Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Letter to Senator Barbara Boxer

Please copy and send to Senator

Dear Senator Boxer:

Please accept this letter as a formal request to meet and discuss regarding the ever growing number of human and civil rights violations occurring in California Indian Country. Specifically, I would like to provide you with information on this growing problem and propose possible solutions which would ensure that individuals are afforded equal protections of the laws.

Congress has passed several laws which were originally intended to stamp out lawlessness in Indian Country and provide the victims of human and civil rights abuses a means to protect and preserve those rights. For example, in 1968, Congress passed the Indian Civil Rights Act (“ICRA”). The ICRA was a federal statute which was intended to extend constitutional rights to individual Indians and thereby “protect individual Indians from arbitrary and unjust actions of tribal governments.”

However, the ICRA failed to include an effective enforcement mechanism whereby aggrieved individuals could hold the offending tribal government or official accountable for violations of the ICRA. And, in spite of the express prohibitions listed in the ICRA, tribal officials have oppressed a growing number of Indian and non-Indian individuals. Violations of the ICRA committed include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Denied individuals of due process.
2. Failed to provide equal protection of tribal, state, and federal laws.
3. Subjected individuals to ex post facto laws.

And, sadly enough, California Tribes such as the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, Enterprise Rancheria, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, the Jamul Indian Village , and Redding Rancheria--among numerous others--are leading the way.
The very circumstances which necessitated the ICRA’s introduction and enactment have once again taken root in Indian Country, and each day that passes finds more and more United States citizens being deprived of the basic human and civil rights provided for in the ICRA, the United States Constitution, and tribal laws.

Individuals are also being deprived of all the benefits and privileges afforded Federally Recognized Indians. These benefits and privileges include, but are not limited to, the ability to participate in tribal elections and tribal business; access to medical care; access to senior care; access to schooling and education assistance; access to health and life insurance benefits; and access to per capita distribution payments.

More importantly, their identity as members of federally recognized tribes—including their culture, heritage, and tradition--has been stolen even though their existence as legitimate Indian People can be undeniably verified through federal and tribal documents.

Now, more than in any time since the passage of the ICRA, Congress must exercise its plenary authority to protect the basic human and civil rights of individuals from the arbitrary and unjust actions of tribal officials. The continued and unabated abuses of Federal, State and Tribal laws by tribal officials show complete disregard for Congress’ desire and intent when passing the ICRA- to provide a means of redress to Indians aggrieved by tribal officials.

It is imperative that the basic rights of individuals be protected from further transgressions, and until such time these basic rights are recognized and upheld on par with those of other United States citizens, a growing number of individuals will be subjected to the same types of arbitrary and unjust acts Congress intended to outlaw decades ago.

I therefore respectfully request a meeting with you or a representative of your office to discuss the growing number of violations of human and civil rights which are occurring in California Indian Country. I will be eagerly awaiting a response.

Respectfully submitted,

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Native Hearts: Story From Pechanga

From: Paulina Hunter's blog

Native Hearts: Stories from Pechanga
Please READ and forward to all your Native friends.

From Native Angels Blog:

With all this disenrollment going on my Rez in Pechanga I've had many of my people from the tribe and surrounding tribes come and talk and give their support from one Native heart to another. It's amazing you know to see your own people that you were sure you knew through new eyes.
I think the worst part of what I've come to realize from my disenrollment is how few Native people can really see what has been taken from me. It's a shame so many of our people are being blinded by money.But what keeps me going are those of you feel my heartache like your own without me having to say a word.
Thats what I mean when I say Native heart, I've found I can see it in the eyes. Eyes that express emotions shared by Native hearts from a shared pain that runs so deep in our souls we've come to recognize one another by the fire it feeds. I must thank everyone of you who come to me no different then you ever have, and those who come right out and bring it up, or ask how my family is, and most of all, all of you who say "FUCK UM!!" before I ever have too.
In fact I ran into an old friend in the casino last night (hey, it's still mine & where my friends are) I have not seen since it happened and I got to thank him because its people like him who keep me going like nothings changed and remind me of why I love my people so. He comes up to me and the one of the first things he says is " Hey they disenrolled you huh? So how'd that feel?" I was suprised because that was the first time I was ever asked that. To make it even better all I got to say in response was "Man, guy it still..." then he cut me off and said how he couldn't believe they did that to me and how its so fu**** up and not to worry because they will pay for it in the end.
How now all we do is watch them ruin it for all Pechanga cause they can't even see it happening. And therein lies my strength my friends are what holds me up. All of you who say this money ain't worth it and you'd give it up and be poor again just to go back to the days when we all watched over and took care of each other. The ones who love "Rez Life" because it was our life. Something these ones will never know nothing about probably wouldn't want to might disgust them the way we live. But to us it just looks like HOME,baby.Thats what we love not this casino shit.
Keep the $ just give me back my people!! I am grateful for all of you who bother to care for even a moment.
All my Love & all my Life for you, My People.

Friday, June 15, 2007

American Indian Rights & Resources Org. MEETING

Special Meeting of American Indian Rights & Resources Org.
Notice of Special Meeting of the
American Indian Rights & Resources Organization

AIRRO will host a special meeting of the membership on
Saturday, July 14, 2007
in Sacramento, CA


The meeting will coincide with the meeting of the
California Democratic Party's Executive Board Meeting

Several important Resolutions regarding Indian Rights are scheduled to be heard at the Executive Board Meeting.

Agenda Items for the Special Meeting include the following:

1. Elections for Board of Directors
2. Discuss amendments to AIRRO Bylaws
3. Establish Election Committee for Amendment vote
4. Rights Issues in Indian Country


Please check your emails for additional information on the Special AIRRO Membership Meeting and the CDP Executive Board Meeting.

