Wednesday, June 24, 2009

KCET and PBS doing a story on Illegal Pechanga Disenrollments

Great news for THOUSANDS of California's Native Americans who have suffered under regime's like that of Mark Macarro and Andrew Masiel and the Masiel/Basquez Crime Family of Pechanga.

From Val Zavala's blog on KCET

This weekend I headed out to Temecula to begin shooting a most interesting story. It's about how some wealthy Indian tribes are kicking out certain members claiming they do not have proper ancestry. But long-standing members who have been kicked out say the "disenrollments" are due to political differences. Also at play -- money. Disenrollments mean fewer tribe members, and fewer members mean more money from gambling revenues for the remaining members. More than $30,000 a month.

The Pechanga Tribal Council is led by a familiar face, Mark Macarro. He's the telegenic Native American who appears in political commercials for Indian gaming propositions. The leader of the "disenrolled" is John Gomez. (See photo of John and family.) He says under Macarro's leadership hundreds of long-standing Pechanga members have been kicked out.

Tribal membership has gone from about 1200 to about 800. Monthly payments from gambling revenues have gone from about $25,000/ month to more than $30K per adult tribe member. No work required.

Much credit to USC News21 journalism student, Brian Frank, who first pitched the story and has done all the research. Thanks, Brian!

Brian and Val, THANK you for bringing this story forward, in this time of financial crisis for many in CA's Indian Country.


Creeper said...

Bryan also has interviewed some Pechanga descendant's who are caught up in the illegal moratorium
and i am sure will also be part of the documentary, you can't do one without speaking about the other.
The criminal behavior of the Pechanga Regime is so much more than just disenrollment.

O Pechanga said...

And what Pechanga DOES NOT need in this time of economic crisis is for it's customers to go to another location. Pechanga, GOOD publicity happens when you do the right thing by your people.

BRING THEM HOME and DO IT before another tribe that has practiced the shameful disenrollment does it. Be first! LEAD.

Anonymous said...

Pechanga is not a leader, they are followers. They follow the illegal council and the corrupt ways of Marc Maccarro and Jenny Miranda.

cideways said...

I'm wondering how many people are in the illegal moratorium? And how many current tribal members are in Prison? Something worth looking into. We already know many current tribal members are ex-cons and convicted felons, not to mention the many sex offenders of Pechanga. Shouldn't they be prohibited from meetings where minors are?

Anonymous said...

Looks like they pulled the link to the blog down.
Wonder what happened

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know have many "adopted" members there are currently?

'aamokat said...

It wouldn't surprise me if Pechanga threatened to sue PBS and KCET and that they pulled the link.

Pechanga couldn't win such a suit but the threat may be enough to possilby kill this story.

Why do I think Pechanga couldn't win such a suit?

Because we say a lot of things I am sure Pechanga doesn't like and why haven't they sued to try to shut us up?

Because Pechanga knows we are right and that we would fight it and win but KCET/PBS doesn't know this for sure, at least not enough to take a chance, so if this story is dead in the water, that would be the reason why.

Let's hope they don't cave in if indeed Pechanga is putting pressure on them.

Anonymous said...

For all who may visit this Web site: The non-members who became disenrolled failed to offer adequate proof to meet the criteria for tribal membership. The disenrollees simply did not have the facts on their side. Hence, the disenrollment of the non-members corrected an error in the membership roll. Of course, every now and then, a news-media type will sniff a human interest story in this matter, and pursue it as such, but without first educating himself by reading the court decisions bearing on it. The courts in fact have long followed the doctrine that tribes determine their own membership in their own forum. The disenrollees lost their case in that forum and in the courts, and now try to resolve their case elsewhere, in the court of public opinion. Yet, the public has no real interest in this matter. The disenrollees remain Americans, with all the rights, benefits, and advantages thereof. In addition, the public cannot reverse an internal tribal decision. Individuals who think carefully on this subject may observe that while the non-members will remain forever disenrolled, they keep their lost cause alive in order to bash the tribe and its leadership. Anger, disappointment, and frustration, not a rational outlook, guide the disenrollees. They have been sent on their way, and perhaps one day they will go away.

Creeper said...

Take it easy people the link was not pulled by anyone, just too many people trying to look at it.
I had a look at the first draft and it's looking good.
.... to the Anonymus above who keeps coming up with the same old
bull crap story and lies..
we are exposing your corruption and sooner than later it will all come to an end...
The american puplic who comes to your casino is not as stupid as you like to think, they are coming in less and less don't they?
Now, why don't you go on YOUR WAY

Anonymous said...

