Tribal enrollment

Tribal Enrollment Department Director Richard Hoffman, right, and staff members Abel Cook and Valerie Yelloweyes, are working to increase the enrollment of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

SAN CARLOS — Under the direction of the appointed members of the Tribal Enrollment Committee — Peridot District Representatives Lula T. Dillon and Aurelia Rogers, Gilson Wash District Representatives Geraldine Kitcheyan and Henrietta Henry, Seven Mile Wash District Representatives Marthalene Polk and Lois R. Sprengler, and Bylas District Representative Elliot Talgo Sr., along with the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council, the San Carlos Apache tribal government is looking to increase its present enrollment of 15,393 tribal members.

“We wanted to work on increasing our tribal enrollment numbers because we found out that some children are not enrolled, especially at the beginning of the school year,” said Richard Hoffman, director of the Tribal Enrollment Department.

What’s been happening is parents and grandparents are discovering the children are not enrolled and thus not able to receive tribal assistance.

“We also wanted to keep up with the census count and make sure it is an accurate count because our neighboring counties within Graham and Gila receive funding based on tribal enrollment received from the U.S. Bureau of Census. Our tribe also receives funding based on our enrollment numbers,” Hoffman said.

“Another reason is to also protect our sovereignty through our enrollment, which the tribe has jurisdiction over. If our children or grandchildren are not enrolled with our tribe and they are taken away or kidnapped, then the tribe would not have jurisdiction over them because they are not enrolled unless there are applications that were turned in on their behalf, and the Tribal Council’s decision is pending on the applications submitted.”

Enrolling also helps the tribe maintain Apache genealogy, which helps members learn how to pronounce and spell their paternal and maternal clans.

The process to become a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe requires all applications to be signed by both parents, an original birth certificate (copies are not accepted), custody orders/guardianship signed by a judge to verify that the guardian is legally authorized to act on behalf of the minor applicant (powers of attorney are not acceptable), and a nonmember verification document from the nonmember parent’s tribe stating that the child is not enrolled with them and establish paternity if the child is born to an unwed mother. The mother can claim only half of the mother’s blood degree unless the father submits proof that paternity is acceptable.

Tribal Enrollment Code Section 11 — Adoption into the Tribe — was recently amended to state that the council may adopt an individual into the tribe on the recommendation of the Enrollment Committee, provided that the applicant possess at least one fourth degree of Indian blood, of which percentage shall include San Carlos Apache. Each individual adoption into membership shall be by resolution passed by unanimous vote of the council.

In considering applications for membership in the tribe through adoption, the Enrollment Committee must consider the following factors:

• If the applicant lives on the San Carlos Apache Reservation

• The applicant’s history of residence on the San Carlos Apache Reservation

• The applicant’s San Carlos Apache Indian blood quantum and that of other Indian tribes

• Whether the applicant can be identified as a member of a recognized Apache clan through matrilineal descendency

• The applicant’s familiarity with Apache language, ceremonies and culture

• Whether the applicant is married to an enrolled San Carlos Apache tribal member

The Tribal Enrollment Department may be reached at 928-475-2689 or by mail at the San Carlos Apache Tribe, Tribal Enrollment Department, P.O. Box 0, San Carlos, AZ 85550.

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