associate members and these were people who were given the belonging to the community because they had members by their title, but it was specifically presented that they would not be voting members and they would not be entitled to the distribution of tribal assets. So these were folks who had a lesser percentage of descendance or blood quantum, but they still were descendants of the nation. They just didn’t qualify for the percentage required under their constitution.

What I want to emphasize is that there are a lot of choices available, in theory. That doesn’t mean that all of these choices are available just because they sound intriguing. You have the hard work, the hard work of political process and I’ve worked with communities that have tried to develop consensus on what should be the criteria for belonging. It’s not easy."

Jill Doerfler and Carole Goldberg: Key Things a Constitution Should Address: Who Are We and How Do We Know? (Q&A)

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Presenters Jill Doerfler and Carole Goldberg field questions from seminar participants about the various criteria that Native Nations are using to define citizenship, and some of the implications that specific criteria present.

Resource Type
Citation

Doerfler, Jill and Carole Goldberg. "Key Things a Constitution Should Address: Who Are We and How Do We Know?" Tribal Constitutions seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. April 3, 2013. Q&A Session.

Mike Burgess:

Mike Burgess from Pawnee Nation College. My question is to both either yourself Jill [Doerfler] or Dr. [Carole] Goldberg. In your research and findings, had there been any discussion on consolidation of tribal blood quantum and make it all one tribe?"

Carole Goldberg:

"By consolidation, you mean looking at people who have blood quantum from a variety of different tribes?"

Mike Burgess:

"If a member is not enough of your blood quantum, but they have more than enough to be a quarter blood, half-blood, even full-blood Indian, which is happening to a lot of our children in Oklahoma, they're full-blood Indian, but can't get on any roll."

Carole Goldberg:

"Right."

Mike Burgess:

"So if you're consolidating that and you recognize them as a member of your tribe and make them full-bloods or half-bloods, just your tribe only. Have any tribes approached that?"

Carole Goldberg:

"Not only have tribes proposed that, but I have actually seen it in some of the constitutions in California tribes where it may well be, for example, there are so many Pomo tribes in northern California. And you may not have descendance from this particular Pomo tribe, but in times past there was all kinds of intermarriage and kinship relations. And so the view of some of these tribes is as long as you're hypothetically one-fourth is from some Pomo tribe, they'll make you a member of this particular tribe so long as you don't also try to become a member of some other tribe. It's definitely being done. I wouldn't say it's widespread, but it's definitely being done."

Mike Burgess:

"Thank you."

Robert Hershey (moderator):

"It is. It is in a number of constitutions and membership ordinances that if you are a member of another tribe you cannot be a member of this particular tribe that you're trying to be included in. So that is something you'd have to look at either through your constitution or your membership ordinance and to change if that's the result you wanted. Yes, sir."

Ray Louden:

"Hi. I'm Ray Louden with Red Lake. This is for White Earth. How is the new constitution with White Earth going to affect the constitution with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and then is the ultimate goal then for the White Earth Nation to be removed from...?"

Jill Doerfler:

"The White Earth Nation has tried for many, many years to engage the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe in constitutional reform at the level of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and those efforts have not been fruitful. As I said, we've had efforts at White Earth for 30 years and we've tried to engage the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe throughout that time. Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has always -- well, I don't...not always -- they've had for a long, long time had a standing committee on constitutional reform. No actual action has come out of that committee for many years, and so ultimately White Earth citizens felt that we need to move on our own. It's unclear what will happen with regard to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, whether White Earth will still participate or how the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe will react to us having our own constitution."

Robert Hershey:

"Thank you. You're Red Lake, yes? Yeah. We have time for two more questions right now, the speakers at the microphones then we'll break for lunch. I want to make an announcement about lunch in just a minute. Yes."

Stephanie Cobenais:

"My name's Stephanie Cobenais from Red Lake. What are you deciding on how...what's going to be a descendant on your referendum stuff? What is it?"

Jill Doerfler:

"We haven't identified a base roll yet, which needs to happen. We sort of worked under the presumption that we'd use our current roll, but that isn't 100 percent clear. So a descendant would be somebody descended from a roll that will need to be identified."

Robert Hershey:

"Thank you. Yes, sir."

Audience member:

"How many tribal members do you have enrolled in your tribe?"

Jill Doerfler:

"Excuse me?"

Audience member:

"How many tribal members do you have on your rolls?"

Jill Doerfler:

"We have about 20,000 citizens right now."

