Tuesday, February 17, 2009

UCLA Student addresses Sen. Byron Dorgan on Tribal Disenrollments

Disenrollment issue brought to Senator’s attention

Senator Byron Dorgan (SD- Dem), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
, held a listening session for tribal leaders at UCLA earlier today. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs which is responsible for hearing issues affecting Indian tribes and Indian .

The purpose of the listening session was to allow tribal leaders from the region to address Senator Dorgan
regarding their priorities and concerns. Representatives from Pechanga, Morongo, San Manuel, and other regional tribes talked about a wide range of issues pertinent to their communities. However, it may have been the remarks of a non-tribal leader that drew the most attention.

An unexpected speaker, a UCLA student, caught many tribal leaders off guard as he came forth and addressed Chairman Dorgan regarding the growing number of disenrollments occurring in Indian Country in general and California in particular. While tribes have the authority to determine their own membership, there is a growing concern that many tribes have violated the basic human and civil rights- such as those set forth in the United States Constitution, the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, and other tribal, state, and federal laws- in the disenrollment and denial of membership of thousands of California Indians.

The issue of disenrollment, as well as civil rights violations in Indian Country, had not been addressed by any of the tribal leaders in their presentations to the Chairman. And it was apparent that some tribal leaders wish the issue would have not been brought to the attention of Chairman Dorgan at such an event.

It is now up to the Chairman and the Committee as to how they will take the information gathered from today's listening session and address the issues brought forth. More importantly, how will the Committee address the concern regarding disenrollment and basic rights violations now that it has been formally presented to them in an open forum.


t'eetilawuncha! said...

CPP AKA Aorrpt Pechanga People. You never know when your going to be caught like a deer in the headlights. Many People are wondering about this mess you have created.

cideways said...

I'd like to know what else was said? Does anyone have more information?
How Tribal leaders tried to cover their asses on this one?
Or more importantly how the Senator responded?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the name of the UCLA student????

Anonymous said...

My name is Andrew, and I am the UCLA graduate student who addressed Sen. Dorgan regarding the growing number of tribal disenrollments taking place in California and across the United States. First, I need to give credit to the work of John Gomez Jr., Original Pechanga's Blog, and Pechanga.info for laying the ground work and educating the public to the plight of those who have been disenrolled. Please keep up your good work, there are people such as myself who are paying attention to what you write. I have to admit that I sat there a bit nervous and for a moment there I was unsure if I should get up and speak -- knowing that my topic may be uncomfortable for some present, however, in these situations I often ask myself, what is the right thing to do? I draw strength from the courage of my elders and ancestors, they were never silent.

In my remarks I tried to make the connection that families make up clans, clans in turn make up a tribe, and in California large families are being disenrolled thereby altering the religious-political make-up of that tribe. I pointed to the San Pasqual case as an example where a "scholastic-administrative" review process was used by means of the BIA, and the process worked. Now, I would prefer the tribes take a direct approach toward implementing a review process in connection to their disenrollments as a means of self-regulation. On the other hand, I don't see tribes doing this. I also don't see Congress altering Martinez v. Santa Clara in the near future, but I have to admit that there is growing "chatter" among politicians that something needs to be done, they just don't want Congress to be the ones to do it.

Once again, I believe that it will take a community of people to continue to press this issue. I ask that you continue to stay active.


Allen L. Lee said...

Thanks Andrew!

Creeper said...


O Pechanga said...


THANK you for speaking out for all of us in California and other states that have been disenrolled or caught in moratoriums.

If you have a transcript of what you said, I'd like to post it. You have my email.

How was Carole Goldbergs disposition towards you?

Eli Grayson said...

Just curios, what was Senator Dorgan's response?

'aamokat said...

Thank you so much Andrew. I wish I could have been there to lend you support and add some thoughts of my own.

People like Senator Dorgan need to know that tribes like Pechanga disenrolled famlies of whistle blowers who brought corruption in the tribal government into the light and who were voted out of the tribe by the very people that had allegedly committed the offenses in question.

Senator or staff, if you read this, we the disenrolled asked that the enrollment committee members who had been accused of not doing their duty, including not enrolling people who meet the tribe's enrollment requirments, not be allowed to vote on our disenrollment cases.

But they were still allowed to rule on our cases, a violation of Pechanga's own constitution and bylaws under the equal protection clause of Article V, which states individual tribal members rights are to be upheld without malice or predjudice.

Senator Dorgan, you should also be aware that we the disenrolled were not allowed to have legal representation at hearings, we were denied any copies of the transcripts of any of the proceedings, and we were not allowed to take notes at hearings!

Needless to say it was very hard to mount a defense in light of the deck stacked against us.




Anonymous said...

Why is Andrew posting as anonymous? andrew sounds just like the author of this post under the Cherokee Freedman, but under another name.
"It seems to me that families or clans of tribes were defined by our ancestors. The make of the families or clans defines a tribe. When people disrespect our ancestors by trying to change the make up of our tribes, under the cloak of sovereignty or disenrolling entire clans under the chatter that they are defining their membership, it is no longer a tribe but a club." could they be the the same person?

t'eetilawuncha! said...

Sorry, but it was not I.

I do believe that these college students are paying attention to what is being said though, and I am not the least bit concerned if he did use some of our material. We have been contacted regularly thru emails and other blogs for detailed information on these issues. We have giving them all the information they need to make and informed decision. Some people from other countries who are here as foreign exchange students have used our blogs as references on papers they were submitting on genealogy studies.

We give our sincere thanks to Andrew for taking the time to ask these very important questions.

O Pechanga said...

I'm concerned that the Anonymous who is concerned that Andrew posted as Anonymous....posted Anonymously.

Concerned anonymous can post anonymously, but not others? And ANDREW told us who he was. He's a student that has contacted both the President of AIRRO and myself about information.

Allen L. Lee said...

Hello Andrew,
Just wanted to re-visit and briefly discuss Santa Clara v Martinez.
I typically agree with that decision based on the assertion that it was a traditional practice of the tribe to determine membership that way. However, even in it's traditional aspects, the U.S. was derelict at least in its concern for the rights of the child to be recognized as an Indian under the law. It's a great coincidence that the Indian Child Welfare Act and Santa Clara v Martinez were "activated" in the same year, 1978.
Since the practice was traditional, the U.S. could have come back and said "hey, we've got these national and international concerns for the rights of the child, we now need to attempt to come in compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act,can we talk?" An offer of incentives to the tribes to amend a traditional practice would be in order instead of, "traditional practice, none of our business, good bye."
The casino era dis-enrollments on the other hand, have
no traditional foundation and don't warrant incentives. In the particular cases of both the Cherokee Freedmen and the Pechanga dis-enrollments the dis-enrollees have presented convincing arguments that not only have international and national rights violation occurred, but tribal violations have occurred as well.
Again, the statement "tribal sovereignty, none of our business
" is a derelict response by the U.S.
The U.S. could examine each tribal dis-enrollment case on a case-by case standard and determine whether the U.S. should continue to recognize the dis-enrollees as part of the whole political body of the tribe. That is something they can do independent of any internal action with-in a tribe.
If a tribe choose to fractionalize itself, that can remain an internal problem, but the U.S. has the right to negotiate with what it recognizes as the whole political body of a soveriegn, and if the whole political body of a sovereign isn't engaged in government to government relations with the U.S., than any transaction between the two governments would be invalid.
This would encourage the fractionlized tribes to work toward coalition governments, but for the U.S to say soveriegn right, not our business, while maintaining federal jurisdiction over tribes is leading to one vry embarrassing conclusion.
The Cherokee Nation Of Oklahoma has already filed a complaint with the United Nations claiming that congressis infinging on their sovereign rights with the Bill to severe relation ubtil they recognize the Freedmen Descendant rights under the 1866 treaty. Now in order to file a complaint with the U.N., one most have exhausted all local or regional attempts to resolve the problem with the state maintaining jurisdiction, that would be the U.S. The Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has stated time and again that relevant federal officers refused to meet with him and he may have grounds for his complaint. Compound that with the dis-enrollees complaint that federal officers refuse to intercede on their behalf because it is an internal tribal matter, and we have exhausted the dis-enrollees attempts to resolve the issue under federal jurisdiction. the U.S. might find all parties in front of international tribunals because they failed to exercise jurisdiction.
I think these Senators and Congressperson should take a closer look at where this is heading.

