UPDATE: Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro's cousin doesn't like this article. In fact, he gives it his "moron alert". That means it left a mark, even though there are some inaccuracies with this story. Dr. Johnson was PAID BY PECHANGA to research the HUNTER family and HE PROVED us Pechanga.
Jim Marino of the Santa Ynez Valley Journal asks the question. And calls out Pechanga of Temecula in the article. Pechanga has said, "Yes, we know that people who LIVED in the 1880 Temecula era SWORE that your ancestor was a Pechanga, but we'd rather believe an imprisoned child molestor than a vaunted elder"
With the rise of Indian gambling casinos all over the country — and in particular those 60 casinos in California with more on the way — the question naturally arises: Who exactly qualifies to call themselves an “Indian”?
The basic answer to what appears to be a simple question is that an “Indian” is whoever the particular tribe says is an Indian. Now any person can claim to be part Indian, just as many say they are part Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. OP: Basically, tribes like Pechanga, Redding, Picayune, San Pascual, Enterprise are making a laughing stock of tribal history.
One such vivid example here in California occurred at the Pechanga tribe, another massive and profitable gambling casino between Riverside and San Diego. Once boasting about 900 members, in one fell swoop, tribal Chairman Mark Macarro disenrolled an entire extended family, the Gomez family, in a move commonly recognized as an effort to fatten the profits for the remaining members and families.
To sell this disenrollment to other suspicious tribal members, who suspected Macarro’s true motives, he paid for and commissioned an ethnological investigator from here in Santa Barbara County, John R. Johnson, curator of anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. He is a renowned authority on California Indians and was hired at the tribe’s considerable expense.
His thorough investigation and report to the Pechanga tribal government concluded, essentially, that the Gomez extended family was as much entitled to enrollment as anyone else. The tribal government promptly dismissed his report out of hand, ignoring his findings. To this day, the Gomez family has not been re-enrolled. Because Indian tribes are allowed to disregard the U.S. Constitution, even though tribal members are, by law, U.S. citizens, the Gomez family has no legal recourse.
Thank you Jim, and please keep reading the Santa Ynez Valley Journal.