Audience member:

"Wow, that's quite a bit. Yeah, we have 900 enrolled tribal members in our tribe but due to our blood quantum it doesn't allow...a lot of our tribal member...a lot of family members to be enrolled. I have a granddaughter that's six tribes. She has six tribal...she's six tribes anyway right now and she couldn't get enrolled with my tribe so she went to one of the other tribes that she represents and then she got enrolled there. But it was kind of a sad deal. But I liked your presentation and I like the way that you guys dealt with the lineal part and I think we got a lot of good ideas out of that and it made me think a lot, too, about our lineal part because here in Arizona...I know tribes here in Arizona it's a lot different here. I have family members from a lot of different tribes here from Arizona that...even some of these guys like, I'm Tonto Apache, I'm related to these guys over here. I'm related to a lot of people in the San Carlos Apache Tribe. And we have other tribes too like Yavapai, other Yavapais up north. My father is a northern Yavapai and his clan still exists. It's still up there. And then I'm also half, I'm a southern Yavapai too. So there's a lot of this stuff going on here in Arizona, it's like a big melting pot. I see a lot of that, but I saw a lot of good ideas in your presentation that really stood out to me and I think we're going to probably take some of that home to our tribe and just try to present it to our people and see what they think about it. I just want to thank you for your presentation."

Jill Doerfler:

"Well, [Anishinaabe language] thank you to you. That's wonderful to hear. I didn't have time...I'll just make one brief comment. I am not a demographer, I'm more the historian/literature-type person, but the tribe did hire a demographer to do a population study and even though...sometimes it sounds like 20,000 is a lot of people, but we are going to soon be reaching a stage where we just have an aging population at White Earth. Our death rate is going to be outpacing our birth rate and we're going to be moving towards declining numbers and so that's also motivating factor. Even though it seems like we're big, we're still really feeling a lot of impacts of blood quantum."

Robert Hershey:

"Thank you. Carole."

Carole Goldberg:

"There's just one brief observation that I wanted to make. For a very good reason we don't have members of the outside press here but if they were, I think they might be very interested in the fact that the word gaming actually has not appeared in any of these presentations about enrollment because there is such a misconception out there that is driving all of this discussion and it's really not, as I think we've seen..."

Robert Hershey:

"Can you share some of the experiences in your community of what you're dealing with regarding identity, membership, citizenship? Why do we have this distinction between "˜membership' and "˜citizenship'? What does "˜membership' mean to you? What does "˜citizenship' mean to you? These are some of the questions you're going to be dealing with when you...I could call on my students. Can I call on a member of the Pascua Yaqui Nation's council to...sorry, Robert, because you brought it up at lunchtime. There's an issue within your constitution that is kind of contrary to the membership rules that you've set out. Is this something that you feel like that you're going to have to attend to? Is the Pascua Yaqui Council going to have to attend to dealing with some of the divergent issues or the irreconcilable positions within a constitution?"

Robert Valencia:

"There's two things that affect our tribe and our current constitution. One is our tribe was very instrumental in the Law and Order Act, getting that together, but our constitution still is what it is and we...that gives us a one-year limitation on the sentencing and I think it was $5,000 on fines and such, and the other is the Membership Act. Our tribe has been...was recognized in 1978, recognized again in 1994, and with this membership bill it's something that in order to do what we want to because it's in the constitution, it was in the Act, we would have to change that. So those are the two pressing issues that we have, among others."

Robert Hershey:

"Thank you very much. But the reason I asked you to speak to this was because there was a contradiction in the constitution as to what the nation wanted to do with regard to its membership. It went to Congress. Now some of you may have, not the IRA [Indian Reorganization Act] tribes here, but you may have also some other federal act that has designated you into the federal recognition and the acknowledgement process, too. So those types of things are unique where you can get congressional acts to go ahead instead of going through the whole formal process amending the constitution and the Pascua Yaqui Nation has been successful in that regard."

Robert Valencia:

"That's right. Initially the Act establishing the tribe did say that we had to have a constitution and initially it was supposed to be in 1980. We didn't have one until about 1988 and we haven't changed it or modified it since that time."

Robert Hershey:

"Thank you very much. Kevin, we've been looking for you."

