Harold, I'm just not convinced that tying Indian preference to formal Tribal enrollment is the right answer vis-a-vis university hiring, for several reasons. First, I think the court reached the right result in U.S. v. Keys, for example -- essentially, there's more to the "Indian status" question than formal enrollment in a federally-recognized Tribe. I, for one, would have a hard time telling members of the Grand River Band here in Michigan (where the Tribe is state-recognized) that they're, uh, not Indian, just because the Department of the Interior hasn't yet shifted its bureaucratic backside and acted on the Band's petition. Going back a few years, it'd have been an odd result for one Lac Vieux Desert Band member graduating high school when I did (in 1987) to have been ineligible for scholarship programs (for lack of "being Indian") whereas, say, his brother graduating the next year would've been. Beyond that, what do you do if you're a university, administering your hiring policies under the "Monteau Rule," when, say, Chukchansi calls the day after you interview Indian Candidate X, and tells you that Candidate X's entire family has just been disenrolled? What do you put in that rejection letter? "Sorry, Candidate X, but since your family's side lost the last Tribal election, I guess you're not Indian anymore -- if you're eligible for enrollment over at Table Mountain, let us know when you get signed up." That's no policy for a university to have. For that matter, the last time I checked, Cherokee doesn't have a minimum blood quantum -- if Liz Warren were to gain enrollment status tomorrow, does that mean that she's not a "fraud" anymore, or does it mean that she didn't commit any "fraud" in the first place? Oh, and for a real curveball, what if Liz' Cherokee ancestors were Freedmen? My point, I suppose, is that I disagree with your assertion that "... Universities just don't get it and would rather just... hir[e] the person claiming to be Indian..." I suspect they do "get it," and that they've opted to include more people with Indian heritage in their preference-based hiring programs/policies, rather than keeping out as many as possible. In terms of serving the real-life goals of those programs/policies, it's hard to argue with that rationale.
Thursday, June 21, 2012 - 19:18