Thursday, October 16, 2008

Conference to Celebrate IGRA to Honor Chairman of Pechanga Mark Macarro for Violations of ICRA


October 15, 2008 Contact: John Gomez, Jr.9:30 p.m.


Macarro deserves Pathbreaker award … for violations of the ICRA

TEMECULA, CA – Mark Macarro, Chairman of the Pechanga Band of Mission Indian in Temecula, California will be honored tomorrow at a conference commemorating 20 Years of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the law which legalized gaming on Indian lands. Mr. Macarro, as well as several other tribal leaders, are being honored as Pathbreakers “for their influential impact on gaming in Indian Country”.

Ironically enough, Mr. Macarro’s legacy may not only be measured by his contributions to Indian gaming but by the violations of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 that have occurred during his tenure as Chairman of the Pechanga Band.

Mr. Macarro, who has been Chairman of the Pechanga Band since the mid ‘90’s, has presided over the disenrollments of over 1/3 of the Pechanga tribal membership. The mass disenfranchisement of nearly 400 duly enrolled members occurred just after the Pechanga Band had expanded its gaming facility in response to the passage of Props 5 and 1A in California. Each of the disenrollments, which occurred in 2004 and 2006, were carried out just prior to regularly scheduled elections for Tribal Chairman. Mr. Macarro won re-election each time.

The mass disenrollments and denial of membership to hundreds of other eligible members, which have been carried out by Mr. Macarro and other tribal officials, have been characterized by the most egregious violations of basic rights, including denial of due process, failure to provide equal protection of tribal and federal laws, and the passage of ex post facto laws.

Each of the growing number of basic rights violations for which Mr. Macarro is responsible for mirrors those acts which led to the introduction and passage of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 ("ICRA") which was intended to “… protect individual Indians from arbitrary and unjust actions of tribal governments” and to secure for the individual American Indian the broad constitutional rights afforded all other American citizens. Unfortunately, the hundreds who have been stripped of or denied their basic rights are also being denied any recourse against their oppressors as Mr. Macarro and other tribal officials have routinely invoked “sovereign immunity” to escape prosecution for their actions.

While Mr. Macarro may be receiving recognition for his work in Indian gaming, such recognition should be based on the cumulative impacts of his actions- including the gross violations of the ICRA and the termination of hundreds of Pechanga tribal members.

A conference sponsored by Arizona State University will celebrate 20 years of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

IGRA has been responsible for helping many Indian tribes to remove some of their people from poverty and move toward self-reliance in business ventures.

Sadly with IGRA and gaming and the seemingly endless income that gambling has generated, many tribes such as Pechanga, Picayune, Enterprise and Redding have shed their members to increase their per capita payments to those remaining.

The conference is honoring some
Pathbreakers at this event. One of those honored will be Mark Macarro, the current chairman of the Pechanga Band of Mission Indians from Temecula. They are known in some circles as the "Incredible Shrinking Tribe" and that's because Pechanga, has terminated 25% of their tribal members, taking away their per capita, health care, child care, educational assistance. This has forced some elders back on to the public's shoulders. And all so some members could take their per capita from $150,000 per year to $350,000 per year?

Pechanga has created their own
PAPER TRAIL OF TEARS with the largest extermination of Pechanga people in it's history. Pechanga has massacred more Indians in the 21st century than the white man did in the 20th century!

While we are glad that IGRA has helped so many, it's a shame that the conference overlooks those who have harmed so many. Does a Pathbreaker award wash the guilt that Macarro shares in manipulating the termination of
proven members?

What's a few HUNDRED Indians? After doing it to the first member, how many does it have to be, before what Pechanga did is WRONG?

Shame on the conference for the award to Macarro.
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