What about the people stuck in the illegal moratorium, what is the excuse? Since you seem to know so much about what's going on.You really don't think that they will go away do you?Because I do not think they will. They have the so called proof and you still won't let anyone in except the select few that were closely related to people on the enrollment committee.Closed should mean CLOSED to all!Who are they? All the wrong doing against the children who suffer because their own tribe treats them like second class citizens.This is what the first class citizen children get to hear and feel while our second class Pechanga children sit on the outside looking in.THE PECHANGA SCHOOL- CHILDREN ARE OUR GREATEST ASSETS AND NATURAL RESOURCES.AS THEY GROW UP,THE PECHANGA TRIBE IS COMMITTED TO PASSING ON BOTH KNOWLEDGE OF OUR TRIBAL CULTURE AND LANGUAGE-AND THAT OF THE WORLD BEYOND.IT IS THE MISSION OF THE PECHANGA CHAMMAKILAWISH SCHOOL TO ENSURE THAT EACH CHILD DEVELOPS A FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF A HEALTHY SELF-ESTEEM BY MEANS OF PARTICIPATING IN A RICH LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.WE PROVIDE AN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM THAT IS ACADEMICALLY,CULTURALLY, AND SOCIALLY APPROPRIATE FOR EACH STUDENT.TO NURTURE INDEPENDENT PRODUCTIVE THINKERS WITH EXCEPTIONAL SOCIAL SKILLS THAT WILL ENABLE OUR CHILDREN TO BECOME PRODUCTIVE MEMBERS OF THE PECHANGA INDIAN RESERVATION,AS WELL AS OF THE GREATER COMMUNITY. THE PURPOSE OF THE PECHANGA CHAMMAKILAWISH SCHOOL HAS BEEN CLEAR SINCE THE SCHOOL OPENED ITS DOORS,TO TEACH TRIBAL MEMBERS CULTURE AND LANGUAGE WITHOUT SACRIFICING OTHER AREAS OF EDUCATION.THIS GOAL IS IMPLEMENTED BY THE PECHANGA PEOPLE AND THE TRIBAL GOVERNMENT,WITH THE VISION AND EXPERTISE TO SUPPORT QUALITY EDUCATION.Good for the 100+ students they're children they are just having a good time in school and that's great they should be.We pray someday our Pechanga Indian children can attend before they grow up.It's the members it's the Tribal Council who are doing the wrong to children in the moratorium they are Pechanga Indian Children it is all just so wrong it brings tears to my eyes so so sad the fighting the bickering for what.You know it's not all about the PER CAP! Money can not replace time lost to teach the Children! They are only young once.Take care of your Indian children let them come to the Christmas Party and get a toy they need it badly.Let them get their toy in the parking lot if they are not allowed in the ballroom.Why do you treat the children so wrong?We have to take our children to other tribes to receive help they all know what's going on ,they the Tribes feel for the children. It is wrong and it makes YOU the PEOPLE from PECHANGA look very bad more than any website or blog or television ad could ever do. It's the Indian people who know the hurt that you are passing on will all come back on you. You can not hide from the WRATH.........................STOP! when will you ever just STOP! and THINK! THINK!of the consequences!

Creeper said...

Dear ANONYMUS above...
They are corrupt and they don't change their behavior, that's why we must do all we can to get into their faces and let them know that we won't take it anymore,
we CLAIM and and we will get our INHERITED RIGHTS come hell or high water, because we have the truth
on our side.

The old Bible verse works for me.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous who feels she knows it all. How would you know what we submitted to the DISenrollment committe unless you are one of them? If you are not, then I am pretty sure there was just another violation committed by them. We were told by the DISenrollment committee that we DID have all the documented evidence, we just needed to get a few documents certified. Months later without notice, even after the petition to stop disenrollments for all was approved, due to you freaks, the Tribal Council and the CPP we got our notices.

By the way, there are no adoptions allowed, and all voting by any "adopted" overtakers should disqualified/nullified. Based on the population of "adopted" I pray for the day that the federal government decides to withdraw recognition of Pechanga as a tribe, since they no longer have real indian people in it.

'aamokat said...

The facts are not on our side?

Even Chairman Mark Macarro said that he heard an estimation of 90 percent but he said that was inconclusive.

So he was in effect saying there was a 90 percent probability that we the Hunters are Pechanga Indians but that wasn't good enough?

It couldn't have been a 90 percent probability against our claim of being true Pechanga Indians because all sides acknowledge that our family were on the first census records of the reservation when it was created in the late 1800's and we can prove through probate records that Indians of the period verified our family lived with the people on the original reservation as well as before they moved to the reservation.

Our resident critic will try to say that these Indians where only saying our family were their neighbors and not that we were Pechanga.

However, it is very clear that Pechanga elder Dolores Tortuga included my ancestor Paulina Hunter in the inclusive "we Pechanga Indians" when she tesitfied in the 1915 probate hearings by saying in response to the examiner's question below:

"Were you acquainted with the deceased Pechanga Indian allottee Paulina Hunter?"

