Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend Protests of TRACY AVILA Led Robinson Rancheria Evictions and Disenrollments

ELIZABETH LARSON of Lake County News continues her fine reporting on disenrollment issues in California. Here's one on the Robinson Rancheria's evictions:


NICE – Tensions between the Robinson Rancheria Citizens Business Council and a group of tribal members the council is trying to remove from tribal membership is continuing to mount, and culminated in another protest at the casino's entrance on Saturday.


The Saturday rally is in response to a round of evictions under way by the tribe's housing committee.

About 30 people carried signs and walked along the edge of Highway 20 at Robinson's entrance. Sign slogans ranged from “Robinson Rancheria court equals housing eviction,” “Illegal housing evictions and fraud,” “Stop tribal council fraud,” “Lies, cheat, steal, “Honk for justice,” “Tribal rights denied,” “Nepotism and greed” and “My grandma is being evicted after 21 years living here.”


Over the three hours the group protested Saturday, they received numerous honks and gestures of support from passersby. One couple from out of the area stopped by to ask about the protest and what was happening.


Last December, following months of controversy over a disputed election, the Robinson Rancheria Citizens Business Council – headed by Tribal Chair Tracey Avila – passed disenrollment resolutions on 63 tribal members, according to recently released documents.

The council also disenrolled an additional three tribal members for lack of blood quantum – the amount of blood a person is supposed to have to quality for tribal membership.

Before taking the disenrollment votes on those 66 tribal members, the council also unanimously voted to disenroll Marie Boggs Quitiquit, who had by that time been dead for several years. The votes to disenroll her children and grandchildren, part of the large Quitiquit family totaling more than 30 members, then followed.


Marie Quitiquit's daughter, Wanda Quitiquit, is currently leading the disenrollment appeal effort to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has granted numerous delays in the process since the start of the year. Next month, the final appeals are due, and a BIA decision on whether the disenrollments were valid is expected to take place.

A previous protest by those who were disenrolled by the council and those who supported the disenrollees' case was held in front of the casino on Jan. 17, as Lake County News has reported.

That same month, the tribe's housing committee began efforts to evict several of those whose names were on the disenrollment list from homes built on the rancheria with federal Housing and Urban Development funds.

HUD officials have confirmed to Lake County News that they issued findings in February that found the tribe was not in compliance with the guidelines of its federal housing grants. The tribe could be forced to repay its grants – the amount was not disclosed – it it refuses to take corrective actions.

Read the rest of the story HERE
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