#StopDisenrollment Movement

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown February 9th, 2017 Last Updated on: February 9th, 2017

#StopDisenrollment is a grassroots visual advocacy movement that was created by Indigenous peoples. It first went viral last February and has gained lots of support from celebrities and regular folks in the Native community.

The #stopdisenrollment project might have launched a year ago, but disenrollment is still a big topic in Indian Country. Just last month The New York Times wrote an article about the Nooksack Tribe, asking just who gets to decide who is a Native American?

So what are they doing this year for the project? Celebrated Indian author Sherman Alexie is helping to headline this year's movement.

In addition to Alexie, the following prominent American Indians, are participating:

  • Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe Goudy
  • Seattle City Councilwoman Debora Juarez (Blackfeet)
  • Actor Solomon Trimble from the Twilight movie (Apache/Lakota/Creek/Ojibwe)
  • Washington State Senator John McCoy (Tulalip)
  • U.S.A. Gymnast Ashton Locklear (Lumbee)
  • Arkansas Law School Dean Stacy Leeds (Chickasaw)
  • Robinson Rancheria Tribal Chairman Eddie Crandell, Sr.
  • Coyote Valley Tribal Chairman Michael Hunter


From Press Release:

The participation of three Tribal Chairmen–two from California, the epicenter of disenrollment–is particularly powerful, given the reluctance of tribal leaders to take a stance on disenrollment for fear of being perceived as criticizing fellow tribes or leaders.  See Indian Country Today (“Unfortunately, nobody in tribal leader circles is willing to talk about it. Not at NCAI, not at NIGA…not anywhere.”)

Yurok Vice Chairwoman Sue Masten and Hoh River Vice Chairman Melvin John Ashue have also struck the #stopdisenrollment pose. Hundreds of other indigenous peoples, including other prominent American Indians, are expected to strike that pose by Wednesday, when the movement will again go viral via Facebook and other tribal social media.

The imagery and message of the inaugural campaign (see http://stopdisenrollment.com/) reverberated throughout Indian Country, with international and local mainstream and tribal media outlets covering that campaign and using that imagery to highlight disenrollment, including Al Jazeera (TV)High Country NewsSeattle TimesIndian Country TodayThe StrangerCrosscutIndianz.com, Powwows.com and the online indigenous activist community /r/IndianCountry (www.reddit.com/r/IndianCountry).

The #stopdisenrollment hashtag has since last year become prominent as an expression against disenrollment, with the New York Times recently reporting that as many as “9,000 people in 79 tribes across 20 states” having been jettisoned by their kin.  It remains the goal of the movement to have as many indigenous peoples express #stopdisenrollment, as there are disenrolled indigenous peoples.

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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Toni Eveningdawn Ehrlich

Toni “Eveningdawn”
I do not worry about disenrollment for me and my family as we have never been welcomed into the tribes of our ancestors because we were disenfranchised long ago when our family moved away from the reservation looking for a better life. But for those of our larger family, brothers and sisters of the land, I feel shame for the people in power who would turn away family. Now is the time for inclusion NOT exclusion. Where is your mind going? where is your heart? Your Grandfathers would be angry and feel shame for your actions. Money is in your eyes and has taken your soul. I will pray for you.


Yeah, know what you mean. Have been disenrolled by my tribes as well since I began to live away from them, speak another language and adopt to cultural practices other than theirs. Even though I’m a direct descendant I find that the Moravians, the Vikings, the Scots, the Welch, the English, the Irish, the Celts, the Frank’s, the Normans, the Angles, the Sacs, the Merovingians, the Romans, the Spanish, the North Africans, the Confederacy and the Cherokee have all disenrolled me from membership. Fortunately my current family of Japanese, Korean, and mixed American descendants still keep me lovingly enrolled so my life is full and I am thankful in spite of my loss of prior ancestries, cultural and tribal identities.

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