The Pechanga Band became concerned about the question of enrollment in the early 1970’s. Many years of debate and discussion led to the presentation of a proposed final enrollment application and proposed procedures.
Between 1979 and 1981, using the approved process, approximately 456 members were enrolled and given enrollment numbers. During the screening of applications, the Enrollment Committee returned approximately 45 that were incomplete and requested further information from the applicants. There were also about 20 enrollment applications that did not meet the standards set by the Band.
Those standards, found at Article II of the Band’s approved Constitution and Bylaws include the following:
Membership is an enrolled member documented in the Band's Official Enrollment Book of 1979.
Qualifications for membership of the Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians are:
A. Applicant must show proof of Lineal Descent from original Pechanga Temecula people.
B. Adopted people, family or Band, and non-indians cannot be enrolled. Exception: People who were accepted in the Indian way prior to 1928 will be accepted.
C. If you have ever been enrolled or recognized in any other reservation you cannot enroll in Pechanga.
The 20 applications that did not meet the standards involved the descendants of adopted members. People who would not be eligible for membership based on the Constitutional requirement. They included members of the Splinter Group.
The applicants were sent letters stating that their application for enrollment “has not met with the standards approved by the Band” The same letter advised the applicants that there is a provision for appeals to the Band. None of the individuals so notified ever appealed the decision of the Enrollment Committee.
In fact, as far as could be determined at the time, only one member of the Splinter Group, its leader BM, applied for membership in the Band. BM was sent the form letter advising him that he would have to appear before the Band on the issue of enrollment inasmuch as he was the descendant of an adopted member. BM never requested a hearing before the Band.
None of the individuals that were on the Splinter Group’s “council” were enrolled members of the Band.
Instead, you have a small group of perhaps 20 who simply refused to comply with the will of the band as a whole and who refused to apply for membership. Could it be that they knew then, as many know now, that they would not and should not be granted membership?
Instead of appealing to the tribe, those who would not be considered members based on the Band’s membership standards found another way to gain membership. However, this way did not include complying with the Band’s membership requirements as listed in the Constitution.