Monday, March 30, 2009

Dry Creek Pomos Consider Limits on Free Speech

The Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo, locked in controversy over the ouster of some of its tribal members, meets today to take up a proposed code of conduct that restricts the ability of tribal members to demonstrate and speak out against the leadership.

Critics contend it goes too far and abridges freedom of speech. Others say it’s no different than a business that has the right to restrict interference with its operations, or picketers on its property.

Leaders of the tribe say they are trying to protect tribal meetings and business, particularly River Rock Casino, from being disrupted by the actions of protesters. But tribal members who have been disenrolled or who are threatened with being cast out of the 970-member tribe, say the code of conduct is an attempt to quash dissent and a tool for the Dry Creek Rancheria board of directors to hold onto power.

“It’s one of the latest mechanisms to place people in fear, said Liz De-Rouen, a former chairwoman of the tribe who was kicked out this month after 26 years as a member. They don’t want the truth out there.

Chairman Harvey Hopkins denied that the board is trying to stifle free speech, and said the intent is to keep tribal meetings and revenues from being disrupted.

“Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, as long as it doesn’t impede the business being created for the general membership, Hopkins said.

He acknowledged that the proposed code of conduct could apply to tribal dissidents demonstrating anywhere in San Francisco for example and not just at the casino near Geyserville, as they did a month ago, or the tribal offices in Healdsburg, as they did two weeks ago.

Hopkins said the board already has wide-ranging powers to discipline tribal members, but the new code of conduct is intended for the tribal membership to more clearly define the violations.

Under the proposed ordinance, tribal members could be subject to banishment and fines if their actions demean or otherwise injure the reputation and image of the tribe or any tribal operation.


Anonymous said...

Wow..thats not freedom of speach...they are in effect telling people what they can and cant talk did the tribes become the chosen ones all of a sudden?...oh thats right..they now have money from the casinos...and with money comes power,,,which will also be their downfall...greed and corruption will destroy the tribes much faster than any "white-man" ever did...i just hope that the tribes are ready for the fall....
GAMBLING FOR ALL IN CALFORNIA SOON..not just tribal land...

NDN News said...

Since when can a Tribe banish members if their action demean the Tribe? Sounds like goon tactics to me! This is absurd, do they banish drug dealers and criminals on the rez that "demean" their Tribe by their illegal actions?

The Tribe has no jurisdiction on freedom of speech, which is a persons first amendment right.

It is interesting that they ousted a past Tribal Prez, so she was good enough to manage the Tribe at one time, now they claim she is not a Tribal member there?

Tribal disenrollment is today's genocide.

It is bad enough that we continue to fight for our rights and what we are entitled to with the government, why continually fight each other? Today we continue to be suppressed, ignored and our cultures disrespected. The continual division in Indian Country over tribal gaming, dis-enrollment issues and blood quantum issues could ultimately destroy us. If everyone would unite as one people, one nation, we would become stronger and more powerful. This would be a step forward in ensuring as Indian people we don’t loose our ways, or let them succeed in the pursuit of Native People's extinction.

Stand strong everyone, you have alot of support behind the cause!

'aamokat said...

This is what people who support sovereignty at all costs are defending even if they don't see it.

The costs include taking away people's freedom of speech and denying them due process of law

Yet some will blame the victims and not the perpetrators.

I believe that if one individual is sacrificed at the evil god that sovereignty at all costs has become then sovereignty means nothing.

At Pechanga, Article V of the tribal constitution and bylaws states:


Noble sounding words and I am sure the Dry Creek Pomos also have a constitution with equally profound words.

But unless tribes abide by these noble words, then the words are meaningless.

I suggest an intertribal United Nations of Indian tribes accross United States terrritories that chastize and sanction those tribes that violate their people's rights.

With this intertribal U.N. in place, then the United States government would not have to intervene in these rights abuses that are occuring over and over again in tribe after tribe.

And yes I believe that upholding the individual rights of each tribal member would include freedom of speech.

However, until such a time that a U.N. of Indian nations is in place, what are the oppressed to do in the meantime?

At this time the only avenue seems to be the oppressed demanding that their constitutional rights as American citizens be upheld, which the Indian Civil Rights Act is supposed to guarantee.

