One of our young people drafted a letter to those on the Indian Affairs Committee. Feel free to adapt it for your use. It would be a good idea to send it to your representatives.
I am writing because you are on the Indian Affairs Committee. I am one of thousands of Indians have been kicked out of our tribes since the advent of Indian Gaming. The majority of eliminated people come from tribes that have Casino's. The issues tend to simply mathmatecal, less members equates to a bigger per capita check. 250 of us, or 25% of our tribe, have been removed from the tribal. rolls with no due process, resulting in the loss of civil right, voting rights, health care and our rightful per capita. Additionally, we have lost education assistance for our children, especially for those who went to school on the reservation. When the tribe removed our families and the children who went to school, they sent members of the tribe to escort the children out of the school, saying that they werent to come back to school tomorrow because they are not Pechanga. CHILDREN! Who have only known their whole life that they are Pechanga. To put it mildly, many tears have been shed over the loss of the our tribe, our identity, and more importantly for the children their friends and their school.
My ancestor is Paulina Hunter and I am from the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of Temecula, California. In my family's case, 90 members, who can prove our lineage, in fact, Pechanga proved it with their own expert, were disenrolled. We have hundreds of certified documents saying that we are Pechanga. Certifed documents that have come from both State and Federal Government that proves our case.
Being kicked out was simply about money, our tribe payed out money to its members, called per capita. Since our family and another has been removed the money to members has increased from $250,000, to upwards of $350,000. We have dead buried in the Tribal cemetery who DIED knowing that they were Pechanga. My Aunt died knowing she was Pechanga. When she was buried, in the cemetary the Tribal Chairman helped bury her, saying that SHE was Pechanga and set a great example for all Pechanga's Members. Make no mistake, we can and have proved our lineage. The tribe hired the foremost expert, John Johnson, in California who stated in a 12 page letter to the tribe, "based on the preponderance of evidence that my ancestor, Paulina Hunter, was in fact Pechanga"! They refused to consider the evidence that they had payed for. We had members of our Tribal Council fall asleep during our meeting with them. Members of the committee also had a bias over land that we were given by the government over 100 years ago, including the Tribal Chairman, Mark Macarro.
This hasn't happened to just our family. To others on other reservations, such as the Cherokee Nation. Assemblymember Diane Watson has gotten involved since that tribe has kicked out 2,800 members who were black, and forcing an investigation into their lineage. She has spoken out for the Cherokee Freedman's and has recently come under scrutiny for doing so. The United Native America has filed a congressional ethics complaint against her. This level of scrutiny shows one thing, that right thing has yet to be done in this matter.
Now California is voting on compacts that would expand gaming in California, rewarding Illegal actions taken by the band. The ones that were just held up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Governor likes the Compact because it will bring money to the state. But, the compacts reward the tribes for civil rights violations. Is that what we want our government to support in our own country?
Our Family has set up a blog for ours and many others around the country, Please take the time to look at what has come out over the last few months. The address is: http://originalpechanga.blogspot.com
It's past time for the government to get involved here. I'm asking for your help in looking into this matter and in coming to a decision that supports all the citizens civil rights in this matter