Kevin Dupuis:

"I have a question for White Earth and as being a former tribal executive committee member I can understand what you're saying and as a reservation business committee member now, the question I have, if the constitution is done with White Earth, is there a point where the tribal executive committee of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has to approve or disapprove that constitution? And the concern I have is this -- that if an individual reservation in the consolidation of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe writes their own constitution, do they become separated from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe because the question I would have to that, if they have their own constitution they could not represent the membership of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe [as] their tribal executive committee member. Because our constitution that exists now, whether it be right, wrong, indifferent, it's the only document we have, and the concern with is if it can't be followed now, how is this going to go with the constitution coming from White Earth?"

Jill Doerfler:

"Right. We're definitely in new legal territory when it comes to the White Earth constitution and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe constitution and these are questions that we'll have to be exploring, especially this summer in consultation both with MCT staff attorneys as well as TEC members, White Earth attorneys and White Earth tribal council and exploring how can the MCT accommodate in some way. Can White Earth have its own constitution and can other MCT nations have their own constitution and still participate in the MCT in some way. Is that possible? These are sort of questions that we need to be working on answers to."

Kevin Dupuis:

"I understand it and I agree with you, just simple principle of federalism. It was discussed years ago in 2004 and I think all the way to 2006 that the tribe already has its own constitution, can we delegate that authority to the individual reservations to write their own constitution and be under the umbrella of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe? My concern is this, if you follow a constitution that you write under White Earth and White Earth adopts that, even through the principal referendum I need to ask myself as a tribal member, because I'm not enrolled in Fond du Lac. We're all enrolled in the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Our enrollment papers go to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, not the individual reservations."

Jill Doerfler:

"Correct."

Kevin Dupuis:

"So an action like this, I'm asking at that point, you finish your constitution, it goes through a referendum vote with your people on White Earth. Is there a separation from White Earth from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, because I can't see White Earth representing members of the tribe anymore if they have their own constitution."

Jill Doerfler:

"It will depend on what actions MCT wants to take. If MCT does nothing, that may be your question. If MCT does nothing, does White Earth essentially then separate? I would say the answer to that is most likely yes, but I'm not an attorney and I'm not here to give legal comment on that. These are issues that we're working on exploring."

Kevin Dupuis:

"Okay. Thank you."

Robert Hershey:

"If I may add something too. It implicates some other issues as well. One of the issues is, what is the Minnesota Chippewa constitution, the nations that are involved in it, is it a Secretarial approval constitution, to do amendments?"

Jill Doerfler:

"Yeah."

Robert Hershey:

"So even though there's a referendum, it doesn't automatically result in a new constitution if the new constitution and the...then you have to call for a Secretarial election, and so then there's a whole process that has to be put to the voters. Then that's also going to go ahead and implicate. Whether or not this becomes an example to the other nations or not as to whether they want to go ahead and adopt a new form of constitution, it could be very exemplary in that regard. And there are situations where in constitutions...the Tohono O'odham Nation for one, Hopi Tribe for another, that they have separate and distinct powers that like the districts here on the O'odham Reservation have their own sense. The Hopi constitution allows for the villages to establish their own constitutions as well. So this could be a number of ways to go ahead and satisfy some of the concerns that you were raising there and at the same time allow for that kind of semi-independence or quasi-independence and it could be a united affiliation of nations with separate and distinct constitutions. It could be an example to go ahead and formulate one type of a constitution if that's the way the people go. But it still is going to require after a referendum, it still is going to require a petition to the Secretary of the Interior to go ahead and have a Secretarial election."

Jill Doerfler:

"I should maybe clarify that our referendum, the plan is to proceed with that referendum via a Secretarial election."

Robert Hershey:

"Yes, please."

Pamela Mott:

"My name is Pamela Mott and I'm from the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. At lunchtime we sat with Navajo and the other Yavapai tribe and to our question who we are and how do we know, it all came down to a Creation story, "˜cause we all know people sitting here where we come from, how we were taught. The time I grew up, I grew up with a bunch of elders so everybody that I came with, we know who we are and where we're from, but when federal government came and gave us those IRA constitutions that we have today, we have to start changing and identifying ourselves. And I think one of the things at our table that we kind of agree with and I brought up was that when you brought up maximizing your numbers and talking about political, it had a concern to me as a Native American woman "˜cause we're raised like family and we take care of one another. I was wondering, it's so hard for me to understand why other tribes would make one tribal member less important than another one when you said you put restrictions on somebody living off the rez versus someone living on, because a lot of times we don't have the wherewithal to have jobs for educated tribal members and they have to go somewhere else to work or they have to go out of state to work. I have to use my family as an example. I have a nephew that's a doctor in mechanical engineering. There's no job for him on my little reservation, so he has to go. What makes him less of an important tribal member than somebody back home that doesn't have an education but is there working? And I think when you guys teach, as professors when you teach this to people or other Native students that are in your classes, every tribe is different, we're all different, so some of those things I think need to be brought out because I'm a leader for my tribe and when I have to go to [Washington] D.C. and fight for Native American rights or fight for...big one is gaming and you said gaming didn't come up. It is coming up because that's what we're fighting against now but a lot of the things stem...why would you want to make one person less than another when the way we were brought up we had to take care of everybody within the community? And there were adoptions. I know Navajo had talked about some adoptions they had and it depended on your history. If you took slaves in...we weren't mean people. We took care of those people, unlike when they brought the slaves. I understood back east the slaves were more happy to live with the Indians than they were with the non-Indians because they were treated better, they were incorporated as families and that's how we're brought up. So that was one of the things I think our table agreed with, it was kind of hard for me to understand why if there were tribes out there, why would you make somebody different than another based on whether you live within the reservation, whether you don't live in the reservation, because we get a lot of feedback from the people that don't live within my community because they're educated and they tell us, "˜This is what we're doing out here. How can you incorporate with the businesses on the reservation to help us be successful?' And those are some of the things I think that was brought up at our table and I wanted to share that. So I think when you guys are teaching you need to know that. A lot of it comes from our heart and family. We're not like the regular outside non-Indians because a lot of them, they just move. It's easy for them to get up and move one state to another and not have contact with their family members. It's not like that for us. We're always contacting somebody. My sister...I may not...she lives on the same reservation and she lives a hop, skip and a jump from me, but I call her every day or I go see her every other day or something and my children live...I have a son in Oklahoma and he calls me every single day just to let me know how he's doing, how we're talking. So a lot of times you guys don't incorporate that in your teaching, and I think...coming from us now maybe you guys need to start doing that or understanding the tribes."

Carole Goldberg:

"Thank you very much. Actually, I live in Los Angeles. My husband's tribe is in North Dakota, so I'm actually very familiar with the situation of living far away from one's home community. There are places where issues arise involving resource extraction. So there are places where there is a lot of potential money to be made by things like strip mining or various other forms of resource extraction. It has in some places created some tensions, not that people don't care about folks who live far away, not that people don't want to take care of them or stay in touch with them, but just plain old worries that the temptation to do things in the territory might be too great if you don't live there and so that's the source of the tensions that I was referring to over what do you do about folks who live in a place and want to make sure that it's not ruined by various forms of environmental strains and people who live far away and may not experience that. And that...but the variation is tremendous and there are places where that is not an issue and where there are not concerns about treating folks differently. What I was trying to do was give you some sense of the tremendous variety of issues that exist out there and only you can know whether those matter to your own community."

Robert Hershey:

"I'm going to add one thing here, too, just before and this was brought up at our lunch table with my students and they're very passionate about this as well. And if I may just digress just briefly into a little history lesson. Back in Jamestown Colonies with...we hear about Pocahontas, but we don't hear much about her father, which is Powhatan, who was the leader of a number of tidewater tribes in that region. During the treaty ceremonies that would go back and forth whether or not the attempted colonists would be allowed to stay there, there was a ceremony where the English wanted to put a crown on his head and they wanted him just to bend down a little bit so they could put the crown on his head. So the English were taking that as that he was declaring fealty to the crown of England. Now he wasn't thinking that. He was thinking that he was extending his empire. And what I heard from the woman that just spoke, and I thank you for those comments very, very much, is that those educated, those people that are off the reservation, they're contributing and they're bringing things back to your community. So it's very, very interesting how you can extend your empire out there and it doesn't just have to be that people living within a particular area, that's determinative, but it's about those relationships and those contributions that can be far and wide. So that was just something, so I appreciate those comments of what you said. Thank you. Sorry for the history lesson, it's just law professors."

Steve Cornell:

"Steve Cornell from the University of Arizona. For Carole Goldberg, Carole I was just wondering if you had any experience with tribes that are dealing with citizens who live outside U.S. borders with nations that were split by the border. Obviously it's a huge issue right here in southern Arizona with the Tohono O'odham people. There are Yaqui people south in Mexico, but it's also an issue for Mohawks, for some of the Blackfeet Confederacy and others, and have you seen any constitutions that directly try to address the citizenship of people who through no fault of their own are living on the other side of the U.S. border?"