Tortuga responded by saying, "yes, I knew her as a neighbor when WE PECHANGA INDIANS lived on the Pauba Ranch near Temecula, California."

Tortuga's testimony was collaborated by Pechanga elder Jose David Rodriguez who added that he knew Paulina Hunter as a neighbor on the Pechanga reservation.

Also, all sides agree that our family has a land patent as Temecula Indians from the U.S. government.

So we own trust land on the Pechanga reservation and many of our family members still live there.

The following excerpt is taken from the official Pechanga Web site concering vaunted (much praised) Pechanga elder Antonio Ashman's recounting of the Temecula Indian eviction of 1875.

The late Antonio Ashman, a vaunted Pechanga Tribal member born three years after the eviction recounted how the eviction-trek ended: "They just dumped them here"— pointing to a low hill near the golf-course. "Just dumped them!"

So why is this significant in showing that we are Pechanga people?

Because prior to the first written enrollment of 1978 our family got none other than Antonio Ashman to vouch for our family as Pechanga people.

And he said in a written notarized statement when he was asked, "did you know Paulina Hunter as a member of the Band."

His response was, "yes, I knew her as such."

Mr. Ashman went on to say he remembered her being called aunt by tribal member Martin Berdugo and that she used to stay in the home of tribal members Salvador and Micheala Quilig and that he heard they were related.

In the first enrollment application of 1978 there was a supplement sheet that listed ways people could prove they were Pechanga.

One of those acceptable ways was to be vouched for by a recognized tribal member and what better person to stand up for our family than to have Antonio Ashman stand up for us!

In addition, seven current tribal elders gave notarized written statements that we are Pechanga people.

Five are listed as being reviewed by the enrollment committee in our Record of Decision and two were turned in during our appeal to the tribal council.

But the committee ignored the testimony in our support in favor of letters and statements from members of the CPP faction of the tribe who said we are not Pechanga people.

Folks those letters and statements from the CPP faction and the fact that are some missing historical documents from the mid 1800s that Dr. John Johnson, Pechanga's own hired expert on the linage of the Hunter family said that no family could find, was the only so called evidence that was submitted against my family in our disenrollment proceedings.

By the way, Dr. Johnson came to the conclusion that my family are Pechanga Indians.

So there is more than enough evidence that should have satisfied any reasonable person's questions regarding my family's heritage.

'aamokat said...

Add on to my last post: Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro said at a 2005 general membership meeting that we should listen to what elders like Antonio Ashman said.

So Macarro and the the tribal officials believe what Mr. Ashman had to say about the eviction from the old Temecula Indian village but they don't believe what Mr. Ashman said when he verified that my ancestor was a Pechanga Indian?

Remember, Mr. Ashman is still called a vaunted tribal elder on Pechanga's own official Web site.

So gentle readers, as our resident critic likes to call visitors to this site, do you believe our critic or Antonio Ashman?

Remember, Mr. Ashman passed away before any of us ever got a penny of per capita money and our critic got a raise when we were kicked out of the tribe.

'aamokat said...

Anticipating what our critic will say next, I will answer what he may likely argue.

Paulina Hunter's maiden name is listed as Walla in her marriage to Thomas Gordon Hunter in the 1860's and our critic will say that the name Walla doesn't appear in the pardrones (census records) from the San Luis Rey Mission of the early 1800s.

However, Dr. John Johnson, Pechanga's own hired expert on geneaology, explained in the report on the Hunter family commissioned by the enrollment committee that many Mission Indians of the 1800s had different last names from one generation to the next as they were just beginning the use of Sur names, a European custom.

That there were not only different spellings of the same last name but often different last names were used until one stuck to be passed on to succeeding generations.

Dr. Johnson identifies Quasicac as Paulina Hunter's family name and he states that her father Mateo was born at the place known as Pechanga in the early 1800s.

Even though we have posted this information many times before I will answer another of our critic's possible responses in still another post.

'aamokat said...

Our critic will also say that the BIA never tracked Paulina Hunter as a Pechanga Indian that the Hunters don't have a Certicate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB).

However, the Hunters do have CDIBs and in fact the CDIBs were not even an issue in the Hunters disenrollment case.

If what our critic says is true, one would think that would have been used against us when we were disenrolled.

Another thing, Hunter family members who have had loved ones pass away and who's probate for their piece of the Hunter family allotment has gone through after we were disenrolled from the Pechanga tribe in 2006 have probate documents from the United States Dept. of Interior that refer to their loved ones as Mission Indians (Pechanga Band).

So clearly the United States government still considers us Pechanga Indians even if the tribe officially now does not.

One more post on what our critic said or may say and then I will rest for a while.

'aamokat said...

One more thing: our critic says that we can never get back into the tribe because the courts have upheld the rights of tribes to determine their members in their own forum.