Anonymous said...

O Pechanga,

"I'm concerned that the Anonymous who is concerned that Andrew posted as Anonymous...posted Anonymously."

LOL. I posted "anonymously" because I don't know if I have a log-in for this board. Furthermore, last night when I posted I did not want to sit there for several minutes trying to remember my log-in. However, this is a red-herring and is typical from people who are intellectually bankrupt. It's a simple attack the messenger claim. Here are the facts;

1. A UCLA student spoke to Sen. Dorgan on the topic of disenrollment at the Tribal Listening session held at the UCLA Faculty Center.
2. This UCLA student identified himself and gave credit to John Gomez et. al., therefore they must have a speaking relationship.
3. I was not aware of that I posited the same arguments that someone else had made. I simply drew upon the historical anthropological roots of California tribes. The connection that families make up clans and clans make up tribes is nothing new.

If Anonymous is still concerned about my identity, then I suggest that he/she post their contact information and I would be happy to give them a call.


NDNLady said...

Mr. Lee, you stated on another thread that “ignorance is no excuse” when referring to those who misrepresent facts outside the field of their expertise. But apparently, your own standard does not apply to you. You have consistently made wildly inaccurate and misleading posts on international human rights law as regards indigenous peoples. You continue to do so here. If you did know anything about human rights law, you would be able to spot the hilarious inconsistencies in your own argument.

For example, you said the Cherokee Nation “filed a complaint with the UN” and that “in order to file a complaint with the U.N., one must have exhausted all local or regional attempts to resolve the problem with the state maintaining jurisdiction, that would be the U.S.” If you would stop and think about it, you should be able to see that you must have some part of that wrong, in that the Cherokee Nation is still part of an ongoing federal court case, so how could they have exhausted all domestic remedies?? It is true that all state legal remedies must be exhausted in order to take a case to the international COURT system, but that is not what the Cherokee Nation did. They provided information to a human rights monitoring body, which is a very different thing. For reasons that are far too complicated to explain here, it is extremely difficult to take the US before an actual international tribunal. No one has done it yet, that I know of, though there are some interesting tests that may be coming up with regards to some actions of the Bush administration. Granted, Congress may not know (or care) much about human rights law, but they know that much.

So you see, Mr. Lee, if you don’t know the difference between an international tribunal and a human rights monitoring body, you really have no business trying to educate anybody here about international law. It’s clearly outside your area of expertise. All Americans have the right, through NGOs, to provide information to a human rights monitoring body as a part of the review process of US compliance with its human rights obligations. But you do have to know what you’re doing and how to do it. And there is one very basic flaw in your premise. That being that international human rights law does not consider that the feds HAVE jurisdiction in a purely internal matter of tribal self-government. They consider that the US has a human rights obligation to UPHOLD tribal autonomy in the exercise of that right. So you are not going to get very far trying to accuse the feds of NOT doing something that international human rights law says they should NOT be doing in the first place! What they can and should do is to facilitate mediation with full and effective participation from all parties. But that supposes willing participation on the part of the tribal governments concerned.

The bottom line is that it is in the interest of all tribal nations to push for the full range of rights guaranteed them in international human rights law, including autonomy in matters of internal self-government. But that also means we must meet the responsibilities that come with those rights. And that means Indian communities holding their tribal governments accountable.

Andrew, I just want to add that you are a very bright and courageous young man. I know your family must be very proud of you.

Allen L. Lee said...

To NDNLady,
If that internal matter of self-governance constitutes a human rights violation, the U.S. would most certainly be expected by the international community to intervene. Read your favorite Declaration and it states several times that a state should take measures to remedy acts of discrimination with-in and outside of Tribes/Nations of peoples
"Article 8
1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress
(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;
(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;
(e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them. "

The dis-enrollments are a form of "forced assimilation or integration" to continue:

...Article 15
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.
2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society"

And most importantly, Article 46, Number 1, sentence 1, word 13 (people)
That would include people known as the Cherokee:
"…Article 46
1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations.
In the exercise of said "peoples" right to self determination, "people" are also held accountable to the same human rights expectations as "states" "groups" and persons as individuals.
To continue:
2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in the present Declaration, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected. The exercise of the rights set forth in this Declaration shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law, and in accordance with international human rights obligations. Any such limitations shall be non-discriminatory and strictly necessary solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for meeting the just and most compelling requirements of a democratic society. "

Number two says "human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected." not just the indigenous ones but "all."

The Cherokee Nation is absolutely not part of Vann v. Kempthorne and the only supposed on-going federal court case that they are involved at this point regarding the Freedmen Descendants is the recently filed case by the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma against Freedmen rights filed Feb, 3, 2009. Makes one wonder, that considering there is a tribal court case addressing the very same issue, why the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma would file a federal complaint in direct opposition to the principle of internal self-determination.
As I said before, any information provided to an international body, be it a tribunal or a monitoring body, needs to be complete and balanced from both sides, and as of yet, that has not happened.

Allen L. Lee said...

Most importantly NDNlady, I would almost gaurantee you that no human rights body would use a racial or genetic barometer to determine which members of an Indigenous peoples is protected by the Declaration and which ones aren't
Allen L. Lee

Phil Cuevas said...

I like being anonymous!!

stand your ground said...


NDNLady said...

Mr. Lee, I know how bad you want to twist anything to mean what you think it means, but all I can say is I’m glad I’ve held to my resolve NOT to drink coffee while reading anything you write. Article 8 says nothing about “with-in”. These are the rights that States must not infringe on or allow anyone else to, i.e. States may not allow these acts of discrimination AGAINST indigenous individuals and peoples. And you will notice that the only individual right contained in Article 8 is the right to be protected against forced assimilation. Meaning the US can no longer kidnap our children and put them in boarding schools or give them away to non-Indian families. Do you even know that this is what the ICWA is about? Not, as you claimed, about the right of a child to be enrolled, but the tribal nation’s right to their enrolled children.