Carole Goldberg:

"I actually have, because one of the communities that I've worked with is the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians in northeastern Maine and a number of the people from the Houlton community, the Maliseet people are actually living in Canada and it is interesting to note that over time the international border has had the impact on communities or it can have the impact of creating a sense of division that would not have existed had that international border not been introduced. And this is a topic that required a lot of internal dialogue within this community. Are they really a part of us? Even though the kinship relations were pretty obvious, the language, the cultural tradition were common but there was this bit of unease about whether...first of all whether there was something that would be viewed wrong by outsiders of including these "˜foreigners,' I use that in quotes, as part of our tribe and there was also again this sense that there had been some separation over the years. And there was at the end of the day I think more receptivity to saying, "˜These are part of our families, these are part of our culture and community and we shouldn't arbitrarily say that they're outside because they're in another country'. But it was a very hard discussion."

Carole Goldberg: Designing Tribal Citizenship

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Scholar Carole Goldberg shares what she's learned about citizenship criteria from her extensive work with Native nations across the country, and sets forth the internal and external considerations that Native nations need to wrestle with in determining what their citizenship criteria should be.

Resource Type
Citation

Goldberg, Carole. "Designing Tribal Citizenship." Tribal Constitutions seminar. Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. April 3, 2013. Presentation.

"Thank you very much for that introduction. I've already extended my thanks to the Native Nations Institute for inviting me here. I also want to extend my thanks to the Pascua Yaqui people for hosting this very informative event.

I'm going to be talking about tribal 'citizenship' -- that already raises questions about terminology. You've often seen the word 'membership' used in lieu of 'citizenship.' The term 'membership' harkens back to something that Chairman Rocky Barrett of Citizen Potawatomi said in one of the earlier presentations you saw here today. There was in the development of tribal constitutions through the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 a view of tribes as, in some respects, corporate entities that would have boards and members. There was also a view of tribes as something akin to private associations or even clubs that would have members. The terminology of 'citizenship' evokes sovereignty and nationhood. I think it's become more common for Native nations to use the terminology of 'citizenship,' but any constitution has to have, as you heard earlier, the legitimacy and acceptance of the people whose government it is and the terminology will have to fit comfortably for whatever community that is.

I want to make one other preliminary point and that is about citizenship and constitutions, because many nations that don't even have constitutions will have citizenship or enrollment provisions in their tribal laws. So what difference does it make to have it in a constitution as opposed to having it in a code or an ordinance? We've heard constitutions described as fundamental law, which they surely are. One of the characteristics of fundamental law in general is that it is more difficult to change. So if you want to have the citizenship or membership provisions for your government to be more stable, less subject to change with political variation over time, then you will want to have it locked into your constitution.

Now there are many different ways your constitution can specify how difficult or easy it is to change the constitution. I come from California, where it is actually really easy to change our state constitution. As a consequence of that, we've had some fairly zany provisions in our constitution, but I will also say that I do not think we would have tribal gaming today in California were it not for the fact that it is relatively easy to modify the constitution of the State of California. By contrast, the constitution of the United States is really, really difficult to change and we've been stuck as the United States nation with some very old -- and, I would argue, antiquated -- provisions in our constitution precisely because it's so difficult to change.

So when you think about putting a citizenship provision in your constitution, also be thinking about how easy or difficult it is to change your constitution. You might want to allocate some of the authority over citizenship to your lawmaking process apart from your constitution precisely because that may be easier to change over time. So that's just kind of preliminary and a more global set of considerations to think about.

So you've heard already about the considerable variety of tribal constitutions both in times past and in the present day, notwithstanding the unifying force of the Indian Reorganization Act. There's still quite a bit of variation and that variation can be seen in the range of citizenship provisions that exist in tribal constitutions. I have given you a list of some of the more typical forms of citizenship provisions that you can see with examples afterwards of Native nations where those kinds of provisions can be found. So you can find citizenship provisions that rely on lineal descendants from a base roll or list. So anyone who can trace ancestry to a person who is on that list would be someone who could qualify for tribal citizenship. And the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is a good example of that. As you know, there is quite a bit of legal controversy over which lists, but the descendants from lists is the foundation for citizenship there.

