Grand Ronde ancestor Ida Altringer, as Grand Ronde parade royalty

Grand Ronde Disenrollment Reversed by Tribal Court


“We belong at Grand Ronde.”

Those were just a few of the words Russell Wilkinson, spokesperson for the Tumulth descendants, said following the Friday decision by the Grand Ronde Tribal Court of Appeals to reverse the mass disenrollment of 66 living lineal descendants of Chief Tumulth, signatory of the 1855 Treaty with the Kalapuya – establishing the Grand Ronde Reservation.

“This ruling is incredible news that we hope sets a new precedent for not only our tribe but also for all tribes engaged in the self-destructive practice of disenrollment,” Wilkinson said. “This is the first ruling in our case that was issued by Native judges—and that made the difference.”

“This is a watershed decision for all of Indian country,” remarked the Tumulth descendants’ lead lawyer and outspoken disenrollment critic Gabriel S. Galanda. “Longtime tribal members can take comfort in this opinion—it protects them against a belated, politically motivated assault on their existence.”

The Chief Tumulth descendants were classified as “provisionally disenrolled” Grand Ronde members in July of 2014, which stripped them of almost all their tribal rights, including voting rights in the Grand Ronde elections. A three-judge Court of Appeals panel restored the 66 descendants as full tribal members.

The descendants now hope full status will be restored immediately allowing them to voting in the upcoming tribal council elections set for September 10, 2016.

One drawback in the decision is that the Appeals Court ruled on technical grounds that the “heirs, next-of-kin and lineal descendants” of six deceased Grand Ronde members who were posthumously disenrolled without notice in 2014 could not challenge on the deceased’s behalf according to Grand Ronde law.

Some of the family members buried in the Grand Ronde Cemetery are military veterans, and have their names inscribed on the Grand Ronde Veterans’ memorial. One of them, Ida Altringer, was once recognized as Grand Ronde parade royalty.

“While we remain devastated for our ancestors,” Wilkinson said, “and it is unfathomable that they have been disenrolled from the next life, we are overjoyed and blessed that our disenrollments have been resolved in a fair and just way.

“It’s finally official.”

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