'aamokat said...

To those who are in tribes who are not violating their rights and who are concerned that the erosion of their tribe's sovereignty could happen because of what some rouge governments from other tribes are doing, I say, insist your tribal leaders speak out against rights abuses in other tribes and do so yourself.

But unless that happens, then you have nothing to say about the issue.

All I know is we aren't going to take it anymore and yes we were and still are American citizens with rights and are the victims of sovereignty abuse and not the cause of the possible erosion of tribal sovereignty.

cideways said...

Wow, it's amazing that these people believe this way. Whether your on tribal land or off, whether your a member or not, you can hold an opinion and speak your thoughts! We're in AMERICA! But these tribal "leaders" are really taking themselves too seriously, you have a political office in an Indian tribe. Since when does that mean "You" decide what people can or can not say. These so-called "tribal leaders" are the bottom of the barrel.

Allen L. Lee said...

The intent of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was that Indian gaming must be used:
"to fund tribal government operations or programs; to provide for the general welfare of the tribe and its members; to promote tribal economic development; to donate to charitable organizations; or to help fund operations of local government agencies. "

It doesn't say that the funds can be used to restrict or remove the rights of tribal members. Restricting free speech doesn't sound like the general welfare of the tribe or it's members.
If it's being tied to casino operations and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, it is yet another federally regulated issue that belongs on the desk of the Dept of the Interior or the U.S. Attorney General.

Anonymous said...

Lizzie de Roen is in her forties or fifties, the reason she was not eligible to even BE the chair was she was enrolled elsewhere for benefits and that is against the Dry Creek Articles for membership.

SHE also had "the peace and protection act" which was a Nazi-esque don't talk and even called the police on a member for having balloons tied to her car, They did not even say anything.

Those who are being asked to leave are those where were listed in an extensive and expensive audit as having not ever been Native Amerian, those who were step children and not Pomo, and those who were not Dry Creek or had enrolled elsewhre.

Lizzie de Rouen had the nerve to call people racist names, block cars and say Harvey has been corrupt. Millions of dollars have not been accounted for from her regime, and the next step is a fiscal audit of the years that have been in contention since she elected herself in an off rez election with these ineligible persons, hired a law firm or two to hold everyone at bay.

Her Grandmother was only half Dry Creek, her father a quarter, she is only an eighth. She had the nerve to bulldoze the rez, and use persons in shirts marked tribal police to use guns to throw half members off land that belonged to their family for decades, without one legal paper to the family members.

They would not have known if a tv video magazine had not publicized it, those thrown off did not want to cause more hatred and hoped to resolve the issues within Dry Creek, instead, one of them was disenrolled with no reason at all except her refused to leave land Lizzie said in the tv newsmagazine needed to be vacated because sometimes business takes precedence.

Respect of our Elders, and respect of our nation is at the top of our traditions, none of these people have honored this.

We have tried to work out a mediation to have a referendum to keep benefits for many of those who actually have no claim, just because they were kids and had no idea of what their parents were up to.

Rez hopping to take benefits, without being part of the hard work and helping of a rez is nothing except welfare cheating, and many of the older persons who did this dragged their kids and step kids along into this mess.

Their response to a request to mediate: Go back to Idaho Whitey. That is what they said when we were raised on the rez and one of our siblings and his children were all still living there on our Dad's ranch.

What has happened at other rez's is what we fought off, and now those who harmed everyone else want to squeal unfair when they themselves have to face up to the law, not just the meanness they put on others.

Allen L. Lee said...

To Anonymous April 5, 2009 11:31 PM

Thanks for stating your position. It's a little late for me to discuss anything, but I hope to write a response tomorrow.
Allen L. lee

Allen L. Lee said...

