Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Snoqualmie Tribe Does Right Thing and Reinstates Banished Members

Snoqualmie joins Hoopa Valley as tribes that have done the right thing by their members. It's time for tribes like: Pechanga, Redding, Enterprise, Picayune and San Pasqual to name a few to do the same. Be responsible for all your people.

Snoqualmie tribe votes to reinstate 9 members banished in election dispute
By Lynda V. Mapes

Seattle Times staff reporter

Members of the Snoqualmie tribe voted overwhelmingly Saturday to reinstate all nine tribal members banished after an election dispute.

The nine, including several elders, waited five hours outside the longhouse in Monroe at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds wrapped in blankets, and sending in pizza for members deliberating their fate far into the night.

Finally, after 10 p.m., — nearly 12 hours after the meeting started — the banished were invited inside the longhouse, and back in the tribe amid cheers, said Carolyn Lubenau, one of the reinstated.

"Everybody cried, it was so emotional," said Lubenau, who, along with the others, was banished in April 2008. "I feel jubilant, I am proud of them," she said of the membership.

The nine fought the banishment in federal court, where a judge earlier this year partially overturned the banishment, stating the tribe had not followed due process. The membership was tasked with reconsidering the banishment Saturday.

The tribe, with about 650 members, just last fall opened a new casino, a half-hour from downtown Seattle. The Snoqualmie rolled the dice on a mountain of debt — $375 million — for a chance at prosperity.

The tribe, which re-gained federal recognition only in 1999, has been mired in election disputes, the banishment controversy, and more election disputes for most of the past two years, even as it faces serious operational and budget problems.

Lubenau said she was never going to relent in the fight to get back into the tribe. "I would never give up, my children wouldn't or my grandchildren after them. But it so rarely happens," she said of reinstatement. "I am just overwhelmed with gratitude."

The tribe also met to determine what to do about a leadership split on its tribal council that led to a breakdown of the function of tribal government. The council was so badly split, in part over another disputed election last May, that council members for months had refused to regularly meet with each other.

Elders in August dissolved the feuding council and took control of the tribe until a new election could be held, but had no constitutional authority to do that.

The tribal administrator resorted to locking tribal offices, and the federal government froze some of the tribe's funding.

After mediation suggested by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs this month, tribal offices were reopened, and grant money unfrozen. An interim council — the one in place before the disputed May election — was put in place until a new election is held.

The membership Saturday agreed to schedule a new election, perhaps as soon as in three weeks.

Nathan Patrick Barker, a Snoqualmie tribal chief, said he voted for banishment two years ago but was in the majority of those who decided to allow all nine members back in to the tribe Saturday.


Allen L. Lee said...

Good job Snoqualmie. Everyone involved turned on a really bright light for all dis-enrolled in Indian Country.
Snoqualmie rises to defend the true purpose of tribal sovereignty.
Allen L. Lee

Allen L. Lee said...

Special note to the Snoqualmie elders who asserted tribal "tradition and custom" in in the midst of a constitutional government failure.
They decided for the best interest of the tribe rather than consitutional bureacracy.

'aamokat said...

But there were more people who were disenrolled from this tribe besides the 9 who were banished.

Are the others back in the tribe?

If not, then justice has not been served yet.

Allen L. Lee said...

Correct 'aamokat

Not quite done. The odds may be in their favor though? Those that have been restored would be expected to have a much more keen awareness of the loss the dis-enrolled suffered and advocate .
Not quite sure what your stance is about blood quantum though?

"“Some 60 disenrolled Snoqualmies were also informed they don't have the required one-eighth tribal blood to be members.
They are being purged from the tribe's membership rolls, and are barred from voting and holding office, but will be allowed to collect tribal benefits.”

Anonymous said...

That is very good news to see tribes behaving and uniting as they should be.

'aamokat said...

Mr. Lee, tribes do have a right to define their own requirments but some of the people who were disenrolled from Snolqualmie for being below the specified blood quantum claimed that they met the requirments but they were never given a fair chance to dispute the claims of the tribe, that there was a lack of due process involved.

