Letter from Feds Released to a Few Tribal Members

On May 17, 2016, the federal government certified the April 6th election results where Isleta voters approved a constitutional amendment to lower the Isleta blood-quantum from one-half to one-quarter.

On May 18, 2016, Governor Eddie Paul Torres received the letter from the feds. (Note: The letter contains a date of receipt stamp of May 20th from the Governor’s Office, which is incorrect. Tribal officials received the letter on May 18th.)

On Tuesday, May 31, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. the Isleta Tribal Council began their meeting to discuss revising a plan to enroll quarter-bloods.

President Verna Teller and Barbara Sanchez were absent. Governor Eddie Paul Torres and Lt. Governor Isidor Abeita were also absent. (Teller arrived at 1:35 p.m.)

Approximately 20 tribal members were attending the meeting. During the discussion, Diane Piegler asked the Council why they were not releasing the letter from the feds to the Tribe. She stated that the Tribal Council should release the letter.

Betty Lente, Vice-President of the Council, then provided copies of the letter to tribal members in the audience.

To download a copy of the letter, click: May 17, 2016 Certification Election Results

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss concerns raised by JoAnne Rael, Terry Lente and attorney Helen Padilla on the enrollment of quarter-bloods.

On May 2nd, the Council approved a four (4) phase plan that would take the Enrollment and Census Office an estimated 7 1/2 years to enroll approximately 1400 quarter-bloods. The Council’s plan was based on where quarter-bloods lived.

In response, Rael, Lente and Padilla submitted suggestions on how the Council could enroll quarters promptly without discriminating against the quarters who do not live on the rez. Their letter raised concerns that the Council’s four (4) phase plan violated the equal protection clause contained in the Isleta Tribal Constitution and in the Indian Civil Rights Act.

To download copies of the documents that they submitted, click the following links:

May 20, 2016 Memo to Council from Rael, Lente & Padilla

Proposed Enrollment Plan

Enrollment Flowchart

Proposed Amendments to Enrollment Ordinance

Subscribe to Isleta Pueblo Politics for an upcoming article on the Council’s discussion to modify their initial plan to enroll quarter-bloods.

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