There is also quite a bit of tribal constitution making that includes what I'm calling here minimum percent of tribal or Indian descendance, often referred to as blood quantum. And the percentage can vary from very high to very minimal, but some percentage would be specified and in some citizenship provisions the percentage of descendance can actually vary depending on the person's other descendants. So there are actually tribal constitutions in California that say that the minimum descendance requirement from that particular tribe is less if the remainder of your descendance is from another California tribe or in some instances from another federally recognized tribe. And that is a recognition of the fact that there are sometimes rather arbitrary divisions that the United States imposed when treaties were made or reservations were established and they wound up breaking up communities that had previously been unified. And so sometimes the constitution provisions say that if you come from one of our sibling or related tribal communities, you don't have to have as much descendance from our tribe, but if you're a total outsider then you must have the higher minimum descendance. So that's another array of possibilities.

There are yet other Native nations that specify that in addition to descendance, whether it's lineal or percentage, that you must also have your descendants be through your father's or your mother's line and we've got examples on both sides because there are matrilineal and patrilineal traditions in many Native nations and I've given examples of Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico where it is patrilineal and the Seneca Nation of Indians in New York where it is actually through your mother's line.

Still another form of citizenship provision focuses not just on descendance, but where your parents were living at the time you were born, and this has to do in many instances with places like California where reservations were assemblages of peoples from that general area who had been scattered even though they weren't all part of a single community, but they were gathered together on a single reservation. So the place mattered a lot. So in order to be a member for example of the Tule River Indian Tribe in California, you must be born to parents who are living on the reservation. As you can imagine, this creates a huge premium on being able to live there and when your population grows and you don't have more places for people to live, it puts a lot of pressure on your citizenship rule. This by the way was a type of provision that was favored by the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the time of the Indian Reorganization Act in the 1930s.

And the last example I'll give in this list -- and I'm confident that I'm not exhaustive and there may be other examples you can all point me to -- but are provisions for citizenship by adoption or in the international sense we would call it naturalization. How do you become a citizen when you were not born as one? And here the variations are very great. So there are places like Nez Perce in Idaho where anyone can be adopted or naturalized as a citizen of the tribe. You don't have to have any other prerequisites other than the tribe is willing to have you. But there are other places where naturalization is limited, maybe limited to people who are not eligible for citizenship because they don't have a sufficient percentage of descendance or blood quantum or you might have to be a member of some other federally recognized tribe and give up that other citizenship in order to be adopted. Or you might have to be related to an existing citizen of the tribe. There are many variations that one can have and again, the process for adoption or naturalization is going to matter a lot if you have one of these provisions, because the process can make it extremely difficult or it can facilitate the adoption or naturalization of people into the tribe.

So there are all these choices out there. That doesn't mean that you can just put them all in a hat and pick one and say, ‘Okay, this one's ours,' or just deliberate for a little while and say, ‘Oh, this one sounds right.' There are a lot of important considerations that are going to go into thinking about which kind of citizenship provision matters and you're going to get a very specific case of those deliberations, but let me try in a more abstract way or general fashion to suggest what some of these considerations might be. So I'm going to divide them into external and internal. And by the way, I think the internal are more important, but the external are not irrelevant.

So do you have to worry about direct federal controls? My answer here is no. The federal government through the United States Supreme Court decisions through the pronouncement of the Bureau of Indian Affairs says, ‘We're totally hands off.' Now, does that mean they're totally hands off? No, it does not. They find ways to insinuate themselves. In the past, it was because if you had an Indian Reorganization Act constitution, the Secretary of the Interior had to approve the constitution. So they used that leverage to strongly recommend, if I may say as an understatement, that certain kinds of provisions be in there, and that's how places like Tule River were strongly encouraged to include these requirements that the parents be living there at the time the child is born. And the BIA's interest was in keeping tribal citizenship numbers low because the BIA was concerned about the burden on the federal government because certain financial benefits were to be distributed to tribal members. The federal government also gets involved in situations where there are contests over whether a particular tribal government should be recognized for dealing on a government-to-government basis and this is how the federal government has become embroiled in all the controversies at the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. But in general, this is your decision. The federal government should not be dictating and if they try they should be resisted.

There are however, some indirect ways in which the federal government has some influence on the choices you make. So to the extent that federal benefits and the applicability of federal laws turn on tribal citizenship, it will matter greatly how you define that citizenship. The federal government has increasingly made its laws turn on citizenship rather than on your descendants as a Native person and the reason they've done that is because they are fearful that they will be carrying out racially discriminatory legislation if they do otherwise. I would argue that they're not, but that's another story. My point is that for things like applicability of the Indian Child Welfare Act, can you have control over your children? Your citizenship provisions are going to make a huge difference because the law only applies to children who are members or eligible for membership. And there are many other benefits -- employment with the preferences within the Bureau of Indian Affairs, federal benefits for scholarships and other forms of federal disbursements that will turn on citizenship.

