Seattle Councilperson Deborah Juarez
Published February 1, 2016
Disenrollment is tantamount to relinquishment of my Birthright. But unlike relinquishment of parental rights, disenrollment is based on no fault of my own.
Disenrollment is a decision to steal from me my own Creator-given DNA, my spark, my own gift. I understand.
Because, as an Indian Mother who gave up an Indian Son, it feels eerily reminiscent of a day 39 years ago.
He was there. Then taken from my arms. Then gone. I never again had any say.
Disenrollment is like a unilateral politically motivated divorce or forced adoption. It is like a relinquishment of parental rights, yet with no due process.
Your Birthright is there. Then taken. Then gone. Never again do you have any say.
Disenrollment is not sovereignty.
That’s like the South saying slavery was a “state’s rights issue”; a “sovereignty issue.”
No. Absolutely not.
Tribal Councils do not own my Birthright. It is not their property to acquire or extinguish.
Likewise, it is not the providence of the federal government to assign me a number and remind my children and me that we exist at their pleasure and discretion.
Disenrollment is an abhorrent form of “paper slavery.”
Debora Juarez is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation. Her Indian name is ‘Nah Too Yii Mis’Stuckie,’ which means Holy Mountain Woman. She is the first Native American citizen elected to the Seattle City Council.