Exact place (including directions) and time of the Special Meeting will be forwarded in a future email.

Sacto Pols Should Protect CA Election Law via Compacts

There should be no new amended compacts at this time. The BIG FIVE are making plenty of money for their tribes, Pechanga especially so as they have less tribal members now than they did when their compacts were created.

Sacramento Politicians Should Use Gaming Compacts to Protect California Election Law
By Ned WigglesworthPolicy AdvocateCalifornia Common Cause

http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2007/06/sacramento_poli.html

The five southern California tribes currently seeking permission to vastly expand their gambling empires have spent millions of dollars on California politics and elections to achieve their goal. By now, every Californian has seen the flapping eagle that was a component of Morongo’s planned $20 million TV campaign to win expansion approval. Some might also remember “Team 2006”, the $10 million independent expenditure committee funded by the tribes last fall to extract political retribution when the tribes’ expansion agreements stalled in the Assembly.
This combination of brute financial intimidation and dupe-the-public ad campaign has brought these gaming tribes to the threshold of their objective: permission to triple the number of slots in their casinos. Not-so-quiet whispers in the corridors of the Capitol suggest that the Legislature is about to cave into the tribes, demonstrating yet again the power of the dollar in Sacramento.
But even as these tribes have spent tens of millions of dollars to impact California law, they have sought in the state’s courts to exempt themselves from California laws regulating election and political spending. (Apparently, this is how much audacity a $10 million political warchest will buy you.) This self-serving exceptionalism – “the law applies to you, but not to us” – could be stopped in its tracks if the Governor and Legislature demanded that any gaming compacts between the tribes and the state included agreement by the tribes to abide by the laws protecting California’s political process.
Now, one of the five tribes with an expansion proposal, the Agua Caliente of Palm Springs—the same tribe deeply involved in the Abramoff bribery scandal, has quietly positioned itself to continue arguing its privileged status in front of the US Supreme Court, a petition now scheduled for July 28, AFTER it gains its permission for a huge gambling expansion in Sacramento.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Despicable Pechanga's Tribal Purge

http://www.laweekly.com/news/dissonance/tribal-purge/16628/

Gloria Romero is becoming the lap-dog of tribal nations like Pechanga, who have destroyed more Indians than the white man. Well, except that they HAVE A WHITE MAN on their council, so he could be the single most Indian-destroyer of the century. Butch the Indian destroyer. Senator Romero, congratulations for being connected to the destroyer of Indian lives.



Tribal Purge
State Dems back gambling-rich Indians’ greedy wars of expansion

By MARC COOPER
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 7:30 pm


YOU KNOW LOCAL, EASTSIDE STATE Senator Gloria Romero, right? The feisty Democratic majority leader in the California Senate? The highest-ranking woman in the state Legislature? Ardent defender of civil liberties, consumers, workers, minorities? Fearless reformer of prisons and rogue police forces? Great.Now you can add another title: Gloria Romero, faithful in-the-bag servant of wealthy gambling interests.Romero has written and is carrying an onerous piece of legislation titled “Unlawful Entry: Tribal Land” that would allow California Indian tribes to issue stiff fines against non-tribal members entering what are called “Indian Lands.”

The uninitiated here might be scratching their heads asking: Exactly what problem does this bill solve? Aren’t “non-tribal members” just the usual endless flow of pasty-faced patsies hurriedly tooling through the rez eagerly trying to get to the slot machines? Or has there been some unreported invasion of Indian holdings by a Palm Springs cattle-rustling gang?Hardly.

What the tribes are worried about are, in fact, their own members — members who have been booted out of the clan and who still live on the rez or might want to visit family members who do. Booted out, by the way, because the tribal bosses don’t want to share juicy gambling revenues with them. Some of these “disenrolled” members are now among the strongest voices opposing Romero’s bill — arguing that it will be one more cudgel that gambling tribes will use to whip up their profit rates.

The result, they say, will be hundreds of the disenrolled getting evicted from their homes, and then banned from visiting relatives who stay behind.Paranoia? I don’t think so. The casino-owning Pechanga tribe in the Temecula area, for example, has purged some 400 members since 2004, about one-third of its population. And why not? The monthly stipend handed out to enrolled members from casino profits has reportedly doubled since then, now topping out at a handsome $30,000 per month per person. The Pechanga purge was a nasty, Sopranos-like affair — digging up relatives’ graves and scanning the remains for DNA. The tribe hired an independent consultant to oversee the probe and authenticate tribal bloodlines. But when his report revealed that those on the purge list were, indeed, authentic Pechanga Indians, his recommendations and findings were simply ignored and dozens of families lost their income — and their heritage — anyway.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Erosion of Tribal Sovereignty: Pechanga Led?

San Manuel takes care of their people, Pechanga hurt their people. Do you think that the court ruled against a good tribe, or to start taking the side of those who need help?


Court decision goes against San Manuel casino
10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, June 12, 2007
By KIMBERLY PIERCEALLThe Press-Enterprise

A federal appeals court has refused to revisit a decision by a three-judge panel involving the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians that could have broad implications for tribal sovereignty and labor relations.
OP: Are you payint attention, Pechanga?