Part 2 lists COLLECTIVE RIGHTS. Read these and everywhere you see “them” or “their”, read Cherokee Nation. AS IN;

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving the Cherokee Nation of its integrity as a distinct people, or of its cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing the Cherokee Nation of its lands, territories or resources; (already happened…twice, once with an able assist from freedmen)
(c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of the Cherokee Nation’s rights; (which would have been the case if we had not been given the right to negotiate our incorporation of the Delaware and Shawnee)
(d) ANY FORM OF FORCED ASSIMILATION OR INTEGRATION (as in Article 9 of the Treaty of 1866 as well as HR 2824)
(e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against the Cherokee Nation. (Which certainly covers the lies and distortions of law and history by the esteemed rep from California, in her bill and in her public statements. It would cover your public inflammatory rhetoric as well. Of course, the US considers even racist hate speech as “free speech”, so it’s legal though no less despicable.)

Of course the human rights and fundamental freedoms of ALL people are to be protected. You just continue to ignore the fact that citizenship in an indigenous nation is NOT a universal human right or fundamental freedom guaranteed to ALL people. Kindly point to one single sentence in the UN Charter that says otherwise. You want to pretend it is, but just because it exists in your imagination does not make it a matter of international law. As noted previously, you cannot cite a single covenant, convention or declaration that the Cherokee Nation is violating, including the UN Charter. If you want to prove me wrong, then do it. Cite the law. Of course, you won’t. If I know you, you’ll simply change the subject and go off on some other equally uninformed tangent.

At the time that the Cherokee Nation provided information to the CERD, they were still very much a part of Vann vs Kempthorne. The point being, of course, that your whole interpretation of the workings of human rights law, including your hilarious scenario of everybody ending up in front of an “international tribunal” was completely inaccurate and misleading.

As far as the Cherokee Nation’s newest filing, it is very much an exercise in self-determination for an Indian tribe to waive immunity when and where they see fit. We do it all the time in order to contract with various businesses in joint undertakings. We’re not asking the court to infringe on our right to determine our citizenship. We’re asking them to look at the legislative supersession of Article 9. Everybody here keeps saying that it is wrong to hide behind sovereign immunity. You keep yammering that we are breaking a treaty. I would think you would be thrilled to have the question answered.

You would “almost guarantee that no human rights body would use a racial or genetic barometer to determine which members of an Indigenous peoples is protected by the Declaration and which ones aren't”? Well, you are right there. But only because no human rights body would dream of taking it upon themselves to determine who is a member of an indigenous people, by any barometer! Any “human rights body” (do you even know what those different monitoring bodies are? They do have names you know) would concern itself with the law and the law only. And the law is very clear. You are not a member of an indigenous people unless that indigenous people says you are. Article 33 "Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity OR membership in accordance with their customs and traditions." So if human rights monitoring bodies are concerned with compliance with the law, and the law says only indigenous peoples can determine their members, why would a monitoring body break their own law? And, here’s a clue. All US indigenous peoples use a racial or genetic barometer. It’s called Indian ancestry or blood quantum.

You have said that the Cherokee Nation exists as a “state” and that the UN has not heard a fair and balanced report. If you are telling the truth, then your path is clear. When the Cherokee Nation comes up for its next periodic review, do your own report to the correct monitoring body, if you can figure out which one that is. I’ll even give you some pointers.
First, you must ground your report thoroughly in the articles of the instrument being monitored. You must cite every infraction you are claiming by the article that guarantees that right. Second, no overblown hysterical rhetoric. No talk about baby killing, stoning to death, rape, ethnic cleansing, etc. Like I said before, that kind of talk will get your report pitched aside in under two paragraphs. Stick to the facts. Use the customary language of international human rights law. Third, every bit of relevant history and law you introduce must be thoroughly cited and documented. And do not omit any relevant history or law. You cannot lie to a UN body. You see, the other side has the right to respond to everything you say and if they can show that you have misrepresented the slightest fact of history or law, your report is completely discredited.

So fire away, Mr. Lee. I personally doubt that you can do any of those things in a shadow report. You can’t even do them on an internet message board.

Luiseno said...

"Article 8 is the right to be protected against forced assimilation."

What else do you call it but forced assimilation, when a few members of your tribe strip you of your citizenship, forcibly remove your children from tribal school (telling you that they can NEVER again return). Denying you the language lesions you had been taking to learn your tribal language. And then inform you to "get on with your life as American Citizens". And to forget ever returning to your tribe again.

I call this forced assimilation, what else can it be? It seems that corrupt members of some tribes have taken up the banner of European colonialism, and are forcing the assimilation and destruction of their culture upon families who have been in the tribe since its very beginnings.

Allen L. Lee said...

"Cherokee Nation Shadow Report to Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Submitted by Principal Chief Chadwick Smith, February 5, 2008
...In noting the language of the Congressional floor debate, damaging misconceptions and
misinformation about the Cherokee Nation, as alleged in HR 2824, were accepted as fact
throughout the discussion. Not one member asserted the right of Cherokee representatives to
fully and effectively participate in a decision which could gravely affect the Nation's ability to
continue to exist as a distinct nation. The obligation of the United States’ government to respect
and uphold the human rights of Indigenous peoples under international human rights law was
never mentioned. Indeed, the words ‘human rights’ were never used. Members of Congress
seemed completely unaware of any obligation in this regard.
It is difficult to imagine that any other group in this country would be subjected to such farreaching
proposals without elected officials of the federal government, at the least, assuming a
‘duty to consult’. Neither a ‘duty to consult’ nor the right of Cherokee leadership to “full and
effective participation”19 in decisions affecting the Cherokee people was recognized."

So if I were to respond to the appropriate "Body" and quote Obama's statement that
"..."Tribal sovereignty must mean that the place to resolve intertribal disputes is the tribe itself," or when When Senator Inouye says,
"“It’s not for me to tell them [tribes] how to run their government,” he told a reporter in a brief interview. “That’s been one of the weaknesses of the American government, trying to tell people what to do.”

and that both tribes actually support the federal governments position in these words, that there would be a descrepancy in the shadow report when it infers that
"The obligation of the United States’ government to respect
and uphold the human rights of Indigenous peoples under international human rights law was
never mentioned."
The truth is that they don't want the U.S. to fully involve itself in the Human Rights of tribes, and as I have mentioned several times before, loss of citizenship is a human rights concern. If the U.S. must be concerned with the human rights of the tribe, it must be equally concerned with the human rights of the tribes individual members per CERD. Inouye refused to speak with the dis-enrollees, no different than the complaint listed in the Cherokee Nation Shadow :
"Has the U.S. government taken any steps to fully and fairly engage in discussion with the
Cherokee Nation, since the intent of HR 2824 is “to sever” the relationship with the U.S.
government until the Nation complies with the requirements of that bill?"
I would ask this as well:
Has the U.S. government taken steps to fully and fairly engage in discussion with the thousands of Indian Country dis-enrollees or offered any sort of mediation between dis-enrollees and tribes to address loss of citizenship in their Indigenous nation?
Neither the Tribes or the U.S. have discussed the human rights aspects that loss of citizenship/membership has on dis-enrollees.
I think Obama's and Inouye's example would give that a negative answer.

'aamokat said...

Right before and after the national elections some Democrats came here and were critical of O.P. for having comics on this page that are sometimes critical of Obama and the Democrats.

Well my anwser was and is still, the Democratic party likes to talk a good game about being the party of civil rights but when it comes to us who have been kicked out of our tribes without any fairness or due process of law, the Democrats are silent.

So I guess it is just business as usual with the Obama administration and the talk of change is just that, talk.

Allen L. Lee said...

