DEMING, Wash. - After a three-year fight, the Nooksack Tribe in northwestern Washington state says it has booted 289 people off its membership rolls - but a lawyer for those who were purportedly disenrolled says they're not going anywhere.
Tribal Council Chairman Bob Kelley said in a news release Wednesday that the 289 were "non-Indians who had erroneously been enrolled in the Tribe" beginning in 1983 and that they shouldn't be entitled to tribal rights or benefits.
The long-running efforts by the tribe to kick the group out included some unusual maneuvers, including firing a judge who ruled against the Tribal Council and banning the group's lawyers from appearing in tribal court.
Gabe Galanda, a lawyer for the 289, says the tribe's announcement Wednesday is meaningless. The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has said it won't recognize the disenrollments because the Tribal Council lacked a quorum.
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