Thursday, April 24, 2008

Casino Revenue Causes Tribal Squabbles Over Membership at Redding Rancheria - Picayune- Pechanga

Some California members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Diane Watson and Maxine Waters are working hard on the Cherokee of Oklahoma issue. While Pechanga has some disenrolled members in Oklahoma, it's time they started looking in California for our problems.

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Now that Indian casinos dot the U.S. countryside from Atlantic to Pacific, one would assume that the economic and social plight of Native Americans would be assuaged by the wealth pouring into the tribes' coffers. While the massive revenues have definitiely helped, they have also caused greed and selfishness to divide tribal members amongst themselves.

In California, where some of the nation's richest tribes run hugely profitable casinos, some 5000 Indians have been disenrolled; that is, effectively removed from status as a tribal member. Many of the changes have alledgedly been made to keep monies in smaller circles, and to disown activists who wish a more public accounting of the dispersal of funds.

Because of the sovereign nation status of tribes, there is virtually no oversight nor legal recourse regarding tribal council actions. Those disenrolled have no appeal except to those who made the decision. No explanation of how revenue is allocated is required.

Some of the disenrollments resist all logic. The members of the Foreman family, 76 in number, were disenrolled from the Redding Rancheria because the council decided the family was not descended from a tribal founder as had been believed. The Foremans used DNA testing with the founder's remains to prove its relationship... and the council stood by its decision. OP: Yes, why let FACTS get in the way?
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