The Chukchansi Tribe is once again slimming down its membership rolls in a controversial move that is seeing dozens of people ousted from the tribe.
The backstory: Last year over 60 members were kicked out of the tribe, which was followed up by another 49 members who were disenrolled last month.
- It’s the latest controversy for the tribe in the last decade. In 2015 the federal government temporarily shut down Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino after a tribal dispute turned violent.
The big picture: Recently over 60 members received notices that they will be removed from the tribe.
- The decision is based on a common ancestor who they all share and claim eligibility through: Jack Roan.
- The tribe claims that Roan was not actually of Chukchansi blood, making them ineligible by the tribe’s constitution.
- Roan, according to the tribe, is actually of Pohoneechee Indian blood, a band of Miwok Indians native to California.
- Over a decade ago the tribe attempted to remove some of Roan’s descendants from the rolls but was unsuccessful. According to a report from McClatchy, those individuals were able to prove that Roan was of Chukchansi blood.
Why it matters: A smaller tribal roll would mean a higher monthly check from the casino earnings for the remaining members.
- Last year the tribe had around 1,800 members before the disenrollments started.
- The casino reportedly brought in nearly $44 million in revenue last year.
What they’re saying: Attorney David Dehnert, who represents many of the members who were disenrolled or have recently received notice of disenrollment, told McClatchy that the Chukchansi Tribe’s actions are egregious.
- “It’s deplorable what they are doing to their own people,” Dehnert said. “They should be taking care of their people.”