Monday, February 4, 2008

Where have all the Indians Gone from Pechanga's Shrinking Tribe?

More from John Gomez, civil rights activist, member of AIRRO

The Pechanga Band has produced and is airing a new series of commercials that hark back to the Prop 5 and 1A campaigns. The commercials feature Pechanga Chairman Macarro standing in a field, surrounded by a group of people, asking you to vote for Indian self-reliance once again.

There are several interesting things about the new commercial. First of all, the commercial fails to identify Mr. Macarro as Chair of the Pechanga Band, one of the Big 4 tribes seeking a yes vote on their sweetheart deals.

The other interesting thing- which was pointed out to me by someone who saw the commercial before I did- is that there are a fewer number of people in this commercial than in the Prop 5 and 1A ads. Was this meant to show that fewer California Indians would actually benefit from Props 94-97 than the Big 4 would lead you to believe? Or was this merely an illustration that the number of tribes who support 94-97 is smaller than the number who supported Props 5 and 1A?
While I would answer “Yes” to both of those questions, there maybe something more involved.

For instance, since California voters passed Props 5 and 1A, thousands of California Indians have been kicked out of their tribes and/or denied membership. Included in this number is almost 300 Pechanga members who have been booted from the tribe since 2004. Some of those 300, myself included, appeared in the original Prop 5 and 1A commercials. Alas, we were not invited to appear in the new adds.

There were other California Indians from throughout the State who also appeared in the previous adds- including tribal officials from the
Redding Rancheria- who have also been kicked out of their tribe and did not appear in the new ads.
So you see, the reason for the smaller number of people in the new adds has many possible meanings. But any way you look at it, fewer California Indians will actually benefit from the Big 4 deals- information Mr. Macarro and the Big 4 would like to keep from you.

OP: IT IS CRITICAL that Californians understand that these 4 compacts will help ONLY 1800 tribal members in CA. That's HALF of the number of member who the gaming tribes have eliminated since we voted on Prop. 5. 1800 would make most HS football stadiums look EMPTY. Heck, Colton High School, where Pechanga Chairman and Civil Rights violator Macarro graduated, holds 6,000 or so. The entire population of these tribes could fit into 32 school buses.

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