A second area where it can matter a lot is in the authority of a government to carry out its powers, so for purposes of criminal jurisdiction not only by the tribe, but by the federal government it will matter whether someone is enrolled. Now for federal criminal jurisdiction purposes, there's actually a little bit more leeway even if you're not formally enrolled. If you're recognized by the community as belonging there, the federal government rather than the state may have authority if some wrongful act is committed, but that's a very fuzzy area and it's a whole lot more secure to get out from under the authority of the state if a person is a tribal citizen. And these days, now the recent reauthorization of the VAWA act may make it less relevant for some purposes, but still for quite a few purposes, if the tribe wants to exercise its authority, both criminal and civil, it's going to be a lot easier to defend that in outside courts if someone is a tribal member. So there are other ways in which the federal government does this indirectly, but I'm going to move onto the more internal matters because I think these are the ones that deserve the most attention. So what are some of the things to think about from within your own community?

Well, as we've said many times already in this brief amount of time this morning, constitutions need to have legitimacy within your community, which means they have to have continuity within the values and beliefs within your community. That's not to say that those are static, that they never change, but there must be some organic sense that this reflects our community. So what does your community understand to be the expectation for someone to belong to that community? There's a lot that's been written by people in my academic world about whether kinship and descendants and blood quantum are new constructs for tribal citizenship that don't really fit historical ways of understanding, of belonging for tribal communities. And they point to the fact that hundreds of years ago individuals who were not biologically related to members of a community might be incorporated through a variety of means -- through marriage, through captivity in warfare, through political alliances. For a lot of reasons people might be brought into a community even though they're not biologically related. So why should native nations today care about descendants?

Well, I think there is an argument to be made that kinship has always been a fundamental component of belonging in tribal communities and how outsiders were viewed 200 or 300 years ago may not be the same way that outsiders would be viewed today. There is not the same concern 200 or 300 years ago about being overwhelmed by a population of immigrant colonizers from across the ocean. That wasn't an issue 200 or 300 years ago and so maintaining some expectation of kinship may very well accord with foundational beliefs in a community. How that kinship is understood is going to vary from place to place, blood quantum may or may not capture that, but the idea that kinship matters I think is something to be considered from an internal perspective.

At the same time, another important consideration is going to be maintaining numbers, I suggest, and maximizing political impact. So I've worked with a number of native nations, and you heard from some even earlier today, who were concerned about reductions in their citizenship numbers over time if they maintain very high percentage descendants requirements.

One interesting example is the Otoe Missouria of Oklahoma, who just a few years ago reduced their percentage descendants requirement from one-fourth to one-eighth. And here's what their leaders had to say. They said that, ‘Before the change there were about 1,400 enrolled members and only 129 of them were below the age of 18.' Today, since they changed their requirements there are over 2,500 members, 479 of those are minors and what the chair said at that time, this was announced two years ago, is that, ‘The future of the tribe is more secure both physically and financially.' The chair noted that a majority of the departments and services offered through the tribes are funded by grants and the higher the number of tribal members served by the grant, it means that the grant funding is generally higher. So there are many political, financial and other reasons. The chair also said, ‘Our tribe has gotten younger. A majority of our new members are younger people. This ensures a strong future for the Otoe Missouria Tribe. With a larger membership we should be able to obtain additional funds from government agencies and maintain and pass on strong traditional values to the growing tribal membership.' So this was some of the thinking behind increasing the numbers by decreasing descendants' requirements.

At the same time, Native nations have been concerned that if they expand their citizenship numbers too greatly, they may jeopardize cultural cohesion and they may be jeopardizing those who have shown their loyalty over time by maintaining affiliation. How do you at the same time sustain your numbers over time and at the same time not disburse your citizenship so widely that you lose connection to your home community. You saw from the depiction of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, with their 27,000, how widespread their population is. How do you ensure that you don't have a citizenship so large that the people are not vested in protecting their land and their home community? So that's another issue to consider. And protecting the tribal land base is going to be very important, because if you have lots and lots of citizens who do not reside or feel a connection to that land base, you may very well be in a position where the majority of your citizens are willing to see it despoiled because it will provide benefits to folks who are not present. And that is a danger that one must anticipate in thinking about the design of citizenship and related provisions.