The tribe said Tuesday it was disappointed with the ruling but was not sure what its next move would be. One option could be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"We've not had a chance to confer with our counsel or our governing body," said Jacob L. Coin, director of tribal communications.
Story continues below

2005 / The Press-Enterprise
An appeals court has refused to rehear a ruling by a three-judge panel in a case involving the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians that gives a federal labor board jurisdiction over tribal casinos.
If the ruling stands, it could force tribes to allow union organizers and picketing on their reservations -- long considered sovereign land not under federal oversight.
In 2004, the National Labor Relations Board ruled it had jurisdiction over the tribe's casinos after two labor unions clashed while attempting to organize casino workers.
According to a labor ordinance that was adopted when most tribes signed gambling compacts with the state in 2000, workers at tribal casinos are barred from striking and unfair labor complaints must be taken up with the tribal government, not the federal government.
While a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia agreed that tribal sovereignty should be preserved, it ruled in February that the National Labor Relations Board should have jurisdiction over tribal casinos because workers at the casinos are not necessarily members of a tribe.
On Friday, the full appeals court denied the tribe's request to hear their case.
Reach Kimberly Pierceall at 951-368-9552 or kpierceall@PE.com

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Artist Offers Sculpture to inspire Healing of Disenrolled Pechanga Members


Artist offers sculpture to inspire discussion, healing to disenrolled Pechanga members By: NICOLE SACK - Staff Writer

DE LUZ -- Call it a peace offering, a catalyst for discussion or simply art. Whatever is said of Austin Casson's latest sculpture, he hopes the piece will get people talking. Casson, a 60-year-old De Luz resident, has dedicated his work titled "The Healing" to the Pechanga people and the disenrollment that led to the ouster of 240 tribal members in less than two years, between 2004 and 2006.
Casson worked on the 24-inch-tall sculpture for 10 months and the piece will soon be sent to the foundry, where 35 copies will be cast in bronze. However, one of those sculptures has already been reserved for a specific purpose: "It will be a gift to the tribe for the first meeting of elders that includes both sides of the enrollment debate -- not for a meeting with lawyers or with politicians, but of tribal members," Casson said. "All I can offer is my art."
The sculpture depicts a Golden Eagle in a "manteling" position -- a posture birds of prey assume when they are protecting something important to them. The eagle encircles his wings around a ring of eight figures representing Pechanga tribal members. Casson said he chose the Golden Eagle because it is indigenous to the Temecula area, but more than that, the proud bird of prey also embodies qualities most people aspire to have. "They mate for life, they protect their young. They are true hunters and live long lives," he said of the bird with a typical wingspan of 6 feet and 6 inches.
Casson, who has been a sculptor for 20 years, said he began to consider the ramifications of the Pechanga disenrollment after he spoke with an ousted tribal elder. "He said to me, 'I was raised Pechanga. I was raised to believe I was a person of worth within the tribe. Now what?'" Casson said, recalling the conversation. "I began to think what would happen to his family, his children and his grandchildren. Are they no longer Indians?" The family most recently disenrolled from the tribe was the Hunter family, a group of nearly 100 adults that trace their lineage to Paulina Hunter, who was listed on tribal rolls in the late 19th century. That group lost an appeal to remain in the tribe in August. An additional 133 adult members formerly with the tribe, who can trace their lineage to Temecula pioneer and Luiseno Indian Pablo Apis, were released from the band in 2004.
The two disenrollments center around disputes over the legitimacy of the Hunter and Apis clans' heritage with the Pechanga band, according the Pechanga enrollment committee. However, John Gomez Jr., a spokesman for the disenrolled Apis family members, says greed and money were the reason to purge the rolls. The tribe and its 1,000 members own and operate the Pechanga Resort & Casino, which sits southeast of Temecula and is one of the most successful Indian gaming ventures in California. Members reportedly receive approximately $20,000 per month from casino revenue shares. Disenrollment not only strips the members of their membership in the tribe, but also takes away health insurance, college scholarships and other benefits. The Pechanga Tribal Council issued a statement via e-mail on the disenrollments Monday: "This disenrollment occurred more than three years ago," the statement read. "Understandably, some of them filed lawsuits challenging the disenrollment. But five state and federal courts -- including the California and U.S. Supreme Courts -- rejected the claims. Our people are moving forward and focusing on the future." Gomez said Casson's sculpture holds special meaning, but he isn't sure if anything will bring together the disputing sides of the disenrollment debate. "Could that happen? Could there be a meeting of the current tribal council and those who have had their human rights violated by their actions?" Gomez asked. "I think a meeting would be difficult, but not impossible." -- Contact staff writer Nicole Sack at (951) 676-4315, Ext. 2616, or nsack@californian.com

Friday, June 8, 2007

Shame of the Cherokee Nation

It's the same shame that should be written about the Pechanga Tribe of Temecula. 2800 descendents is about less than 1/2 of one percent of the Cherokee Tribe. Pechanga shamefully eliminated 25% of their tribe.

New York Times June 8, 2007 Editorial

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/08/opinion/08fri3.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

The Shame of the Cherokee Nation

Many members of Congress were rightly outraged by the Cherokee Nation’s decision earlier this year to revoke the tribal citizenship of about 2,800 descendants of slaves once owned by the tribe. The tribe’s leaders have since tried to avoid any punishment by restoring partial rights to some black members. Congress should disregard that ruse and move ahead with legislation that would force the Cherokee to comply with their treaty obligations and court decisions that guarantee black members full citizenship rights, including the right to vote and hold tribal office. This dispute dates back to the 19th century, when Cherokee, Seminole and Creek signed treaties with the federal government that required them to accept their freedmen — many of whom had mixed black and Indian parentage — as full tribal members in return for recognition as sovereign nations.

The tribes have repeatedly sought to abridge black Indian rights, but the treaties have been repeatedly upheld in federal court. Black tribal rights were also upheld last year in the Cherokee tribe’s own supreme court. Then the tribe voted to expel black members. This could potentially deprive them of their cherished tribal identities, along with access to medical, housing and tribal benefits. Representative Diane Watson, Democrat of California, is circulating a draft of a bill that would strip the Cherokee of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid, and suspend the tribe’s gaming rights, until it returns black members to full citizenship. The bill would also require the Department of the Interior — which has dragged its feet on this issue — to report to Congress on the status of freedmen’s rights in all tribes. It is shameful that the Cherokee have to be pressured into restoring the rights of their own black citizens. But that clearly is what is needed.

