2559 Puesta del Sol Rd. Santa Barbara, CA 93105
June 20, 2006
Pechanga Indian Reservation
Temecula Band of Luiseño Mission Indians
P. O. Box 1477
Temecula, CA 92953
Dear Council Members:
I am writing to respond to the Record of Decision issued March 16, 2006 by the Pechanga Enrollment Committee regarding disenrollment of the linealdescendants of Paulina Hunter. I was surprised and dismayed when I read the “Conclusions” section on pages 25-26 of that decision, because I felt that many of the conclusions were either based on misinterpretations of the documentary evidence or unjustified by what had been presented earlier in the text of the Record of Decision.
In the summer and fall of 2004, I prepared a report on “The Ancestry of Paulina Hunter” at the request of the Pechanga Enrollment Committee. Although the Committee references this report in its list of documents that it reviewed (Doc. 14 on p. 4), my findings were completely overlooked in the Record of Decision.
In the report that I prepared at the Enrollment Committee’s behest, I reviewed the genealogical clues to Paulina Hunter’s background. The preponderance of the evidence indicates that Paulina Hunter’s father was Mateo Quasacac, who was the only Indian listed as having been born at “Pichanga” in the surviving early records of Mission San Luis Rey. Mateo Quasacac was also the father of Michaela Quilig (“Michella Quilich”), a life-long resident of Temecula and Pechanga. Michaela Quilig was an original Pechanga allottee like Paulina Hunter. Paulina Hunter would stay with Michaela Quilig when she would visit Pechanga, an indication of the closeness of their relationship. This is to be expected for two women who were half-sisters.
My report presented significant evidence that Paulina Hunter’s maternal grandmother, Restituta, was born at the original village of Temecula. Thus, Paulina Hunter descended from an original Temecula family. This information directly contradicts the statement
asserted in Conclusion 4 of the Record of Decision that “Paulina Hunter is not of Temecula Descent.”
Conclusion 5, which states, “Paulina Hunter was not an original Pechanga Temecula person,” is incorrect. I have already pointed out that my report presented evidence that Paulina’s father was the only Indian listed in the early San Luis Rey mission records who was actually born at Pechanga. Furthermore, the reasoning presented in Conclusion 5 is entirely based upon a misinterpretation of the evidence. John Miller, Paulina Hunter’s grandson, stated on his enrollment application (authorized by the 1928 California Indian
Jurisdictional Act) that his “Grandmother and Great Grandparents were San Luis Rey Mission Indians.” The Record of Decision incorrectly concludes that “the correct tribal ancestry of Paulina Hunter was San Luis Rey” and therefore not Pechanga Temecula.
In fact, the label “San Luis Rey Mission Indians” was an equivalent term to the way “Luiseños” is used today. All Pechanga Temecula Indians were “San Luis Rey Mission Indians,” because all tribe members today all have ancestors who were baptized at Mission San Luis Rey. As some on the Pechanga council well know, I have responded frequently to requests by current tribal members to reconstruct their family genealogies using the mission records. Thus, I am in a position to know that virtually everyone in the tribe today descends from “San Luis Rey Mission Indians.” John Miller’s statement on his enrollment application doesn’t make him any different that anyone else who was a Pechanga Temecula tribe member at that time.
Indeed, there are many enrollment applications for people who are ancestors of today’s Pechanga tribe members that make virtually identical statements to that made by John Miller.
It is unfair to the descendants of Paulina Hunter to be disenrolled from the Temecula Band of Luiseño Mission Indians based upon these incorrect conclusions contained in the Record of Decision of March 16, 2006. There is no credible evidence that Paulina Hunter was not a member of the Pechanga Temecula tribe; in fact the preponderance of the
genealogical evidence contained in surviving records would indicate that she was a descendant of both Pechanga and Temecula ancestors.
John R. Johnson, Ph.D.
Anthropology Department Head
Advancing Appreciation and Understanding of Natural Science Founded 1916