"International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX)
of 21 December 1965
entry into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19

The States Parties to this Convention,
Considering that the Charter of the United Nations is based on the principles of the dignity and equality inherent in all human beings, and that all Member States have pledged themselves to take joint and separate action, in co-operation with the Organization, for the achievement of one of the purposes of the United Nations which is to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,...

Article 2
(c) Each State Party shall take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists;...

(d) Each State Party shall prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization;..."

including - legislation, that would make the Diane Watson's e bill the correct action to take.
To continue

"...Article 6
States Parties shall assure to everyone within their jurisdiction effective protection and remedies, through the competent national tribunals and other State institutions, against any acts of racial discrimination which violate his human rights and fundamental freedoms contrary to this Convention, as well as the right to seek from such tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination. ..."


Anonymous said...

Hey Aamokat...why you just mention the Democrats?..I didnt see George Bush or any of his cronie Republicans helping you either..yet OP doesnt post Republican bashing cartoons...which still really ae some of the worst cartoons ever printed...most dont even make sense..yet I am still a huge supporter of this site! ..and I have quit going to Pechanga..which was a weekly trip for me...a very proud democrat!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Aamokat...why you just mention the Democrats?..I didnt see George Bush or any of his cronie Republicans helping you either..yet OP doesnt post Republican bashing cartoons...which still really ae some of the worst cartoons ever printed...most dont even make sense..yet I am still a huge supporter of this site! ..and I have quit going to Pechanga..which was a weekly trip for me...a very proud democrat!!

NDNLady said...

Mr Lee, congratulations for meeting, even exceeding all my expectations! LOL If you were to respond to the appropriate "body" with the statements of Pres Obama and Sen Inouye, they would say "We note with approval these individual federal government representatives' refusal to infringe on the indigenous peoples' right to self-determination." However, it would not change the facts asserted in our report, since neither of these remarks were made in the floor debate which was the subject of that statement! I doubt you noticed but a transcript of the floor debate was provided. And you will note that neither Pres Obama nor Sen Inouye mentioned human rights either.

Self-determination, including the right to full and effective participation, is a COLLECTIVE RIGHT. The one Rep Watson pointedly ignored when she wrote and introduced HR 2824, which, of course, formed the basis of our report. The human rights she ignored are the right of the Cherokee Nation to determine its own identity through its citizenship laws and the right of the Cherokee Nation to participate in any decisions that affect it THROUGH ITS OWN REPRESENTATIVES! No matter how many thousands of individual disenrollees there are, they do not constitute a tribal nation with these collective rights. The US has a "duty to consult" with tribal nations through their governments, not with individuals that those governments do not recognize as members.
Another thing you don't seem to get is that when the US ratifies an international instrument, it is the responsibility of the government to make all branches of government aware of its obligations under that instrument. By ratifying the ICERD, the US accepted that responsibility. As we pointed out, nowhere in all the floor discussions of HR 2824, did the members of Congress seem aware of the fact that such an action clearly violated the government’s human rights obligations under an instrument that Congress itself had ratified. So the government had also failed to educate its own members as to the US obligations under the law.
You keep trumpeting that "loss of citizenship is a human rights concern" but, as I keep pointing out, in order for it to be a "human rights concern", it must violate an actual acknowledged human right protected by human rights law. And the right of an individual to citizenship in an indigenous nation is NOT a universal human right or a fundamental freedom. The question then becomes: Do the individual rights guaranteed in the Declaration apply to someone who self-identifies as "indigenous" but is not recognized by an indigenous nation? The law says that only an indigenous tribal nation has the right to determine its citizens and therefore, who the "individual indigenous rights" protect.
Mr Lee, everyone should have an interest in promoting US compliance with international law regarding actual human rights. The real ones, not the ones that exist only in your imagination. I began learning about international human rights law as regards indigenous peoples almost two years ago, and I have barely scratched the surface of what there is to learn. Nevertheless, I am a passionate believer in human rights education, especially for Indian governments and individuals. But I mean real education. The truth of the law. Not tossing around the phrase “human rights violations” as an emotional manipulation of an issue with no knowledge of or regard for the law as it actually exists.

Oh, by the way, it isn't "racial discrimination" for an Indian nation to determine their citizenship by Indian ancestry. Not by US law or under the provisions of the ICERD. If we enrolled mixed Cherokees with white ancestry but not mixed Cherokees with African-American ancestry, that might be different. Freedmen descendants are not being excluded because of their race but because they don't have the required proof of Indian ancestry. Nice try though. Keep googling and calling it "research".

NDNLady said...

Luiseno, as I have said here before, the Cherokee case and the Pechanga case are very different. The right to be protected against forced assimilation presupposes actions by the member-state (the US) against enrolled tribal citizens, i.e. individuals recognized as citizens by their own indigenous people (Indian nation). If the Pechanga nation does not recognize you as Pechanga, you can’t be forcibly assimilated OUT of a culture the Pechanga nation says you are not entitled to be a part of. On the other hand, you WERE recognized as Pechanga by the Pechanga nation at one time and you can demonstrate clearly that you were active as a Pechanga prior to your disenrollment.

The Declaration says “indigenous individuals have the right to membership in their community or nation, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS OF THE COMMUNITY OR NATION CONCERNED. But it also says only that indigenous people (that Indian nation) has the collective right to determine their members in accordance with their own customs and traditions. So you are saying the US is failing to protect your individual right because they are not violating a collective right. A rock and a hard place.

The right of self-determination means, at its most basic level, the right to choose. Unfortunately, this must also mean the right to make poor choices. So who then becomes responsible for correcting those choices? We do. If we claim those rights but then go clamoring to the federal government to take responsibility to oversee how we exercise them, we perpetuate the abuses that make up our entire history as “domestic dependent nations”, “wards” that have to be cared for and have others decide “what’s best for them.”

Because the cold truth is that the US does not now, nor has it ever, really known or cared about what is “best for us”. I have hope that can change, but I’m reserving judgment for now. Still, I could give you dozens of examples of the ongoing destructions that are currently unfolding in Indian Country as a result of that mentality. We are the last ones who should be buying into it. And frankly, that "overseer policy" enables so many human rights abuses to continue. The ongoing loss of land, resources and lives put before the CERD in detail in several different shadow reports. It’s why the CERD’s Concluding Observations told the US to use the Declaration as a guide even though the US voted against it.

I am only telling you what little I know and certainly, there may be a great deal more that a good human rights attorney could tell you. My point is this: until you actually find out what the law is and how it applies, it is irresponsible to be publicly proclaiming “human rights violations” when you can’t back that up with facts. It cheapens the efforts of so many good people like the Western Shoshone Defense Project, First Peoples Human Rights Coalition, the International Indian Treaty Council and many others who have spent decades working to advance the rights of indigenous peoples in such arenas as reclaiming land lost to illegal encroachments, sacred sites threatened by corporate mining, lives lost to soaring cancer rates from uranium mining, violence against native women due to law enforcement jurisdictional issues and many others.

If we claim the rights FOR Indian Country, we must meet the responsibilities IN Indian Country. That’s all I’m saying. Pushing for federal facilitation of mediation is one thing. Pushing for federal intervention is another.

'aamokat said...

Anonymous, you are right, Bush and the Republicans didn't do anything to help either.

But if I seem to be too hard on the Democrats it is because they like to protray themselves as the party of civil rights but it is only lip service.

