The speech discusses the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) and its implications on citizenship, specifically disenrollment. Prof. Wilkins discusses his view of “‘dismemberment’ as the act of cutting off a part of the tribal body—doing harm to both the politically discarded individual and the Nation itself—taking place behind the cloak of native sovereignty.”

The speech first provides a brief history of banishment within tribal communities followed by a discussion of federal Indian law and its impact on tribal banishment through a review of important federal Supreme Court cases as well as significant tribal court cases.

Second, the speech provides a cultural view of the impact of banishment on the individual as well as the tribal nation. Finally, the paper concludes with a critical analysis of why there has been an increase in disenrollments, the potential solution to this problem, and a discussion of the forward momentum some tribes have taken towards fixing the issue of disenrollment within their nations.


Professor David Wilkins presented this speech at the 50 Years of the Indian Civil Rights Act Symposium on March 9, 2018 at the Isleta Resort and Casino in Albuquerque, NM.

This Symposium was co-sponsored by the University of New Mexico School of Law, Law of Indigenous Peoples Program and the Tribal Law Journal. This is an edited transcript of Prof. Wilkins’ speech.



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