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Nooksack

Nooksack tribal police stand outside the courthouse during a disenrollment hearing in 2013.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

"Brother, brother, I need your help." 

That was the first thing Gabe Galanda heard when he picked up his phone four years ago. The women on the other end was a member of the Nooksack 306, a group the Nooksack Tribe has been working to disenroll.

Courtesy of Angel Rabang

This weekend’s tribal council election on the Nooksack reservation near Bellingham leaves an uncertain future for hundreds of its members. The tribe has sought to remove about 15 percent of its people in what would be the largest tribal disenrollment in Washington state’s history.

KUOW Photo/Meghan Walker

Members of the Nooksack tribe near Bellingham will cast votes in a high-stakes election this Saturday. The outcome could change the fate for hundreds of members facing disenrollment from the tribe.

This membership controversy within the Nooksack Tribe surfaced about a year ago. The tribal council questioned the ancestry of 306 members, about 15 percent of the tribe, and moved to disenroll them.

Nooksack tribal police stand outside the courthouse during a disenrollment hearing in 2013.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

It's a frosty morning at the Nooksack tribal courthouse in Deming, Wash., and caution tape and tribal police block the entrance.

KUOW Photo/Meghan Walker

A group gathered in downtown Seattle on Friday to protest the potential disenrollment of hundreds of Nooksack members from their tribe. If it goes forward, it would likely be the largest tribal disenrollment in Washington history.

Courtesy of Angel Rabang

Hundreds of members of the Nooksack Tribe near Bellingham won a temporary victory Wednesday. Hearings were scheduled to start this week to potentially expel 306 members from the tribe, but a ruling from the Nooksack Court of Appeals has halted the proceeding for now.