Pechanga Gamble will Hurt ALL Californians

This gamble will hurt all Californians
BY KATHRYN BOWEN, Guest ColumnistLA Daily News
Article Last Updated:06/02/2007 05:02:31 PM PDT
WHOEVER coined the phrase "Ignorance is bliss" must have been talking about the 35 million Californians trusting that their elected officials are actually doing their jobs with respect to gambling casinos run by Indian tribes in our state.

"Bliss" is what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been selling the public while he sells the state down the river by granting the largest expansion of gambling in history to five casino tribes.
In the wake of Californians' support of Proposition 1A, former Gov. Gray Davis negotiated gambling compacts with Indian tribes. Millions of voters succumbed to a brilliant marketing campaign in which casino tribes invested nearly $100 million, equal to a presidential election, to persuade voters to change our state constitution and direct gambling monopolies to Indian tribes.
I was one of those voters.
But here's the bad news. At this moment, our elected representatives in California are about to vote on whether to grant five casino tribes, consisting of just 1,876 people, the ability to expand willy-nilly despite the impact on our communities, families, children and ultimately the financial future of California.

This is just the beginning; 67 additional tribes with gaming compacts are waiting in the wings.
The reality is the revenue promised for the state through gambling expansion will not materialize. The expected income is neither measurable, nor is its collection enforceable.
Thousands of e-mails, letters, phone calls and exhaustive testimony attempting to alert our elected officials of endless issues regarding jurisdiction, regulation, accounting and disastrous social costs have fallen on deaf ears.

The reason for the hearing loss? Could it be the massive unregulated tribal contributions flowing into political campaigns of the majority of our elected officials in our state Capitol?
Tribes poured $429,600 into the campaigns of just 15 Assembly members who held a hearing on problematic regulatory issues with the compacts and will be key in deciding their fate. How impartial can they really be when taking money from the same tribes that will benefit from their vote?

Making matters worse, the Minimum Internal Control Standards, the only federal regulatory leg left to oversee the integrity of the games and to collect the money, has been eliminated from the compacts.

http://www.dailynews.com/theiropinion/ci_6046596

Inland Empire residents leery of giving Pechanga more slots

Many Inland residents are leery of allowing more slot machines in nearby tribal casinos, a new poll shows, even as Gov. Schwarzenegger and area lawmakers are pushing deals that could turn this region into one of the world's largest gambling markets.

The survey, conducted for The Press-Enterprise, indicates that residents of Riverside and San Bernardino counties are sharply divided on Indian gambling less than a decade after they overwhelmingly backed ballot measures to legalize it.

For months, nearly every legislator representing the region has solidly supported agreements, known as compacts, that would let four politically influential Inland tribes more than double or triple the number of slot machines they operate.

But the poll reveals that many of the region's residents do not share that enthusiasm for the deals, which await ratification by the Legislature. Two-thirds of residents want the number of tribal casino slot machines to either stay the same or go down, the poll found.



Click to read the rest of the article, use your back button to return to this page:



<http://www.pe. com/localnews/ sbcounty/ stories/PE_ News_Local_ D_poll06. 3d57a67.html>

Covering Disenrollments Comments

Some interesting comments on the article: Covering Disenrollments

http://www.poynter.org/article_feedback/article_feedback_list.asp?user=&id=123671

Tribal Tribulations: Covering Disenrollment (Read the Article)Post Feedback Feedback Guidelines Submit Feedback Complaint

Page 1 of 1 Two Sides of The Story Part Three Posted by Guero Nunez 5/31/2007 2:12:37 PM

We have proof that the tribe did break tribal, state, and federal civil rights laws in the way our disenrollment occurred. We would not have... We have proof that the tribe did break tribal, state, and federal civil rights laws in the way our disenrollment occurred. We would not have been disenrolled if the tribe would have not broken their own constitution and by laws, yet because of sovereignty there is no avenue that is unbiased and fair that we were able to use in determining the fairness of our claim. I always believed that as a US citizen I had rights, yet this is not the case. The issue of sovereignty is important for all tribes, but what about the tribes like Pechanga who abuse and misuse the trust that is given to that government. All of the tribes are being hurt by just a few corrupt tribes that care not for the people or the old ways. We were once proud yo be associated with the Pechanga tribe and it is a same to see how far from the path they have strayed. Is it money , power, or an outside influence that has somehow taken the spirit of Pechanga and it's once peaceful. It is a shame to know that now none Indian whites Who's ancestor was adopted in to the tribe back in 1928 are on the tribal council and they are the one’s who have done this to the people. The rest of the tribe is afraid to speak up for fear of the same thing happening to them. Instead of blaming us go after and investigate further what is being said. Its easy to say what you do because you have not had to live through this kind of injustice and you only see one side of the story, but CA would not have to worry about protecting sovereigntry if they the tribes had not broken the law and trust of the people both Indian and White.Guero Nunez aka White Buffalo


Two Sides To the Story Part Two Posted by Guero Nunez 5/31/2007 2:10:45 PM It was not until the tribe built the hotel and casino that the disenrollments of my family took place. There are several factors that were... It was not until the tribe built the hotel and casino that the disenrollments of my family took place. There are several factors that were involved in the enrollment committees decision to disenfranchise us, yet this is not what the official disenrollment report read, the real reasons are our voting block was one of the largest and knowing this the then current council was afraid of losing power in the upcoming elections, and then there was the per cap disbursement, It is obvious in the timing of these occurrences. First the tribe waited until the last of our ancestors, who had first hand knowledge of our rightful claim, died and then we were disenrolled just before elections. During the processes of disenrolling us we were not allowed legal representation nor were we allowed transcript's of the proceedings. As interested and affected members of this tribe we were told that the rules do not apply as they would for other US citizens because of the sovereign status the tribe held and that constitutional law was not applicable. There are many other thing that were involved during the proceedings that were illegal, yet this forum is not the place for that. I still believe that I should be able to face my accuser in court and perhaps one day I will.Guero Nunez aka White Buffalo

