Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Dear Chairman Macarro,

I hope you were able to see the KCBS-TV investigative report on tribal disenrollments at Pala and Pechanga. I wrote to Chairman Smith at Pala and wanted to take a moment and address you as well.

I wanted to give you notice that until our unconstitutional disenrollments are overturned, it is our intention to continue to expose the gross injustice that has occurred under your leadership. Your initial response on camera during the KNBC expose done by Colleen Williams and your refusal to be interviewed by Ms. Fajardo of KCBS continue to expose your lack of moral and courageous leadership.

In response to your letter to Ms. Fajardo, you claimed our due process rights were guaranteed and upheld. However, you failed to state that no attorneys were allowed at our hearings; we were never allowed to question our accusers and we were not granted the right to have an individual hearing. No oversight was given to the Pechanga enrollment committee and several members of that committee were allowed to make this critical decision about our family even though their membership criteria was also in question, and they had been removed from the committee just prior to this decision.

Historical documents were provided by the tribe’s own expert that proved we were from Pechanga and were certified. You continue to ignore the fact that the enrollment committee disenrolled the 125 members of the Hunter Family solely on hearsay evidence that was accepted from a child molester in prison. His statement included the straw man argument that some were allotted tribal land even though they were not Pechanga; however no substantiated evidence by even one credible source was ever given or confirmed this statement. Those who received an allotment were clearly identified as to their tribal affiliation, and throughout the history of the Pechanga reservation, this one identifying criteria had never been questioned except under your watch. Paulina Hunter was head of household, receiving 20 acres by a charter signed by President William McKinley. We still have our allotment after 117 years and shall never give it up. Can your family make the same claim?

Mr. Macarro, why were neither you, nor your brother listed on the 1979 original census? Hunter family members have continually had ties to Pechanga land since the founding of the reservation. Hunter family members have had enrollment numbers in the top 100. Your name does NOT appear, nor does that of your father. Did your family cut ties to the tribe, as the Pechanga enrollment committee accused Manuela Miranda of doing as a five year old? Current tribal members including former chairwoman Jennie Miranda and current councilman Russell “Butch” Murphy do not appear on that census either. The claim that we came after the casino is a “BLATANT LIE”.

Mark, you also stated that the moratorium was put in place to allow the overworked enrollment committee time to review files and ensure the integrity of the enrollment process is upheld. Is 15 years not enough time to review the legitimate applications that have been submitted? Why haven’t those records been corrected after all of these years? How can you legitimately keep out the Tosobol family, who has proof of lineage, land from an original allotment and relatives on the council? The enrollment moratorium should have been applied uniformly to all tribal members. How is it that former enrollment committee chair, Bobbi LeMere’s sisters were granted tribal membership. How could these women be granted membership if there was a moratorium? What did they have to do to be granted this privilege?

We will continue to inform civil rights groups of the blatant practices that you are subjecting our people to including our young and elderly by not allowing Hunter Family allottees to use basic amenities like the water fountains and public restrooms on the reservation that they share. You are practicing the same small minded tactics employed in the ‘Segregated South.” These are acts that I am sure the Democratic Party would not approve. We will make sure that the Party is aware of these issues as well as the Native American Caucus.

You have already lost an important water right's fight (HR 4285 and HR 5413). You, the council and your million dollar lobbyists, while staying at the finest accommodations in Washington D.C. were defeated by 3 of our family representatives who parked their car in front of their motel door. You tried to negotiate allottee rights to water, even when you never communicated your intent to do so. Committee members simply couldn’t stomach the subterfuge when confronted with evidence of lies and, unfortunately, Pechanga and its people lost millions. It's funny how you would try to use our family’s numbers to augment potential gains.

Finally, let’s finish by highlighting your acts as Pechanga Tribal Chairman:

• You allowed 25% of the tribe to be terminated on your watch.

• You abused tribal elders by taking away their heritage, their healthcare, and shifting those costs to the government of the United States and the State of California.

• You destroyed the futures of our youngest tribal members, and scarred several by sending troopers to forcibly evict them from their tribal school.

• You have threatened those living on the reservation with fines and banishment for using recreation facilities.

• You sent tribal rangers trespassing on private property to deliver the threatening letter about trespassing. • You have failed to defend the Pechanga Constitution.

• You have not protected the tribe from criminal activity, including misuse of tribal credit cards for family vacations.

• You were threatened with recall for hiring your wife’s lobbying firm without tribal approval • Most egregiously you have barred legitimate tribal members from being buried with their ancestors and/or visiting their deceased family member gravesites.

Chairman Macarro, we will continue to fight for our rightful return to the tribe. The Pechanga Tribal Council under you leadership has already cost the people millions of dollars that could have been used to uphold the promises that you made while fighting for tribal self reliance. It would be in the best interests of the tribe to bring all legitimate people including those unlawfully disenrolled and those caught up in the illegal moratorium, back where they belong.

The positive response to such an act of courage would be incalculable and it would turn the negative spotlight off of our tribe and onto other tribes that have been emboldened by your actions. The actions of Pechanga have not just affected us, but thousands of natives who have been wrongfully terminated from their tribes by corrupt tribal governments. While not the first, you are the most prominent violator of civil and human rights amongst California’s Indian Gaming country. It’s no wonder San Manuel doesn’t have Pechanga represented in their commercials.

We look to you for JUSTICE. Please look at the previous records of decision, your mistaken decision to not uphold the will of the people and DO THE RIGHT THING

Rick Cuevas
Original Pechanga’s Blog
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