Do you want to secure future generations? What I've heard so often in working with Native nations on their citizenship provisions is they want to make sure that their future generations are not left out, that they are able to pass on that tradition and culture and they are able to pass on that sense of belonging. And finally, I want to make sure that I mention, because I'm a lawyer, sorry, that you want citizenship provisions that are not going to be too complicated. You want ones that are not going to turn into huge arguments over time about what they mean. Okay.

So the last thing I'm going to talk about before I let you move onto the next presentation is what are some of the design options that you can be thinking about to try to balance some of these, especially these internal considerations, because sometimes they point in opposing directions and you have to be able to accommodate them. So one thing to be keeping in mind is that citizenship and voting provisions can be considered to some degree on separate tracks. You have to be very careful that you not have classes of citizens. We all know that there... until 1919 women were citizens of the United States, but they could not vote. And certainly those in the 18- to 21-year-old range who were being drafted in Vietnam were pretty unhappy that although they were citizens they could not vote on whether they were even going to be involved in a war. So that there is a powerful force that moves towards the convergence of citizenship and voting, but still there are ways to design voting provisions so that you can both expand numbers and at the same time protect your core community and land.

So one of the ways you could do it is you could say, ‘Fine, everybody who's a citizen can vote, but you must be living in the tribal community in order to have voting privileges.' In other words, anybody is entitled to come and live there so anybody who makes that choice can be a voting member. That way you can be ensured that those who actually make the decisions are the ones who are invested in that community. Or you could simply say, ‘No absentee voting,' meaning that you have to really care about this community in order to vote and make the journey. 'Come on voting day, but we will not let you sit in the comfort of your home in Anchorage and vote for what's going to happen in Citizen Potawatomi.' Or what you could do is what Citizen Potawatomi and Cherokee Nation have done, both of them places with large off reservation populations, and in the case of Cherokee Nation even contested whether there is a reservation, and what they've said is, ‘We are going to structure our voting by districts. There will be districts within our territory and then we will construct districts outside our territory that will not have an equal voice, but they will have a voice.' So the Cherokee Nation actually created a bunch of districts within their territory and then they said, ‘There is a separate voting district that will elect a representative for the off-reservation Cherokees.' And that way they are not excluded, but they are not given overwhelming influence.

Two other suggestions for design that can help you start to accommodate some of these considerations. One is the idea of the right of return and this idea is the idea that anyone who is a lineal descendant would have special privileges to become a citizen if they so chose. So they would have to make an active effort. They would not automatically as a lineal descendent be a citizen, but they would have to make the affirmative effort to affiliate and if they did they would be allowed to do so. It's not that they would have to be subject to someone else's decision about it, but they would still have to make the active choice. That way you can ensure that there is some real connection that that person has to the community.

And finally, you can think about doing what Fort Peck did back in the 1980s. They created a category that they called associate members and these were people who were given the...belonging to the community because they had members by their title, but it was specifically presented that they would not be voting members and they would not be entitled to the distribution of tribal assets. So these were folks who had a lesser percentage of descendance or blood quantum, but they still were descendants of the nation. They just didn't qualify for the percentage required under their constitution.

What I want to emphasize is that there are a lot of choices available, in theory. That doesn't mean that all of these choices are available just because they sound intriguing. You have the hard work, the hard work of political process and I've worked with communities that have tried to develop consensus on what should be the criteria for belonging. It's not easy. They did everything from holding coloring contests for the preschoolers in order to get the parents involved, to surveying the elders, to holding meeting after meeting after meeting. There was somebody on that screen who said, ‘This is not a three year maybe not even a six year process.' It takes time and commitment, but the possibilities are there. Thank you.

Members Only? Designing Citizenship Requirements for Indian Nations

Year

Indian nations' constitutional reform efforts encounter some of their most paralyzing conflicts over criteria for membership. Three years ago, I initiated a Tribal Legal Development Clinic at UCLA, whose purpose has been to assist Indian nations in building their legal infrastructures. This Clinic has provided free consulting and drafting services to Indian nations seeking to establish or modify tribal constitutions, codes, or justice systems. As the Clinic embarked on several constitution drafting and revision projects, controversies over membership -- or citizenship as we preferred to call it -- readily and regularly went from negotiable differences among tribal participants to heated stalemate or irresolvable conundrum...

Resource Type
Citation

Goldberg, Carole. "Members Only? Designing Citizenship Requirements for Indian Nations." University of Kansas Law Review. Volume 50. 2001, 2002. Paper. (http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/ukalr50&div=21&g_sen..., accessed October 30, 2013)