Having completed the written comment period over the proposed change to the tribal enrollment policy, the Council will have a discussion session for tribal citizens on July 8th at 1pm at the Cohanzick Tribal Grounds to report on its findings from the written comments and address questions regarding the proposed change and comments.
The purpose of this proposed change to our enrollment policy is to ensure the tribe’s future. Modern times have brought an acceleration of tribal citizens marrying outside of the tribe. Within a few generations, if we continue to only use the blood quantum standard as we have been in the past, the tribe could potentially shrink to extinction. This proposed change does not remove a blood quantum standard for those seeking citizenship as first generation applicants, but does allow those who are members of families with close relatives who are active in the tribe to have their citizenship application reviewed using the lineal descent standard.
The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation
Tribal Law No. 2017-03-18 (As Proposed)
Title: TRIBAL ENROLLMENT ACT OF 2017
Description: A Law clarifying the enrollment policy.
Be It Enacted by the Tribal Council of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation:
1a. As a sovereign indigenous American Indian Nation governed by a constitutional government, the Tribal Council (Council) of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation (Nation)is the legislative branch of the Nation and is empowered to enact laws in the interest and wellbeing of its citizens. The purpose of this act is to modify the blood quantum policy for tribal enrollment under the parameters of Article II of the Constitution and in accordance with Supreme Court Decision 2014-02-17 “Clarification of the Legal Requirements for Considering Applications for Enrolled Citizenship.”
1b. This law shall be known as the “Tribal Enrollment Act” and may be cited as such.
2a. Tribal enrollment shall be limited to those who are directly descended from the tribal base roll as determined by Supreme Court Decision 2014-02-17, which is made up of the Nanticoke and Lenape ancestors of the tribal families from the Nanticoke-Lenape communities of the Delaware & Chesapeake Bay Region, documented by the year 1900 A.D. and confirmed as such by the Committee on Tribal Citizenship.
2b. New applicants for enrollment who have no close blood relative on the tribal rolls, shall be considered “First Generation Applicants,” for whom a blood quantum of no less than twenty-five percent shall continue to be the minimum documented descendancy required.
2c. New applicants for enrollment who have a close blood relative on the tribal rolls shall only be required to provide evidence of lineal descent from the base roll.
2d. For the purpose of this requirement, a “close blood relative” shall be a parent, grandparent, aunt, great-aunt, uncle, or great-uncle by blood.
2e. For the purpose of calculating blood quantum of applicants for enrollment, those listed on the tribal base roll which is made up of the Nanticoke and Lenape ancestors of the tribal families from the Nanticoke-Lenape communities of the Delaware & Chesapeake Bay Region, documented by the year 1900 A.D. and confirmed as such by the Committee on Tribal Citizenship shall be considered “full bloods.”
3. Nothing in this law shall impact the tribal policy of adopted citizens, non-Native tribal dependents, or honorary status as protected by Article III of the Constitution and clarified by the Supreme Court.
This law clarifies the enrollment policy of the Nation. It allows for certain close blood relations of enrolled citizens to meet the descendancy requirement for enrollment based upon lineal descent from the base roll without regard to blood quantum, while still requiring that those with no recent generational connection to the Nation meet a minimal blood quantum of twenty-five percent. The intent is to ensure that the descendants of those who are enrolled in the Nation may also enroll, while still preserving a blood quantum status in regard to first generation applicants who may only have a distant historical connection to the ancestors of the Nation.