A Legal Victory for Tribal Citizens in a Fight Over Enrollment Decisions


Attorneys at mctlaw recently scored a significant victory for two citizens of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians in Wisconsin. Our clients, Scott Vele and Gregory Miller, brought a lawsuit in Tribal Court to challenge their Tribal Council’s method of making tribal membership/enrollment decisions over the past six years as being in violation of the Tribal Constitution’s blood quantum requirements. In a unanimous opinion by a panel of three tribal justices, the Tribal Court of Appeals ruled on September 22 that despite a motion to dismiss filed by the Tribal Council, our clients’ case should proceed to trial.

This appellate ruling is the fourth in a series of victories for Mr. Vele and Mr. Miller in this case. The Tribal Council has filed two motions to dismiss, both of which our clients defeated at the trial court level, and both of which our clients now have won on interlocutory appeal.

Mctlaw attorney Jeffrey Nelson said that with the motions to dismiss now defeated, he is looking forward to completing discovery. We have a motion to compel the production of enrollment files pending before the Tribal Court that can now be decided. We expect these documents to support claims by our client that certain members of the Tribal Council have been allegedly directing the secret altering of hundreds of tribal members’ ancestry records without consent, knowledge, or notice, and without evidence to support such alterations.”

Scott Vele, one of the Plaintiffs in this litigation, and a former Tribal Council member himself, said: “The current Tribal Council members have been violating this Nation’s Constitution for years and harming our true enrolled members. Now we can have our day in court! Mctlaw is a good friend of Indian Country.”

The Court of Appeals decision can be read here.

Jeffrey Nelson and Scott Vele
MCTLaw Sarasota office

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