But as with our own disenrollment cases if a tribe doesn't follow a fair course of action, who can make them do so?

As far as blood quantum is concerned it can also be unfair because some people who may have a higher level of Indian blood can actually be penalized for it.

For example, if a person has ancestors from several different local tribes and here in California that is quite common, he or she may not have enough of a blood quantum in any one tribe to qualify for membership and a person with lower blood content but from only one tribe will qualify in their tribe.

And although some people think that lineal descent can delute the blood lines too much it seems to be the fairer approach especially in the example I gave above where the person who has ancestors from several different tribes would be accepted by the tribe he or she has had a family history with.

In the Snolqualmie situtation I hope that the people who were disenrolled but who were not reinstated are not forgotten just because their tribe took a step in the right direction.

White Buffalo said...

State commission contemplates new casino rules

By Anthony York | 10/01/09 12:00 AM PST
A fight over the regulation of tribal casinos has come back before the gambling control commission, once again raising questions about who is regulating the state’s multi-billion dollar gaming industry.

Differences over the casino’s minimum internal controls – known as MICs – surfaced in 2007 when state lawmakers held up five major new gaming compacts in part over differences about those minimum controls.

“There was tension there between the state of California and the California tribes,” said Phil Hogen, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission. “There wasn’t just one model of compact, so the concept was born then that NIGC has the authority to take enforcement action, and the NIGC already has regulations in place

Hogen said it appears now that there is an agreement to defer to the federal government on most auditing and regulatory issues.
“There is some continuing tension between the tribes and the state” gaming control commission, he said. “Hopefully, the action being considered in California will lessen that.”

Hogen is referring to new draft regulations before the state’s Gaming Control Commission that would essentially defer to federal standards when it comes to auditing and monitoring casino operation. But the agreement will still not end California’s multi-tiered system of tribal gaming enforcement.

In 2007, some of the state’s largest gaming tribes agreed to new state-based gaming regulations. Under pressure from Speaker Fabian Nuñez, four tribes agreed to new oversight from state regulators in exchange for permission to expand their gaming operations. Those tribes – the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians are now subject to state gaming regulation.

A fifth tribe, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, agreed to the state regulators, but later backed out of the entire compact.
But those compacts simply added to the fractured nature of tribal casino regulations. Some tribes have agreed to be subject to state regulators; others have signed deals making them subject to federal regulation from the National Indian Gaming Commission. Still other tribes do not have any state or federal regulators overseeing the operation of their casinos, and are regulated by gaming commissions formed by the tribes themselves.

Those individual tribal gaming commissions often reach out to local law enforcement and other experts to help with casino oversight, but membership of these commissions is decided on by each sovereign tribe.

Minimum Control Standards are the basic rules that govern the operation of a casino. Everything from how the money is handled to the percentage payouts slot machines must make is governed by these regulations. Minimum Control Standards are standard procedure in tribal and non-tribal casinos around the country.

But a recent federal court decision limited the regulators scope. The case of Colorado River Indian Tribes v. NIGC limited federal regulators’ ability to monitor Class 3 gaming facilities around the country. Class 3 games are games that are not house-banked, but rather link a player’s winnings to the amount of money wagered by other players. California tribal casinos are all Class 3 facilities.

Forces at the state gambling control commission argue that self-regulation of tribal casinos is akin to no regulation at all. But others say the commission is simply trying to expand its influence, and seek to address an issue that has not been a problem.

See Part Two

White Buffalo said...


State commission contemplates new casino rules
By Anthony York | 10/01/09 12:00 AM PST

“It’s a solution in search of a problem,” said Alison Harvey, executive director of the California Tribal Business Alliance. All of CTBA’s members have agreed to oversight from the federal NIGC. “The question is, for those tribes, why do we need yet another agency reviewing what is already under federal review?”

Members of the commission have argued they would like to see a uniform system of state gaming regulation.

The issue gets to the heart of the most controversial issues in tribal gaming – the rights of sovereign Indian nations to conduct their own business versus the right of state regulators or lawmakers to direct what goes on on Indian lands.

