Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are Tribes That Are Disenrolling Members Also Guilty of Elder Abuse?

What is Elder Abuse?

According to the California State Bar Association:

It is the neglect, exploitation or “painful or harmful” mistreatment of anyone who is 65 or older (or any disabled dependent adult aged (18 to 64). It can involve physical violence, psychological abuse, isolation, abandonment, abduction, false imprisonment or a caregiver’s neglect. It could also involve the unlawful taking of a senior’s money or property.

In short, elder abuse involves various crimes, such as theft, assault or identity theft, that strike victims of all ages. But when the victim is 65 years old or older (or a disabled dependent adult), the criminal faces stiffer penalties.

Hunter Elder Matilda Smith, now 81 years old, recalled being on the reservation in the late 1930’s. “It was a long trip to get there, especially in those days”. “But that is where our roots were, my grandmother loved it there.” Her grandmother was Mary Ann Miller, daughter of Paulina Hunter, an original allottee of the Temecula Reservation known as Pechanga.

Matilda was 75 years old when the Pechanga tribal council, abandoned her, unlawfully taking this senior's money, health care, voting rights and her rights as an allottee.

Similar stories can be found in other families. The Tosobol family has brothers that are 80 and 75 years old, Manuel and Mike, who are denied access to their property. The wife of one member actually called the tribal rangers to have some Tosobol members banished from the reservation (isolation and abandonment). The Manuela Mirandas have the most senior elders of those abused by the tribe. Michael Salinas is 90 years old, and others born shortly after Prohibition began.

These stories predate the coming of a casino, but the abuse came after. Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro is directly responsible for what happened to hundreds of people, and a significant portion are elders. Next time you hear about him giving praise to elders of the tribe, keep in mind what he did to many of them.

Join us in a protest of Tribal Civil Rights Violations at the Pechanga Resort and Casino. THIS IS NOT JUST A PROTEST AGAINST Pechanga, it's to bring notice of all abuses in Indian Country by corrupt tribal councils.

45000 Temecula Parkway, Temecula CA June 2 at 4 p.m.
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