Disenrolled Tribal Members OPPOSE Romero Bill

hat tip: www.pechanga.info


Dis-enrolled tribal members oppose Romero bill

Capitol Weekly By Malcolm Maclachlan Dis-enrolled tribal members are raising concerns that a bill from Senator Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, could result in them being kicked off of reservations. Tribes say the bill, SB 331, is needed to help them enforce their property rights and tribal sovereignty. Such protections are particularly needed in rural areas where non-tribal law-enforcement responses can be slow, supporters say. Titled "Unlawful entry: tribal land," the bill would create a new infraction against non tribal members entering "Indian lands" without permission from the tribe. Romero wrote the bill on behalf of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, which operates a casino and resort northeast of San Diego. Tribes could issue a fine of up to $250 for a first offense and $500 for a second offense. A representative from the Barona Tribe did not return calls seeking comment by press time. Romero's communications director, Russell Lopez, said that her office is in talks with several interested parties about the bill. He said this includes at least one utility that has concerns about their ability to perform maintenance on Indian lands. Romero is not ready to talk yet about any possible amendments, he added.

However, many of those on tribal lands are recently dis-enrolled tribal members, according to John Gomez Jr., a dis-enrolled member of the Pechanga Band of LuiseƱo Indians. He fears SB 331 will become just another tool for Indians to use against other Indians--and could result in hundreds of dis-enrolled members being evicted their own property if it lies on Indian lands. "It could be used to fine people if they visit their own homes or families," Gomez said. Gomez said he is one of about 400 people who have been dis-enrolled from the Pechanga Tribe since 2004. The dis-enrollments happened in two groups, just before tribal elections in 2004 and 2006. They reflect lingering animosities between families and individuals that have been exacerbated by the flood of gaming money, he claimed, raising the stakes in longstanding power struggles. The number of tribal dis-enrollments across the state has increased greatly since the advent of tribal casinos, he said. "Is it a coincidence?" Gomez said. "I don't think so." Representatives of the Pechanga tribe dismiss these claims, saying the members were only dis-enrolled after a years-long process that found they did not have legitimate tribal lineages. During the evaluation period, they said, these members received tribal benefits. In January, the Pechanga Tribal Council sent a letter to every member of the Legislature seeking to refute "sensationalist claims" made by dis-enrolled members. The letter claims that since the tribes financial fortunes started to rise in the mid-1990s, they were inundated by claims from thousands of people who were not legitimate tribal members. It also cited a 2005 California Appeals Court case in which the court declined to get involved in determinations over "Who is a Pechanga?" Gomez and other dis-enrolled Pechangas have sent letters to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Bureau of Indians Affairs and others asking them to look into the dis-enrollments. This includes a call for the BIA not to recognize the Pechanga tribal elections. They also conducted an unsuccessful letter-writing campaign aimed at sinking the amended Pechanga gaming compact. That compact--SB 903 by Senator Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles--passed out of the Senate on a 23-8 vote in April and now awaits a hearing in the Assembly.

Whether they have increased or not, tribal dis-enrollments have been in the news lately. In March, the Jamul Indian band bulldozed the homes of two non-tribal members that lay on tribal land--and sat in the way of a casino the tribe is building. The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians dis-enrolled an undisclosed number of members in November. In 2003, the Enterprise Rancheria kicked out 72 of its over 200 members after a dispute. One of these former members, Robert Edwards, wrote a letter to Romero this week opposing SB 331 because it "bestows authority to Indian Tribes to engage in the victimization of Indians." The letter warned that the bill could lead to some dis-enrolled members being made homeless. Edwards is now the chairman of an opposition group called Indians of Enterprise No. 1. Edwards said that over 3,000 tribal members around the state have been dis-enrolled since 1999. Meanwhile, tribes also have refused to let in many legitimate tribal descendants who tried to join tribes in order to keep them from sharing in gaming money. He has been calling for the Legislature to include references to the Indian Civil Rights Act into the amended gaming compacts, which he said would aid dis-enrolled Indians to suing in state and federal court. Meanwhile, gaming watchdog Cheryl Schmit, director of Stand Up for California, sent a letter to Romero last week questioning the constitutionality of SB 331 as it currently is written. The bill lacks an adequate definition of "Indian lands," she argued, and conflicts with federal law on the matter. Unless the bill is amended to comply with federal standards, she said, any tickets given to trespassers under a resulting law could not be enforced. "If I got a citation on tribal lands, I could safely wad it up and throw it away," Schmit said. "Indian lands" now cover a patchwork of reservations, private property and new lands being purchased by tribes. For instance, she said, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians has purchased 1,100 acres in 11 different deals since 2000. Schmit said she has been seeking legal opinions on the bill. The California State Sheriffs' Association has taken a neutral position, she said, while the California District Attorneys Association will evaluate the bill at their mid-July meeting. The San Diego County district attorney and San Diego County Sheriffs Department support SB 331. Other states also are struggling with tribal-lands issues. Most notably is New York, where Governor Eliot Spitzer is trying to collect $200 million in cigarette and gasoline taxes he said are owed by tribes in the state. Some in the New York Legislature have estimated the state loses over $400 million in tobacco taxes not collected on reservations each year. In April, leaders of the Seneca Nation retaliated by beginning to count cars on the New York State Thruway that runs through the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation south of Buffalo. They have said they intend to charge the state government $1 per car for the use of their land. Malcolm Maclachlan is a Capitol Weekly staff reporter.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Why the Media Ducks our Issues: From One Little Indian Reports