And while it is true tribes can determine their own members, a recent ruling by a federal district court under the Indian Civil Rights Act in a case involving the Snoqualmie tribe in Washington state was ruled in favor of former tribal members on the basis of lack of due process.

We had nowhere near due process in our disenrollment cases at Pechanga so it is far from over no matter what our critic says.

It appears now that tribes are now going to have to pay fair, and rightly so.

There I have answered our critics likely responses so I doubt he will come back anytime soon.

'aamokat said...

In my last post I meant to say "tribes are now going to have to play fair," not "pay fair."

'aamokat said...

Another thing our resident critic might try to pass off as truth is that the whole tribe supported our disenrollment when in fact the whole tribe voted in 2005 to stop all disenrollments and to end disenrollment as a part of tribal law so the disenrollment procedures no longer existed when we were disenrolled in 2006.

We didn't find out the new law didn't apply to us the Hunters until we received a letter from the tribal council dated only two days before the Record of Decision informing us we were kicked out of the tribe.

Obviously timed so that we couldn't respond to the council's decision which had been done in secret away from the watchful eye of the general membership.

The tribal council stated in their March 2006 letter that the general membership could not interrupt or question the decisions of the enrollment committee regarding enrollment or disenrollment. That it was a violation of established legal precedent.

However, as I have stated before, established tribal legal precedent says just the opposite and current tribal councilman Russell Butch Murphy is living proof that the general membership, as the final authority of tribal government, can in fact overrule the decisions of the enrollment committee.

Because in 1986, after the enrollment committee had turned down the Murphys' enrollment applications, the Murphys appealed the decision to the general membership and the enrollment committee's decision was overruled which allowed the Murphys to become tribal members!

So was the Mark Macarro led tribal council lying when they said the general membership couldn't overrule the enrollment committee and stop all disenrollments including the Hunters?

Gentle Readers, you be the judge of that.

Ironic that if Butch Murphy supported the 2006 ruling that said the general membership could not overrule the enrollment committee, that means he was in effect invalidating his own tribal membership.

Anonymous said...

Butch is not a real tribal member, his membership, and that of his family, is in direct violation of the enrollmernt membership requirements. But, I guess no one cares since actual enforcement of the Tribal Constitution is not practice; it's just a farce.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous regarding the children. I have children of Luiseno descent who are not allowed to attend the school or learn the language with the other children. How could any tribe deny this to a child who has lost most of his culture. I do not know of anyother tribe who treats their children as such. As for the per cap. Someone needs to update their financial figures.

'aamokat said...

True, the tribal constitution says that adopted people were only accepted if they were adopted in the Indian way before 1928.

So if Butch Murphy is adopted and the tribe took him in in 1986, then he doesn't meet the constitutional requirment.

However, that since he claims his membership on the basis that the general membership overruled the enrollment commmittee's decision to not enroll him in 1986, then it follows that the general membership could end all disenrollments in 2005 by tribal vote including stopping the disenrollment of the Hunters.

One of the things the tribal council claimed, in addition to saying the general membership couldn't overrule the enrollment committee, in allowing the Hunters to be disenrolled in 2006 despite the law ending disenrollments that was passed in 2005, was that the enrollment requirments had not been changed.

We the Hunters maintain that we do meet the requirments and that we proved it and if the Murphys don't meet the requirments and they were allowed in the tribe by tribal vote in 1986, then we could be kept in the tribe by the tribal vote in 2005.

So it is favortism towards the Murphys and bias against the Hunters, a violation of Article V of the Band's constitution forbiding malice or predjudice against tribal members, but they pick what to enforce and what not to enforce depending on which family they like and which family they don't like.

One more thing, allowing the family members of people who turned in letters and statements against the Hunters membership to vote on the enrollment committee for the Hunters disenrollment was also a violation of Article V of the Band's constitution but again since when do they even follow the tribe's own rules?

Allen L. Lee said...

You've got Pechanga's "Murphy's Law" down pat. Good job!

Luiseno said...

I have heard that since our disenrollment, that they have taken over 1 million dollars from each of the Hunter Family members.
Please forgive me if my math is faulty (I haben very very sick the last few days).

Its not about the money............

Luiseno said...

Oh yeah, Mark also stated "it's not about the money, but about keeping the integrity of the tribe"

How much integrity was it to reject every piece of evidence that we turned in, without an explanation as to why (ok I'll give them this one, they stated in our first meeting, that they could reject anything they wanted without having to offer any kind of explanation). But they accepted a written affidavit from a person who was still in prison for child molestation, the main "evidence used against us, and rejected affidavits from existing tribal elders, as well as one of there most revered past member, who gave a statement, when asked if he knew Paulina Hunter as a member of the Band. To which he replied "Yes I knew her as such".

How does this keep the integrity of the tribe, to break it into pieces, rip out people who have been members for as long as recorded history (and much much longer I believe). And take in with open arms non-Indians.