Frankly I don't see any difference between the Republicans and the Democrats as they both seem to bow down to the big casino money.

In fact it was a Republican, Darrell Issa, who pushed to have the land that the Pechanga golf course now sits on added to the reservation.

And even after the tribe backed off of a promise not to do any changes to that land, that they were going to keep the land completely open space, Issa said nothing about it and pushed for still one more addition of land for the Pechanga tribe.

Frankly, I don't even like the comics all that much but I don't think it is that big of a deal they are on this page.

This may surprise you, but I am a long time Democrat myself and I have seen the inner workings of at least the California party for many years so I do have some amount of exerience in dealing with them and I expect them to live up to the civil rights party they like to see themselves as.

t'eetilawuncha! said...

NDNLady said...

“If we claim the rights FOR Indian Country, we must meet the responsibilities IN Indian Country. That’s all I’m saying. Pushing for federal facilitation of mediation is one thing. Pushing for federal intervention is another.”

Bravo NDNLady, this is the first attempt if seen from you in trying to find a resolution of injustice. We all agree something should be done, because nothing is being done to curb corruption in tribal governance. The first major step would be other native communities asking how disenrollments of long standing clans from tribes are going to affect our sovereignty.

There is no oversight from within some tribal communities for a fair and impartial hearing, when people’s accusers are their judge and jury. Who is watching to make sure elected officials are following their constitutions and bylaws. People are scared to ask questions in some tribal communities; for fear that they can be outcast with a stroke of a pen.

The true question is, why are we as native people not asking more questions from these tribal communities who are oppressing their people, and forcing assimilation upon tribal elders and entire clans?

NDNLady said...

t'eetilawuncha! This may be the first you've read it, but it's not the first time I've said it! :) I would never dismiss the concerns of the California disenrollees, most especially those that have NOT received anything like due process. It is one of the most important differences between our case and yours. aamokat and I had a conversation on the first thread I posted on here about the need for an intertribal forum in which in which Indian Country could mediate disputes without seeking federal oversight. And instead of seeking Congressional intervention in internal matter of self-governance, we should all be demanding that the US establish a National Human Rights Commission. Other countries have them. There is a wide range of issues brought before human rights monitoring bodies every time the US has a periodic review, from both minority populations and indigenous peoples. Why won't America face up to these issues and establish a vehicle for addressing them??

I said the first time I posted here that I cannot make a judgement on the Pechanga disenrollment issue because I do not have all the facts. But I can say with certainty that these things should never happen without due process. Someone should certainly hear the facts and render a judgement. I have just said that it should be us, not the feds. For all the reasons I've outlined above.

Allen L. Lee said...

to t'eetilawuncha!

t'eetilawuncha said
"The true question is, why are we as native people not asking more questions from these tribal communities who are oppressing their people, and forcing assimilation upon tribal elders and entire clans?"

My point as well. I find it quite embarrassing that the leaders in this issue are the Congressional Black Caucus, while the Congressional Native American Caucus, The National Congress of the American Indian, NARF, and a host of Native leaders with-in the BIA are silent or inactive or actually condone the practice in the name of tribal sovereignty.
As I said tribal sovereignty isn't the problem, corruption is, and that has to be addressed by all involved, the U.S. is involved.
Perhaps the Indian organizations haven't understood the point that the dis-enrollments are more than a Black victim v. Indian victim issue.
I think for the most part they felt that they needed to take racial sides, and that has hindered their recognition of the total problem and possible solutions, but the California dis-enrollments happened at about the same time or slightly before the Cherokee issue, and Indian organizations had ample time to respond to the issue independent of the CBC, and as of yet, we know what has been done.

NDNLady said...

LOL Yeah, if the Congressional Native American Caucus was trying to pass legislation full of lies and distored history which adds up to one big human rights violation, I'd be quite embarassed too. And I'd be writing them daily to express my disapproval.

Allen L. Lee said...

To NDNLady,

You should have been written the Congressional Native American Caucus anyway, telling them your version of the truth with regards to the thousands of other Indian dis-enrollees who need a vehicle of mediation to restore their rights. We know you don't believe non-indians in the racial sense possess any tribal rights, but the racial Indians that you sympathize with in California who have been dis-possessed, Write them a truthful letter about Bob Foreman and Sophia Madariaga. If you don't know about what happened to them than it's time for you to learn.
It's on this site.
I find it hard to believe the descendant of a White captive incorporated into an indigenous tribe would all of sudden loose their tribal identity perhaps 100 years later because they are descendants of non-indigenous people. The only saving grace would be that one non-indigenous ancestor copulated with an indigenous person before the descendant was born, not quite the stuff of logical human rights.

NDNLady said...

Mr. Lee, I believe I have made it quite clear that I do not support Congressional intervention into tribal self-governance. It's a clear violation of international human rights law. Having written many letters objecting to it in the Cherokee case, it would be hypocritical to turn around and support it in another. I realize that might not bother you, but it would me. I would support efforts on the part of the administration to effect mediation. I think that would be the fastest and most effective route for all the California disenrollees.

As I have said countless times, human rights are protected by the laws as they exist whether you find it logical or not. And the law is clear that that would be up to the individual indigenous nation to decide, since the right to determine citizenship is a right protected by an actual law. Not by one of your imaginary ones.

'aamokat said...

NDNLady said, "And the law is clear that that would be up to the individual indigenous nation to decide, since the right to determine citizenship is a right protected by an actual law. Not by one of your imaginary ones."

But what if an individual indigenous nation such as Pechanga decides that they are going to ignore the abuse of rights that violate their own constitution?

We can document that members of the tribe's enrollment committee were accused of not doing their duty by members of the now disenrolled families.

The allegations included, among other things, not enrolling family members who met the Band's requirments who were direct descendants of legally enrolled tribal members.

Regardless if the allegations were true or not, we can also document that the enrollment committee and the tribal council were asked to have the accused enrollment committee members not be allowed to rule on the disenrollees' cases due to bias and conflict of interest.

But those enrollment committee members were still allowed to rule on the disenrollees cases and they voted to disenroll.

Again, as I have said many times and I will continue to say, that is a violation of Article V of the Band's constitution forbidding malice or predjudice against individual tribal members.

No other tribes or Indian civil rights groups, with the exception of those that have been started by some of the disenrolless themselves, will get involved.

They all seem to feel, as I have told you before, that sovereignty is the end all of Indian rights.

I like your idea about using an intertribal intermediary or even a U.S. government intermediary, but so far no one seems to want to get involved.

So what are we to do?

NDNLady said...

'aamokat, not to be blunt, but sovereignty IS the be-all and end-all of our rights. I prefer the term self-determination, only because it carries with it a entire list of areas in which "our right to choose" is protected. But they both, in essence, mean the right to determine for ourselves. What is the point of securing rights for your descendants in a tribal nation at the price of continuing a federal policy that says the US government can cripple those rights at will? That said, NO ONE has a right to perpetuate government corruption.

I'm sorry that I don't know more about your particulars, but I take it that Pechanga does not have a court system in which you can pursue your case? Is there no "community will" to demand accountability for the committee's actions? Can your allegations be proven, not just documentation that they were made? All of those things would be critical to making any kind of human rights determination as well.