http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/2061726/19001662

Why The Media Ducks Our Issues
Last week, I was reading the editorial section of the Fresno Bee when I noticed one of their editors had something to say about Tribal gaming. I was shocked to notice that he was complimenting how well the Tribes were taking care of their own with housing and other assistance.
I immediately telephoned this editor to ask him if he was aware of the fact that Tribes around the state were behaving in anything but an admirable manner and then I checked off a couple of the points that backed this up:
Enrollment Terminations: The Tribes have been kicking out their own people for years now with very little fanfare from the media.
Civil Rights Violations: The Tribes have been violating the civil rights of their own people by denying them "due process" during the termination process.
Denial of the Bill of Rights: The Tribes have taken extraordinary measures to silence any opposition to their activities by banishing anyone who would speak out against them in the media, a violation of the 1st Amendment guarantee of free speech.
Economic Terrorism: The Tribes have actively used economic bullying against their own people and against politicians, the media and the public to get their way, while they hide behind "soveriegn immunity" like chicken-****'s.
The editor had this to say: "The editorial section isn't the right location for the type of information you're talking about. This is more of a "news" issue." Then he recommended who I should talk to at the news desk and transferred me to her voicemail.
Naturally, the news desk wasn't very happy to have me on the phone once I got a call back. The news editor wasn't too concerned about our ongoing issues and she claimed that if they are going to report it, it has to be something new or no one will read the story.
What is really happening is that the media is afraid of the Tribes and their enormous advertising budgets. The Tribes are without a doubt amongst their largest advertising customers and in todays competitive market, no one wants to rock the money boat with an issue that only affects a couple thousand people!
Of course, this IS JUST AN OPINION from someone looking at their practices from the outside. I am lacking any smoking gun emails that confirm this to be the facts and just the facts. So, in the end, the media will be able to make up whatever reason they want to explain their lack of interesting and in-depth coverage of our plights as terminated Native Americans.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Bury My Heart in Temecula: Pechanga Massacres

From Paulina's Blog: http://blog.myspace.com/paulinahunterofpechanga


Bury My Heart in Temecula: The Three Pechanga Massacres

There are three Pechanga Massacres in our last 175 years. 1847, 2004, 2006
1846 - Up to 125 Luisenos were killed in a December attack in retaliation for the killings of 11 Pauma persons who had stolen horses.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temecula_Massacre

2004 - Over 300 Pechanga men, women and children from Temecula Band of Luiseno Indians were eliminated by a corrupt enrollment committee.

2006 - Over 200 more Pechanga men, women and children, including award winning elders were eliminated by same enrollment committee and supported by the corrupt Pechanga Tribal Council.

Pechanga has eliminated more of their tribe than any outside force in it's recorded history. Congratulations to Pechanga for the mass extermination of their people. Blood drips from the knife wounds in the back........ and thru the heart

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Pechanga Corruption: It's ABOUT THE MONEY

Pechanga Corruption is ABOUT THE MONEY

http://blog.myspace.com/paulinahunterofpechanga

Try the figure out, roll it around your tongue: Over ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS This is how much the remaining Pechanga members have been able to split since kicking out 25% of their tribe.

Pechanga can double check my numbers but they'll be close if not short.

135 Manuela Miranda Adults lost $15,000 per month 38 months ago and 95 Hunter Family adults lost $17, 300 per month 26 months ago.

Manuelas: 135 x 38 x $15000
Hunters: 95 x 26 x $17,300

Still believe it's not about the money?

Let's look at another fact:

The total of $15,000 per month times about 1080 members is $192,000,000. NOW remember that there are about 500 caught up in the moratorium. Illegally keeping rightful members out of the tribe. There are qualifications and open enrollment in the Pechanga Constitution. There have been NO enrollments in 10 years, except for certain families of enrollment committee members. (Right Bobbie?)

Take that $192 Million and divide it by 1600 (current + moratorium) & you'd get:
$120,000 per YEAR!

Pechanga got rid of people and didn't let rightful blood IN because they didn't believe that $120 Thousand per year was enough. Numbers are approximate, because the word is now that members are making over $30, 000 per month.

Still think it's NOT about the Money?

Pechanga Chairman "surprised" by his Racist Statement

Suprised that he couldn't hold his tongue is more like it. His temper is well known. I'm just trying to give my readers a sense of what tribal members were dealing with.

Pechanga chairman surprised by his 'racist' statement
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2003

Members of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians of California were meeting on Sunday to consider tribal enrollment criteria as part of an ongoing controversy over attempts to trim 400, whom some say can't show Pechanga lineage, from the tribal rolls.
Chairman Mark Macarro told The Riverside Press-Enterprise in a statement that the matter was a private matter. "What goes on internally at Pechanga is of no business to the white man, enrollment included," the paper quoted him as saying. OP: If that's true, then why do they have a white man, Murphy on their Tribal Council. He has NO Indian blood.

But according to the paper, he later called to clarify. "I think what I wrote sounds or looks a little racist, actually, and I'm even surprised by it," he said. He substituted a statement that eliminated the reference to "the white man." Wasn't the cow out of the barn already.

The tribe owns a casino. Each adult member currently receives a $10,000 per capita payment per month, according to the paper. OP: This was incorrect, the per capita was $15,000 at this time.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Pechanga leading the beginning of the END of Sovereignty?

