Tribal referendum asks Tribal Members to vote on proposed changes to enrollment requirements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tribal referendum set asking Tribal Members to vote on proposed changes to enrollment requirements
Voting will take place on February 15, 2019 at the Warm Springs Community Center.

Warm Springs, Ore. – Aug. 8, 2018 – A tribal referendum set for February 15, 2019 will ask Tribal members to vote on changes to the how blood quantum is determined for the purposes of automatic enrollment. Specifically the referendum will ask “Should Resolution 12,157 determining the blood quantum for the purpose of automatic enrollment be approved?”

In April 2016, the 26th Tribal Council adopted Resolution 12,157 which changed the rules for determining blood quantum for automatic enrollment by adding the 1980 census to the list of baseline census years for determining the Confederated Tribes blood quantum. Simnasho District Tribal Council representatives invoked Article VI of the Constitution and By-Laws to call for a tribal referendum on the resolution. The 27th Tribal Council approved a referendum date to seek input from Tribal membership on the proposed change.

Warm Springs Enrollment Ordinance 94 outlines the requirements for automatic enrollment and adoption. Currently, an individual is eligible for automatic enrollment if they have at least 1/4 of Confederated Tribes blood – Warm Springs, Wasco, or Paiute. Resolution No. 10,934 (Sep. 2008) also allows individuals to also consider blood quantum from neighboring Tribes based upon valid traditional kinship and ancestral ties that can be document and confirmed as traceable to legitimate treaty and pre-treaty family affiliation connected to the Warm Springs (Sahaptin or Ichiskin); Wasco, (Chinookan or Kiksht); and/or Paiute, (Shoshonean or Numu).

Individuals who do not meet the automatic 1/4 blood quantum requirement may get enrolled through the adoption process. To be eligible for adoption, individuals must have 1/8 blood quantum of Indian blood, descend from a current or former Tribal member, meet the residency requirement, not be enrolled in another Tribe, and receive the majority of the vote in an adoption referendum.

Recent tribal adoption referendums have failed for not meeting the required 50% voter participation requirement. This includes the June 13, 2016 referendum (987 votes of the required 1,600 votes) and May 15-16, 2007 referendum. The last adoption referendum to meet the 50% requirement occurred on October 16, 1996.

Tribal Council added the baseline census year concept for automatic enrollment purposes in 1975. Adding the census baseline meant that all applicants for enrollment would have blood quantum determined by examining the parent/grandparent whose name appears on the 1940 census. For those on the 1940 census list, all their Indian blood would be considered Confederated Tribes blood for the purposes of enrollment. Tribal Council later added the 1960 baseline for enrollment purposes in 2008.

For example, consider the child of a biological tribal member parent born in 1958 who was 1/4 Warm Springs, 1/4 Navajo, 1/4 Choctaw and 1/4 white and whose name appears on the 1960 census. Using only the 1940 census as the baseline, the child would only be 1/8 Confederated Tribes blood and not eligible for automatic enrollment. However, using the 1960 census as the baseline, the tribal member parent has a total of 3/4 Indian blood, all of which would be considered Confederated Tribes blood. Thus, the child could be automatically enrolled as having ¼ or more Confederated Tribes blood. The referendum asks Tribal voters to add the 1980 census to the list of baseline census years for determining the Confederated Tribes blood quantum.

The 27th Tribal Council approved the referendum well in advance of the February 15, 2019 date to ensure that Vital Stats had enough time to have voters update registration information and to mail out and receive ballots. Additional information will be provided in the coming weeks to assist Tribal members with making an informed vote.

Overview of Tribal enrollment changes

2016.04 – Resolution 12,157 provided policy clarification of amended Article III, Section 2(a) of the Constitution as follows: “In determining the quantum of blood of the Confederated Tribes for application for enrollment, all the Indian blood of enrollees of the Confederated Tribes as show on the census roll of the 1940, 1960, or 1980 shall be included as the blood of the Confederated Tribes.” Simnasho District representatives invoked Article VI of the Constitution and By-Laws to call for a tribal referendum on the resolution.

2008.09 – Resolution 10,934 provided for an expanded interpretation of Article III, Sections 1 and 2, specifically, “shall be interpreted to include the lawful and valid membership blood quantum from a member or former member of the Ichiskin (Sahaptin or Warm Springs), Kiksht (Chinook or Wasco) and/or Numu (Shoshonean or Pauite) People wherein a close ancestral affiliation can be documented and confirmed by formal Tribal Council action.”

2008.09 – Resolution 10,933 provided policy clarification of amended Article III, Section 2(a) of the Constitution as follows: “In determining the quantum of blood of the Confederated Tribes of an application for enrollment, all Indian blood of enrollees of the Confederated Tribes as show on the census roll of 1940 or 1960 shall be included as blood of the Confederated Tribes.”

1975.01 – Resolution 4,301 provided policy clarification of amended Article III, Section 2(a) of the Constitution as follows: “In determining the quantum of blood of the Confederated Tribes, all the Indian blood of enrollees of the Confederated Tribes as shown on the census roll of 1940 shall be included.”

1967.02 – Resolution 2,889 clarified 1/4 blood quantum requirement: “In determining the quantum of blood of the Confederated Tribes which the applicant has, only the Indian blood of the Confederated Tribes derived from an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon shall be included and no other.”

1938 – Constitution and By-Laws of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, Article III, Section 2(a) Membership of Descendants: “Every child of one-fourth or more Indian Blood born heretofore or hereafter to any member of the Confederated Tribes who maintains a residence upon the Warm Springs Reservation at the time of such birth shall automatically be entitled to membership.”