As I told you before, President Obama seems determined to have an administration that "thinks outside the box" and nowhere is this more evident than in his decision to create a White House liason for Indian Country. That person has not yet been named but as soon as the liason is appointed, I would begin a mailing campaign asking for a mediation process. While the California disenrollees do not constitute a tribal government in and of themselves, there is strength in numbers.

The problems with trying to press a human rights claim are multi-faceted. First, as I say, is how to hold the US responsible for failing to protect individual rights because they are correctly refusing to violate a collective right. Everyone I have talked to has a different opinion on the likelihood of achieving any benefit, but all agree it is very complicated, therefore, time-consuming and probably expensive. Just at a cost/benefit analysis, it isn't likely to be the most productive way to go. The Western Shoshone Defense Project has achieved some stunning successes with human rights mechanisms, but they have been working for years and yearsm, and the US just blithely continues to ignore them.

The human rights movement is progress by tiny increments, moving in slow motion. Anyone working it this arena has to be completely satisfied to know that they may never see the fruits of their labor, but that their grandchildren will.

That said, I think that even if pressing a human rights claim in the UN mechanisms isn't best for your personal case (like I said earlier, the next US review opportunity isn't till 2010 or 2011), pressing the feds to recognize and implement the Declaration is something all Indian people should be doing. That and demanding that they establish a US human rights commission, which certainly would more accessible. For everybody.

'aamokat said...

Yes, the allegations can be proven but regardless if the committee members in question committed the offenses they were originally accused of, they never should have been allowed to vote on our disenrollment cases according to Pechanga's own constitution.

I have said this it seems like 100 times but here I go again, the Band's constitution says that elected officials are to uphold an individual tribal member's rights without malice or predjudice.

It is simply this, suppose I accuse you wrong doing and your are on the enrollment committee and then you are my judge in charge of determining if I am to retain my tribal citizenship.

Should you be allowed to rule on my case or should you have to step aside and let someone who has no personal interest hear my case?

I would say no way you should be allowed to rule on my fate and no real court of law would put up with that.

By allowing biased, predjudice people to rule on my family's disenrollment case is pure malice and predjudice in violation of the Band's constitution but the tribal council and enrollment committee ignored their constitution in allowing them to vote on us.

No, we don't have a court system.

And no, I don't believe sovereignty is the end all of Indian rights and I am sure you would be seeing things differently if it was your rights as an individual that were violated.

If the individual has no rights, then no one has any rights!

I do hope you as an individual doesn't have to go through what we have gone through but if it ever does happen to you, then you will see more clearly what I am talking about.

Luiseno said...

NDNLady said..."I take it that Pechanga does not have a court system in which you can pursue your case? Is there no "community will" to demand accountability for the committee's actions?"

No Pechanga does not have a court system, and yes there was a community will to stop what was happening. The Tribe as a whole overwhelmingly voted to stop all disenrollments (including ours). But meeting in secret behind locked doors guarded by armed guards, the Council decided to over turn the vote of the people and disenroll us anyways, saying the General Membership had no authority to determine membership issues (an outright lie). Now with the two largest voting blocks gone from the tribe, everyone is afraid to do anything.

NDNLady said...

'aamokat, simply because I don't believe in supporting efforts that undermine sovereignty, that doesn't mean I believe individual rights can be ignored. I would never say that. By our constitution, neither the chief nor the council could overturn something that was put to a vote in a referendum. We did have a chief that tried to fire the entire court in the nineties, but he was voted out in the next election. That was a big mess. If you don't have a court system, you don't have a viable government, imo. But you should be able to take it to federal court then if you have no available tribal forum. What does your constitution say about citizenship laws? Is there a provision to revise the constitution to amend your constitution? to create courts? Do you have the ability to call a constitutional convention? Well, I mean not the disenrollees, but the general membership?

'aamokat said...

Yes, the Pechanga constitution does have a provision to amend it and since the General Membership is the final governing authority, according to the Band's constitution, the membership can establish a tribal court but they haven't done so.

The appeal process is to the tribal council to see what the attitude of the enrollment committee was in their handling of our case.

But even though we had very viable reasons for asking certain individuals on the enrollment committee to step aside due to bias against us, the council and the committee ignored our requests.

Also, a tribal councilman is the son of one of the enrollment committee members in question and the nephew of another committee member.

So he should have been asked to step aside from ruling on our case also.

By the way, our appeal was turned down by a one vote simple majority and the decision against us on the enrollment committee had a two vote simple majority.

So since there were three enrollment committee members who couldn't be counted on to come up with an unbiased decision, I don't believe we would not have been disenrolled in a fair hearing.

It is the duty of all tribal officials to uphold the constitution of the Band, according to the Band's constitution.

But what are we supposed to do when they don't uphold it?

There is a recall provision but if tribal members had tried to recall them because of what was done to us, the disenrollees, I would bet those people may very well have become targets for disenrollment themselves.

But even if we tell some people from other tribes everything we are saying here, they still blindly follow the sovereignty line.

So we are forced to go to outside courts but so far, because of jurisdiction, no one will hear our cases.

There is a local intertribal court but Pechanga won't be a part of it as everything is their internal business and it is no business of not only non Indians, but also, according to Pechanga, it is no business of other Indians as well.

Why does the Band allow these things to go on?

Well, as Luiseno pointed out, those decisions were done in secret behind closed doors without the knowledge of the General Membership.

A lot of the General Membership still doesn't know what happened to us.

The General Membership had voted in July 2005 to outlaw disenrollment but the tribal council didn't inform the membership that my family wasn't included in the new law until March 2006, only two days before we received our letters informing us we were out of the tribe.

One of the reasons the council gave for not allowing my family to be included in the new law was they claimed that the General Membership couldn't overrule enrollment committee decisions to enroll or disenroll.

Which isn't true because the final governing authority, according to teh Band's constitution, is the General Membership.

In fact twenty years previous the General Membership had voted to overrule an enrollment committee decision not to enroll the family of a current sitting tribal councilman.

This is a clear tribal legal precedent and current councilman Russell "Butch" Murphy is living proof that the general membership is the final authority on enrollment issues.

Our friend here, Mr. Lee, coined the phrase, "Pechanga's Murphy's Law and it does show we should still be in the tribe.

Allen L. Lee said...