Are California’s Tribal Disenrollments the Beginning of the End of Tribal Sovereignty?
By
Original Pechanga

In the 21st Century, who would have thought that the Indian Wars would begin anew? This is not the war of racist whites who wanted to move west no matter who was hurt. This time, it’s greedy Indians who want more money, no matter which tribal members they hurt. The 21st century Indian War is now Indian vs. Indian. Tribes such as Pechanga of Temecula, Redding Rancheria, Jamul of San Diego, Enterprise Rancheria are violating their members civil rights, eliminating them from tribal rolls and denying them their part of the tribe. And because of California Tribe’s use of sovereignty, it can be “we just don’t like you” or “we don’t believe the evidence” (are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?),

In California’s Indian Country, wealthy casino tribes are gorging themselves with cash, the fruits of their casino, thanks to laws passed by the citizens of California. Prop 1A and Prop. 5 were passed overwhelmingly, thanks to ads that promised not to expand gaming and to help tribes with self reliance. To the California populace, this meant that tribes would be able to take care of their own membership. Those living in poverty would be brought forth; non gaming tribes would benefit from a fund that gaming tribes would contribute to. A ‘lifting of all boats’ if you will.

What has happened in that time has in fact helped some tribes. San Manuel of San Bernardino has developed their reservation from dirt poor to one of the wealthiest in the state and tribal members are definitely in the top 1/10th of income earners in California. And they are taking care of their people. Their population is limited, with fewer than 200 members. Morongo of Cabazon is another example of good governing.

Sadly, some tribes could not stand to share their good fortune. Visions of more money, or living at San Manuel standards blinded some with greed and envy.

The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians is one such tribe. Blessed with an excellent location near a freeway and with easy access and a growing population, the Pechanga Resort and Casino was successful and thriving.

With just over 1,000 adult members, the tribe was, by 2004 able to provide their members with a monthly per capita check of $15,000 and quarterly bonuses. Additionally, the tribe provided health care via Blue Shield, Dental, Eye and extra benefits for elders. Also included was educational assistance including college scholarships for which all was needed was a C average. Even John Kerry and G. W. Bush could have kept a scholarship.

But that wasn’t enough for a splinter group of band members, the Concerned Pechanga People. This group of extremists made threatening advances on tribal enrollment committee members, storming offices demanding that people be disenrolled. The disenrollment process was initiated in a Salem-witch-trial like atmosphere. Letters saying, “I think that family should be investigated” and “there is a person from OHIO that had the same name, we think it was their ancestor. Never mind that one of the ancestors under investigation had land on the reservation for well over 100 years, given to them from President McKinley. The process has been recounted in the article from Harpers “A Paper Trail of Tears” detailing the ouster of the family of the original headman of the Pechangas, Pablo Apis.

The evidence for Paulina Hunter’s family is detailed in “Without a Tribe” an investigative report from KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. The investigation went on for months and as recounted in the piece, Pechanga refused to speak to KNBC until the day before the airing. Comically, Pechanga had to buy a 30 second spot during February sweeps (a bit more costly) to tell their story. In watching the report, it was clear that Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro was caught in a lie, and he was called on it by anchor Colleen Williams.

The report featured noted anthropologist, Dr. John Johnson, curator of the Natural History Museum in Santa Barbara, and an expert in his field, possibly without equal. What is the significance of Dr. Johnson? Well, the Pechanga tribe hired him to research Paulina Hunter’s ancestry. They went for the best and he found the truth about Paulina; she was indeed Pechanga, “100%” he said. Now keep in mind that this gentlemen has worked with California Mission Indians for decades, heavily researching Las Padrones, the historical record of the priests of Mission San Luis Rey (from which Luiseno comes)

Some authors, who are concerned that sovereignty issues outweigh any damage to families of disenrolled, ask the question: Are they violating tribal law or US law, because US law wouldn’t apply to a sovereign nation. Well the answer is: They are violating tribal law. Pechanga’s constitution requires open enrollment every January with specific requirements for enrollment. There is no blood quantum required; the requirement is lineal descent from an original Pechanga person.

Pechanga has a moratorium in place which has kept new members from joining the tribe. The moratorium is not authorized in the constitution. There was a petition brought forth to the tribe, it was ruled valid and voted upon. The moratorium, unconstitutionally, was passed. The Tribal Council explained that “the people have spoken” and it’s now law until repealed. Later, when a petition was brought forth to end all disenrollment, it was ruled valid and voted upon, after the question of the Hunter family’s disenrollment process was brought up, Chairman Macarro said, “all means all”. The people voted to end all disenrollments. The will of the people was spoken. Months later, the tribe was sent a letter saying that the Hunter family disenrollment couldn’t be stopped by a vote of the people; they had to right to vote on enrollment matters. Okay so the people had a right to STOP new members coming in, but not to stop lifelong members from going out? I think this answers the question of violations of law.

This is sovereignty that is wielded like a club, not for the good of the members, but to their detriment.

These websites and blogs can help answer questions, and there will be more articles like this one.

Without a Tribe
http://www.pechanga.info/
http://blog.myspace.com/paulinahunterofpechanga
http://www.tribalcorruption.com/
http://originalpechanga.blogspot.com/

Original Pechanga is a disenrolled member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians.