Hello Anonymous April 5, 2009 11:31 PM,
I've read your statement carefully and would like to discuss the points made.
I won't use the name of the person mentioned since I don't know that person, but will try to stick to the topics.
First, I will disqualify the age race sex of the person mentioned as not being relevant to a consideration of dis-enrollment/de-citizening. Your point of dual enrollment has a lot of merit to it though. Most tribes do not permit dual enrollment and most nation/states do no like dual citizenship. That is a perfectly understandable and acceptable argument, with a few exception.
One of the biggest exceptions is that your tribe knew that this person was still enrolled with another tribe? and still recognized the person as a citizen.
There are three main acts which generally allow a nation to remove someones citizenship, they are High crimes and treason against the state, voluntary relinquishment of citizenship by the individual, and fraud to obtain citizenship. The fact that your tribe already new the dual enrollment info a recognized the person anyway eliminates the fraud component. Treason is generally an act taken on behalf of an enemy state by one of your own citizens, and voluntary relinquishment is self-explanatory. I don't see any of the nessecary acts to justify dis-enrolling the person stated in your post. Embezzlement of a nation/tribes funds for personal gain isn't a high enough crime for loss of citizenship, unless you can prove that the embezzled money was given to an enemy nation/tribe against known tribal law.

Anonymous stated:
"Her Grandmother was only half Dry Creek, her father a quarter, she is only an eighth. She had the nerve to bulldoze the rez, and use persons in shirts marked tribal police to use guns to throw half members off land that belonged to their family for decades, without one legal paper to the family members."

This is the hard yet clear part of the problem. It is unacceptable for anyone to do such things to recognized people of a tribe/nation. This person who I will not use the name of committed a grevious human rights violation if the words in the preceding quote are true. It can not be condoned yet can not be corrected by an equal measure of dis-enrollment. There probabaly are other internal tribal or inter-tribal solutions that would serve the purpose of correcting such wrongs other than perpetuating the wrong because some feel the person deserves to know what it feels like. Half, quarter, one eighth blood, half members? Everyone on this board who has read anything from me will tell you my stand on that way of thinking. No other sovereigns on this earth use that type of qualification. It is a remnant of Euro-American colonialism and race identity that has been left to fester in indigenous populations around the globe, not just Native Americans.
Native Nations in America would do themselves a greater service to retire that way of thinking from their ideas of sovereignty. Indigenous peoples in the Americas and elswhere understood strength in numbers and many a time people who were not "Indian" found themselves voluntarily or invontarily recruited members of Native Nations. Some recruits were White, some Black and some from neighboring Native Nations. The person were not "recruited because they were of the Indian race, but because they were hoped to make the specific native Nation stronger. The Native Nations weren't looking for burdens, they were looking for assets, and it has been documented that those "recruits" who demonstrated weakness found themselves on the wrong end of a sharp stick. Now all of a sudden a tribal member must be an approved quantum blood "Indian."
Another poster on this site, Eric Rhoan covered the issue well and it builds on my previous point that before the per-caps thing tribes were known to show as big a number as they could for the population in order to get a bigger share of federal funding.
tribes were left to determine their membership, as they are today, and non-Indians and "Indians from over the way found themselves on the tribal rolls of who ever would accept them.
S.L. Cook and A. L. Kroeber estimated a Native California population decline in two waves. The first wave was during Spanish Colonialism and missionization, which I will try to recall was well over sixty five percent of the the total Native California Indian population. This was done through disease, slavery and mass killing. The Mexican period of California wasn't mush easier as Mexico's answer was assimilate the native population as Mexicans, the comes the second wave of disease, slavery, and mass killing as California becames an American state. Of those that remained from the first population decline, another sixty percent or more disappeared.
Between the forced missionization of the "neophytes" as the Christians called and the forced reservations of the American period, rez-hopping is the natural logical result of people alienated, persecuted, and dispersed by conquerors, yet trying to preserve whatever indigenous dignity they can, even if it means sharing a nation with the people over the hill. I don't see that as an abuse of the people in any way.
Dual enrollment? Give the person an opportunity to choose.
Blood quantum? Racist.
Meaness? As with everywhere else, be ever diligent of your leaders and make sure they are accountable to the rules and the people. Internal or inter-tribal mediation.
Dis-enrollments? Only if they meet the criteria of high crimes or treason, voluntary relinquisment, or fraud. However, the only person accountable for the fraud should be the person who committed it. Under no circumstance should the descendants of a wrong do-er be held accountable or face any punishment such as a loss of citizenship for the status or deeds of an ancestor.
Allen L. Lee