It's good to read a healthy discussion between Pechanga dis-enrollees and NDNLADY. I've tried to avoid making a comment because other topics are also germane to this issue.
However a brief response to the issue of federal intervention.
A government should not assign a citizenship to an individual against their will, and no government has the authority to force another government to accept citizens against their will. The placement of political exiles from troubled nations is one of negotiation, not force.
If the federal government recognizes "rights" violations in some of the dis-enrollments, then I believe they should take such measures of negotiation necessary to see that those people wrongfully removed from their tribes are re-patriated. I don't see that any more an offense of intervention than I see the Indian Child Welfare Act an offense of intervention. Had the Interior Dept. taken such measures instead of saying "none of our business, internal matter," Congress would not be involved in considering enforcement legislation to bolster the Indian Civil Rights Act.
I personally don't see severing relations with a tribe the same as forced intervention. Federal troops won't manage Cherokee voting booths and make sure Freedmen descendant votes are counted at every election. Severing relations is a refusal to recognize a governing body. The U.S. could always choose to recognize a tribal governing body friendlier to it's interest, especially with regards to Reconstruction treaties, but that would still omit a population of Cherokee people that must be included in any negotiations with the total sovereign nation.
I think there is a contradiction between federal jurisdiction and severing relations that can't be reconciled.
My view is that any negotiations between the federal government and tribes under it's jurisdiction that have committed wrongful dis-enrollments should include an evaluation as to what the tribe has done to re-patriate those who have been wrongfully dis-enrolled.
I definitely believe there are rightful grounds for dis-enrollment and banishment, both in traditional and contemporary terms.
An example would be a tribal grad student who publishes tribal secrets in their paper in order to get a degree. That to me is an act of treason that is grounds for removal of citizenship in modern terms.
As for "conquered and displaced,"
several of us in this country find our histories defined by that phrase. At this point as, long as the federal government maintains jurisdiction, we should focus on what corrective measures the federal government has claimed they will do to ameliorate the effects of the conquering and displacement.
Very few indigenous "peoples" exist as autonomous governing bodies separate from Nation/States.
That to me is one of the things UNDRIP is attempting to address, the balance of power between Nation/States and Indigenous political sovereignty. I don't read anything in UNDRIP that provides for indigenous peoples to engage in human rights violations that states are forbidden to do including racial or genetic
The dis-enrollees are refugees forced from their indigenous nation. As stated in the Cherokee
Freedmen post on this site, "UNHCR takes the position that:1) human rights norms - rather than culture - should
guide the determination of whether a harm is persecution; "
The right of distinctiveness mentioned in UNDRIP does not provide for racial persecution with-in tribes. The U.S. can and should take an interest in assisting tribal refugees in becoming re-patriated into their indigenous nations without regards to their genetic or racial ancestry. And as our Maori author states, "
"Blood" or "bloodedness" is a totally spurious notion used only by white people, very often to denigrate those who choose to live within non-white cultural frameworks. In Aotearoa / New Zealand at least, it is a tired old racist notion that refuses to lie down and die.”
Unfortunately, in the U.S. it is not only used by Whites, but by indigenous people as well.
Indian “peoples” in America could do themselves and the rest of the indigenous world a greater service if they would follow the suggestion of this Maori author and just let the “Blood” thing go.

Allen L. Lee

NDNLady said...

'aamokat, how was the referendum worded? Were the disenrollment proceedings against your family already in motion? Were existing cases mentioned in the referendum? The reason I ask is because in our court, it is presumed that a new constitution or amendment is not "retro-active", that is it does not apply to legislations, elections etc that happened prior to its implementation. I'm trying to figure out if that is what your council is claiming as a justification for going ahead with your case even after the vote. Not that I think that would be right. Just trying to see their "legal" reasoning. I'm trying to guess at what they mean by saying the membership vote did not "overturn" the committee vote. Can I ask what court declined jurisdiction?

As far as your feeling that other tribes "blindly" follow sovereignty? You really need to think about this. I was planning to make a post later on another thread about it. Tribal nations don't "blindly" do anything when it comes to sovereignty. The preservation of our right to self-determination or "sovereignty" is the only reason the Pechanga tribe exists, no matter how badly you perceive them to be failing you. Sovereignty is not failing you. Individuals, who out of greed have chosen to ignore the responsibility that comes with that right, they are the ones who are failing you. There is no doubt that the responsibility is greater for elected officials but all tribal citizens have a share in the collective responsibility that comes with that collective right. They are not living up to their responsibility out of greed. Do not let yourself be blinded to your responsibility out of bitterness and anger. By making assaults on "sovereignty" the focus of your attempts to see justice, you separate yourself from the very real efforts of the majority of tribal leaders who are far more concerned with strengthening it than attacking it.

This is an excerpt from a call from 32 tribal leaders to the new President:

"For Native Americans, Obama is the hope for a New Day when America honors Native American human rights and respects the sovereignty of Native nations."

Luiseno said...

NDNLady said... "Were the disenrollment proceedings against your family already in motion? ... The reason I ask is because in our court, it is presumed that a new constitution or amendment is not "retro-active", that is it does not apply to legislations, elections etc that happened prior to its implementation. I'm trying to figure out if that is what your council is claiming as a justification for going ahead with your case even after the vote. Not that I think that would be right. Just trying to see their "legal" reasoning. I'm trying to guess at what they mean by saying the membership vote did not "overturn" the committee vote.

Yes our disenrollment was started before the vote was made to stop all dissenrollments. When asked if the vote to stop all dissenrollments would cover the Hunters, the Council answered "all means all". The People voted to STOP the Hunters dissenrollment, and the Council (months after the General Membership meeting, and after canceling all further tribal meetings), said that the membership had no right to make enrollment decisions, that only the enrollment committee had that ability (an out right lie, as the General Membership is supposed to have total and final say over any and all matters pertaining to the Tribe.

But maybe I should let 'aamokat answer, as the question was directed to him and not to me...

NDNLady said...

No, thanks for answering, Luiseno. I appreciate it. I have made no bones about my lack of knowledge of the CA disenrollees situations. My concern here has been the continued misrepresentations of the Cherokee issue and the distortions of indigenous rights under international human rights law. I may have begun learning about human rights in relation to our right to determine our citizenship, but you rapidly learn that it affects all tribes. And that's what you have to care about if you continue to stay involved.

Having exhausted all remedies internally, have your tried to file in federal court?

'aamokat said...

Yes, Luiseno answered your question about the law outlawing disenrollment.

As far as have we filed in federal court?

Yes some of our family members have filed in federal court but so far our tribe uses the sovereignty line and the federal judges so far will not hear the merits of our cases.

The other family line who was disenrolled from Pechanga took their case all the way to one step away from the Supreme Court of the United States but the high court, while they didn't turn down the merits of the case, wouldn't hear it as it is very hard to get into the highest court in the land.

Every federal judge who has looked at our cases has said that we have very good merits but it is getting past the jurisdiction issue that is the stumbling block.

All the California tribes ever do is cite sovereignty and they never, so far, have had to defend the merits of the disnerollments.

Consider the case of the Foreman family in Redding, Ca in which the Redding tribe disenrolled them in spite of the fact that the Foremans have conclusive DNA evidence that they belong to their tribe that would stand up in any real court of law but no outside court will hear the merits of their case..

If there is an assault on tribal sovereignty across the U.S. by the federal government we can blame some of the powerful California gaming tribes because they are the ones who hide behind sovereignty in carrying out their injustices.

Luiseno said...

"'aamokat said...
If there is an assault on tribal sovereignty across the U.S. by the federal government we can blame some of the powerful California gaming tribes because they are the ones who hide behind sovereignty in carrying out their injustices.

It is a common practice for evil and corrupt people to hide behind precious and sacred places and ideals while doing there nefarious and evil deeds. Wether these be buildings, an innocent persons home, or even a precious idea or belief. Such is the case also with tribal sovereignty, with little regard for such a precious right, they take advantage of the safety and comfort that it offers to wreck havoc, to plunder and destroy innocent Indian lives.

Allen L. Lee said...

NDNLady said...
"Mr Lee,
…The question then becomes: Do the individual rights guaranteed in the Declaration apply to someone who self-identifies as "indigenous" but is not recognized by an indigenous nation?"
February 22, 2009 5:03 PM

My answer:
The question actually involves the rights of tribal members previously recognized by the tribe and removed. These persons rights exceed those of persons engaged in self- identification. Anyone can self-identify themselves as indigenous whether they are tribal members or not. The entire issue of dis-enrollment focuses on a prior “tribal recognition of the individual,” not merely self-identification.
Allen L. Lee

'aamokat said...