Harvey dismissed the implication that tribes would mismanage the regulation of their own casinos. “Tribes take this very seriously,” she said. “The gaming agency is protecting the government from things that could be going on in the casino.”

Hogen agreed that tribes do a good job of regulating themselves. But he says outside regulators perform an important function. “The tribes do a quality job for the most part,” he said. “But one of the reasons they got where they are is they had a (federal) standard to adhere to. They can do that voluntarily, but my experience has been if there isn’t some pressure, then compliance may not be quite as quick or as strong as it ought to be.”

Anonymous said...

WOW, wouldn't it be wonderful if the disenrolled members of Pechanga would have that never give up the fight feeling?

t'eetilawuncha! said...

The corruption continues. The CPP push to have David Miranda removed from his elected position on the PDC. Suddenly Fletcher is slid in.

Anonymous said...

Alot of people have very short memories. This man left Rincon under a lot of pressure.He is at the center of the CPP.

Anonymous said...

The development sure has all the people were they need them.
The DEVELOPMENT spreads false information (lies) to protect themselves and the position they hold in the tribe.

The elected are the ones starting rumors and lies. then they bring in the MAN to help state the case. over time NOTHING will happen,,,,

except for the elected and their peeps will have kept their elected positions via lies and rumors.

history has a way of repeating its self, when nothing is learned of the PAST!

Anonymous said...

I know this is off topic, but I'm en ex employee. I have use my FMLA, and hurt my back at home. I had 6 days of PTO, I had Drs note stating that I could not work for 2 weeks. I requested a LOA, it was denied. So they terminated me. Now I,m looking for a lawyer that will represent me. I'm not having any luck. Any suggestions? I know that it has to be a federal trible lawer, but they seem few and far between.
I love the way they treat employees ans ex employmee?

t'eetilawuncha! said...

Dear readers,

as you can read,the resident critic tilts at windmills and trys to mislead you. Indians were from triblets or clans and shared last names to discribe thier clans or triblets. Apish, Guavish, Subish ect... all Luiseno in the native tongue. Many indian clans were torn apart by anglo settlers, indian women were raped, beaten and traded. Only the clans or triblets knew eachother. Pechanga accepted this custom when the reservation was established. Depositions "recorded oral tradition" were taken from tribal elders who knew tribal history for probate information with the department of interior. In the late 1700's and early 1800's surnames and first names were experimented with by the missions and early settlers to try and control the native people. Anytime this critic wants proof we are happy to support it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to Say, Snoqualmie's prolems are not over yet.

The council is ignoring the general membership's vote, and refusing to give out crds to the ex-banished members. In addition, they are now trying to disenroll a large family who was responsible for helping the exbanished get back into the tribe.

The corruption is not over at all. This council now is ignoring the voice of their people! They are lying and fillibustering and playing a dangerous game. Now, in responce to the cherokee nation's recent court cases, we are warning them that they can be held accountable and sued for their wrongful actions. It makes me sick to see so many two-faced people in one tribe. They say one thing and do another. Then they lie about it. Then they tell everyone else you are the liar.

The worst part is, my whole family was called liars and now no one will apologize when we proven beyond a shadow of doubt that we were telling the truth. This tribe is broken.

This coucil need to go to jail.

I am going to personaly make sure it happens.

'aamokat said...

Yes, we Pechanga people need to remember that it is not just our tribal leaders who are corrupt.

After all this thread is supposed to be about the problems within the Snolqualmie tribe.

Amazing their leadership ignores the federal judge's ruling claiming sovereignty but they also ignores their own membership's vote?

But as I have said regarding the problems with corrupt tribal leadership everywhere; if tribes don't even follow their own laws, who can make them do so?

'aamokat said...

Anonymous of 1:06 AM, October 16, 2009, and when the Feds do come down on your corrupt tribal leadership the leadership will blame you for the erosion of your tribal sovereignty even though it was them who brought this on your tribe.

I know because the leadership of our tribe sheds us in a bad light because we, like you, are not going away.

t'eetilawuncha! said...

Im glad this post was placed. I had heard this but could not confirm it. Our prayers go out to you, and we know that the truth will always prevail.