Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Letters to Speakers Attending Conference in Apartheid-Practicing Tribal Nation of Pechanga: A Snoqualmie Story.

Letters are going out to speakers from the upcoming Tribal Leader's Conference at the Apartheid-practicing reservation of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. While these speakers are looking to get meaninful change in an unstable political environment, they should be looking within their own nations and other tribal nations such as Snoqualmie from Washington State., with their 'shadow government' which we have posted on before.  Work on the corruption within Indian Country.

Here is a letter from the Snoqualmie 9, written by Carolyn Lubenau which details what happened to her family:

My name is Carolyn Lubenau and I have been enrolled since birth in the Snoqualmie Tribe in Washington State as was my Mother, my Grandmother, my Great-Grandmother up to the signing of the Pt. Elliott Treaty and beyond- we have always been Snoqualmie.

In 2008, myself and 8 other enrolled tribal members were illegally banished from the Snoqualmie Tribe. Three of the banished were our spiritual leaders – one a minister in the 1910 Indian Shaker Church – another spiritual worker was banished for saying a prayer the tribal council felt admonished their actions. My tribe did not have a tribal court and the story of our banishment was printed on the front page of the Seattle Times many times. Our banishment is a documented case of civil rights violations and the Federal Judge, James Robart overturned the banishment in the precedent setting case – Sweet vs Hinzman.

To this day, over three years later, we have not been allowed back into our tribe. We have a corrupt tribal council who violates the civil rights of all its citizens each day and despite being voting overwhelmingly by our tribal members to be reinstated many times without restriction, our corrupt tribal council will not reinstate us. This is a blatant civil rights violation. The Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior all say this is an “inter-tribal” dispute and they will not get involved despite a Federal Judge’s order.

I have asked my Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell “who enforces a Federal Judge’s order?” Their response is they don’t know and although they have tried to find some answers, they have not been able to answer the question.

I’m asking you, who upholds the individual civil rights of tribal citizens? You speak of sovereignty but do you speak of the genocide of disenrolling and banishing tribal members to cover up lawlessness and corruption? Do you speak about the responsibility of sovereigns to their people.? Do you speak of honor and human rights? Will you speak of the violations to our human rights by being “arbitrarily exiled” from our own nations? We are exiled from the sacred grounds of our ancestors – what sovereign would do such a thing to their people?

The answer is no one will protect an individuals civil rights in corrupt tribes and tribal governments like Pechanga who exile their own people. I am respectfully requesting that you think about these questions and think about the thousands of Native Americans yet to have protected civil rights.  I would ask that you support our protest at Pechanga over civil rights violations and if you are guided to still speak at this forum, I hope you speak of the dishonor of using sovereignty for greed and corruption – to hide behind sovereignty and dishonor your own people. I hope you speak of fairness, transparency and justice.

With a hopeful heart,

Carolyn Lubenau
Maple Valley, WA
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