Me. Lee and NDNLady, but there are also people who have the same qualifications for tribal membership as people who are in their tribes have but who are kept out of their tribes through moratoriums on new tribal members.

These people, who are of the same line of direct descent as enrolled tribal members, are not recognized by their tribes.

At Pechanga, which says in the Band's constitution that open enrollment is supposed to be every January, there are hundreds of qualified people being kept out of their tribe.

I am not talking about the disenrolled here as the Pechanga tribe recognizes these people's line of descent and that these people meet the Band's enrollment requirments but the Band does not recognize these people individually.

These people also have more of right to be called indigenous than people who self indentify as such.

So we can't use whether one's tribe recognizes someone or not as the sole means of indenfifying indigenous people.

Allen L. Lee said...

Hello 'aamokat,
I do understand your point about people not previously recognized by a nation possessing all the nessecary qualification to become a citizen but denied or ignored the opportunity to become a citizen by the nation. In my opinion, what they don't have is the inherent right that a person officially recognized by the nation has, unless that nation has a traditional or contemporary law, code, etc, that states that by- blood (nationality, not race)descendants have automatic rights of citizenship from a specified or unspecified timeline of ancestors.
Of course I'm only speculating that you are discussing an issue of descendancy, you may be talking about people who have devoted all their lives to the nation and never been recognized, regardless of blood history.
An example is that the descendants of former American slaves who escaped to Canada and still have American citizens relatives who either remained in the U.S. after the Civil War or returned soon after the war ended, can not claim a right of U.S. citizenship today.
They have become Canadian citizens by birth and any rights to U.S. citizenship would have to be by naturalization, not ancestry.
Most tribes have a similar rule that you can not be a member of two tribes at the same time.

My thoughts about disenrolled people are that either the U.S. assert a "right to return" for dis-enrolled people or they began a procedure to recognize the disenrolled as a separate and distinct sovereign with the same rights of self-determined sovereignty that they possessed before they were disenrolled.
This might answer the question of thoise qualified applicants who you feel deserve to be part of your nation.
Anyhow, back to the subject of Canada, I submit this intersting excerpt about Canadian citizenship. Of course the first part bolsters my argument against the dis-enrollments. I think after reading several of the posts on this site that you may have some argument as to the denial of citizenship and a breach of human rights law. The last section addresses the issue of a person having no control over what their ancestors did or were and not holding the citizen accountable. I discussed that in another post but I'd have to go back and find it:

"Study on Loss of Canadian Citizenship for the years 1947, 1977 and 2007
Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM)
Submitted by Jason Gratl, President and Christina Godlewska, Articled Student
Appearing as Witnesses: March 26, 2007
...Loss or denial of citizenship status, where it unfairly makes a person stateless, is
moreover a breach of international human rights law...

...If this seems like a legal nicety or slight of hand, consider the following analogy.ix
Imagine that up to sixty years ago, there was black slavery in Canada, and there was a
law that ‘only those born free’ could be citizens. Then, sixty years ago (in this scenario),
slavery was abolished and former slaves were issued citizenship cards which they had
every reason to believe granted them Canadian citizenship status for life. Finally, thirty
years ago, the Citizenship Act was amended to rectify the fact that the children of slaves
had continued to be denied citizenship after emancipation. Unfortunately, due to a
legislative oversight underwritten by lingering prejudice, those who were born before
emancipation technically remained excluded from citizenship. Eight years later, a
‘Charter of Rights’ came into force, prohibiting discrimination.

Would we want to say to the 65 year old black pensioner: ‘although we now believe that
racial discrimination and slavery are offensive and injurious, since the laws which
disqualified you from citizenship on the basis of racial discrimination predate our Charter
of Rights, we will nonetheless, today, still deny you citizenship because you once were a
slave?’ Would this decision not be a contemporary act of discrimination? How could
anyone fail to see this as a perpetuation of the kind of injustice which we, as a nation of
Canadian citizens, claim to have forsworn?
In the same way, individuals today are being told that their status as the child or
grandchild of a person born ‘out of wedlock’ is the reason for being refused citizenship,
despite the fact that, like race, ‘legitimacy’ is a state-of-being determined at birth and
over which the individual in question has no control.x These laws, when their
contemporary application is subjected to Charter scrutiny, have been found to be
discriminatory and unjust.xi

Take care, Allen

Allen L. Lee said...

Hello 'aamokat again,
I just wanted to reflect on a few considerations for those not yet recognized.
I think it would be prudent for tribes in some capacity to consider an applicant based on the history of forced relocation and assimilation of indigenous peoples. Typically once a person voluntarily relinquishes their citizenship, the “nation has no further responsibility to recognize the individual as a citizen, but in the case of Native Americans, while voluntarily denouncing a tribal identity may have happened , being forced to denounce a tribal identity is a well established historical fact. We know there was no pre-existing sovereign Luiseno tribe before Spanish missionization , as Luiseno is attributed to the San Luis Rey Mission near Oceanside and we know there was no pre-existing sovereign Seminole nation before European contact, the term Seminole is an adapted word derived from the Spanish “Cimarron” roughly translating to “wild people.” the term “maroon” as in escaped slave maroon colonies in South America also come from the same word “Cimarron.” My point being that forced relocation and assimilation had a severe impact on self determination of native peoples and tribes might perhaps consider this when qualifying an applicant.
As for extended families. It is generally considered the correct humanitarian thing to do that when a nation excepts a refugee or citizen as an individual the nation is encouraged to accept all members of the immediate family as well. This is one of the arguments I have with the Santa Clara Pueblo v Martinez rationale. For tribes, families are often defined by clan identities, and there is no reason why tribes have to stick to the interpretation of the immediate family for humanitarian purposes, they could go further and accept an extended family as a clan. The least I would hope of tribes is that they could meet the standard of recognizing an immediate family when an individual is recognized as a member/citizen. removing entire families and clans based on the status of one individual, well you already know how I feel about that, especially if that individual no longer leaves footprints on this earth.

As you know I always like to contribute excerpts. This one covers the forced assimilation and relocation issue of the Pechanga people fairly well and is from pre-Casino 1974. I find it interesting because of it’s purported census of Pechanga.:

“Temecula History
Temecula Native American History
Temecula Indian Eviction
Pechanga Indian History through the 1970s
by Tom Hudson
…The years have passed. Most of the Indians who once lived on the Pechanga Reservation have moved away and blended into the white society that dominates the country surrounding the little valley. A recent census of Indian Reservations gave the population of 4,125-acre Pechanga as seventeen. It has been almost a century since the Temecula Indians were driven to their new home, yet there is little change in the appearance of the land, for the Indians have always venerated Mother Earth and have preferred not to change her….

High Country Magazine #29, Summer 1974. Reprinted with permission.
Copyright 2009 Temecula-California.com:”

Allen L. Lee said...

A additional excerpt to from the thread author regarding families:
"“Anonymous said...
My name is Andrew, and I am the UCLA graduate student who addressed Sen. Dorgan regarding the growing number of tribal disenrollments taking place in California and across the United States. …

…In my remarks I tried to make the connection that families make up clans, clans in turn make up a tribe, “
February 17, 2009 11:30 PM"