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California Indian Tribe Expels 154 Members


Pala Tribe Expulsion

— The Pala Indian tribe in Northern San Diego County has expelled 154 of its members, who now stand to lose out on a hefty share of the tribe's casino profits.

The tribal council made the decision Wednesday.

The North County Times reports that the 154 people account for roughly 15 percent of the tribe's population. They will no longer receive $150,000 in annual payments that members get from the tribe's casino.

Doug Elmets, the tribe's spokesman, would not say why the members were kicked out. He did say they could appeal the decision. But he said the tribe had the right to determine its own members.

Pala Indian Reservation

The Pala reservation in north San Diego County, CA.

"The Supreme Court has held, and it is the law of the land, that Native American tribes have the ability to decide what constitutes and who constitutes their membership," he said. Elmets declined to be recorded for broadcast.

It isn't the first time the Pala tribe has kicked members out. The tribe expelled eight people last June, saying they didn't possess at least 1/16th Pala Indian blood, the minimum so-called "blood quantum" required for membership, according to previous reports.

Tribes have disenrolled members for generations, but expulsions have become more common nationwide as tribes have reaped profits from casinos that must be split among members.

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