Thursday, December 22, 2011

Marc Benjamin of Fresno Bee: Chukchansi tribal council election nullified

Thanks to Marc Benjamin for keeping the issue of tribal disenrollment on the front burner.

A Chukchansi tribal council election this month that ousted two supporters of tribal disenrollment has been nullified, keeping the tribe's membership issues festering.

Four opponents of disenrollment -- a thinning of tribal ranks over bloodlines -- won election, but two were deemed ineligible by the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians election committee, said a tribal source speaking on condition of anonymity because he fears he'll be disenrolled.
The two ineligible candidates, Morris Reid, a former tribal chairman, and Harold Hammond, a spiritual leader in the tribe, will not be allowed to run in the new election, the source said. OP: You'd think the election committee would have checked eligibility BEFORE the election. Unless they want the disenrollments to go through.

Tribal officials last week also voted to audit ancestry records of tribal members, meaning hundreds more could be disenrolled in 2012. Already this year, 57 members of one family were disenrolled and a tribal committee started disenrolling another 200. The ancestry audit will examine the bloodlines of 350 more members. The tribe, which once had about 2,000 members, would dip to 600 to 700 if all the disenrollments are approved.
In the Dec. 3 election of four tribal council members, Reid got the most votes and Hammond came in third. Along with second-place finisher Dora Jones, an incumbent who opposes recent disenrollments, and Dixie Jackson, who also opposes recent disenrollments, the new council majority was composed of disenrollment opponents

Rick Cuevas, a disenrolled member of the Pechanga tribein Southern California who maintains a website devoted to tribal issues nationwide, has been watching Chukchansi. He said rejecting the election results is another in a line of "shameful acts" by the tribe.
He said Chukchansi is among the most abusive of California's tribes when it comes to violating the civil rights of its members.
On his website, Original Pechanga's Blog, he has written a form letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking a civil rights investigation of California's tribes, and urging other Native Americans to send the letter to Holder. It was prompted in large part by Chukchansi's disenrollments, he said

Read more here: Fresno Bee Chukchansi Story
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