UPDATE: Fire Witch Rising has picked up the article: http://firewitchrising.blogspot.com/2007/06/native-blog-are-californias-tribal.html

Please take a look at her blog

The Manuela Miranda - Apish Clan History: Unbroken Line of Lineal Descendents

For centuries, the Pechanga/Temecula people lived in peace with one another. Despite occasional differences, we have always struggled and survived as a unified community. In deed, under the leadership of Chief Pablo Apis and others, our common ancestors literally fought and died for the land which was set aside by Executive Orders in 1882 and 1893 for the use and benefit of the “Temecula Band or village of Mission Indians“.
Manuela Miranda 

The Temecula Indian village, from which our ancestors were forcibly expelled from in 1875, was located within the tribe's aboriginal territory on land which was deeded to Chief Pablo Apis as the Little Temecula Rancho and which was to be set aside for the Temecula Indians by the Treaty of Peace and Friendship. The treaty, which was signed at Chief Apis' adobe in the Tribe's village, was never ratified by the US Congress. The land on which the Pechanga Resort and Casino is located is actually a corner of Chief Pablo Apis‘ original land grant.

We are lineal descendants of Chief Pablo Apis. We trace or lineage through his daughter Juana Apis and granddaughter Manuela Apis Despierto. Our names, and the names of our ancestors stretching back to Chief Apis, are included in the Tribe's Official Enrollment Book and referenced in the Tribe's Constitution and Bylaws.

Members of our family served the Pechanga Band for generations in many different capacities. Manuela Miranda descendents have been elected to serve on the Cultural Resources Committee, the Enrollment Committee, and various other committees. We have been elected to represent the Pechanga Band as ambassadors for Indian Country through the Americans for Indian Opportuntiy program and we have been elected to represent the Pechanga Band as tribal liasons/representatives for multi-tribal organizations such as the Luiseno Intertribal NAGPRA Coalition and Indian Health Services. We have served on the Constitution and By-laws Committee, the Pechanga Development Committee, and on Committees for the Pechanga Silver Feathers. We have donated countless hours to prepare meals, gather clothes and other goods for other tribal members and Indian people. A family member also donated over a dozen palm trees to the Pechanga Band for planting at the Pechanga Park for the enjoyment of all Tribal members.

Yet, in spite of our solid and unbroken ties to the Tribe, our lineal descent was questioned by a group of “concerned tribal members”. This group launched a propaganda campaign to disenroll us from the tribe. This campaign, along with their association with those who make the decisions regarding membership issues, eventually led to our disenrollment.

Many, including the “concerned members”, thought that we would go away quietly. In fact, they were counting on shielding themselves and their actions from redress by invoking the Tribe's immunity from suit.

However, we are fighters. We will not allow the gross violations of Tribal, state, and federal law go without having our day in court. And, in July 2004, a Riverside County Superior Court judge ruled that the courts of California, as mandated by Congress in Public Law 280, have jurisdiction to hear our lawsuit against the individual tribal members who damaged us.

We will continue the fight in many arenas, and we will use this website as (http://pechanga.info/) a tool to update visitors  on our disenrollment issue and disenrollments throughout Indian Country.

Pechanga Cheats It's People: WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

This is a very interesting topic that was found on Paulina Hunter's blog

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=139989297&blogID=226880207&indicate=1

It's a moral question. Particularly interesting are the comments.

Pechanga Cheats its Members: WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Pechanga (meaning the tribal council and disenrollment committee) has CHEATED its members, by disenrolling them from the tribe. They have wronged over 500 people, when you include spouses and children who cannot claim membership.
Since 1995, almost 12 years, they have been paying per capita to each member of Pechanga. Here is the breakdown as they give for loan authorizations for the first years:
1995: $1,075 1996: $3,360 1997: $20,204 1998: $39,853

Now, bear in mind that by 1998, this is MORE money than many of the tribe has made in a year, EVER. You'd think that people would be HAPPY to be making an extra $3,000 a month.
1999: $44,071 2000: $47,744 2001: 63,800 2002: $91,000

Well now, in 8 short years, tribal members are making $7,500 per month, got health care approved and guess what? CPP started getting JEALOUS of what San Manuel was making (significantly more, due to smaller membership) so they started looking at how they could get more money.

Was setting a positive example of tribal unity and good public relations to build business and relationships the way?
or
Was getting rid of some members so you could control power and get their per capita the way to go?

Which would you choose? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Las Vegas Eyes Indian Casinos

http://www.sacunion.com/pages/california/articles/9168/

Las Vegas Eyes Indian Gaming Casinos
By JOAN WHITELY, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Published: May 30, 2007
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Picture a luxury sedan, tooling peacefully down the highway. That would be the U.S. commercial casino industry, with 2005 gross revenues of almost $30 billion.
But what about the tricked-out, turbocharged pickup in the sedan’s rearview mirror, closing in quickly? That would be Indian gambling, which pulled down almost $23 billion in gross revenues in 2005, according to statistics compiled by Los Angeles economist Alan Meister.
Once dismissed for running second-rate rural bingo halls inside big tents, gambling tribes in the past decade have dramatically narrowed the gap on commercial casino operators.



But gambling also disrupts tribes, says Gover, who was assistant secretary for Indian affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1997 to 2001.
Disputes about who belongs to a tribe, let alone who should lead it, now get attention.
The size of a tribe affects the size of payouts, if a tribe is distributing some of its gambling profits to individual members. About one-third of gambling tribes do so, according to 2001 data from the National Indian Gaming Commission, a federal regulatory agency.
“Before, who cared what your share of nothing is?” Gover says. “I think the pace of these disenrollments has picked up.”
Disenrollment is the review process by which a tribe decides that a person who has claimed membership does not qualify.

Yes, those who have been disenrolled at Pechanga Reservation in Temecula, CA were members when there was NOTHING but the land. The concerned Pechanga People were the greedy ones, and many aren't even Pechanga. Why should California support a nation like that...

Please visit Blogs on my Blogroll

I am starting to build a blog roll, which are Native American related. Many are talking about the disenrollment in California's Indian Country.

Please visit NDNnews.com as Tamra is helping to tell the story on her website.

Also, www.pechanga.info has so much information.