Friday, October 26, 2012

Online Poker Group Breaks UP Amid Infighting

The battle for online poker regulation in California has taken a step back as the organization that was helping to drive legislation has disbanded amid infighting among its members.
The California Online Poker Association, a venture between the different card rooms, horse tracks and Indian casinos in the Golden State, seems to have closed its doors according to reports over Twitter by Victor Rocha, the editor of  (Victor Rocha is the cousin of the despicable despot, Mark Macarro, who led the disenrollment of 25% of his tribe, in order to steal their per capita checks)
 Last night, the website for COPA,, was officially shut down by the group (visiting the site today leads to an announcement that the “domain name expired on October 22” and apparently wasn’t renewed), leading Rocha to Tweet to his followers, “COPA is toast, as if you couldn’t tell that already.”
According to Rocha, (whose sight rarely mentions any negative aspects of the Pechanga Tribe, such as the violations of civil and human rights)  COPA began to unravel due to the myriad of groups that comprised it. While legislation in California regarding regulation of the industry has moved slowly, a recent rewrite of a proposed bill, State Senator Rod Wright‘s SB 1463, seemed to be moving forward with giving exclusive rights to Indian tribes, thereby closing out such card rooms as the Commerce Casino and the Bicycle Casino and horse racing facilities such as Hollywood Park out of the business. The push by the Indian tribes for this exclusivity seems to have been the “straw that broke the camel’s back” inside the walls of COPA.
Rocha broke the news initially that the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians would be withdrawing from COPA, which sent things spiraling even further. Following the departure of the San Manuel tribe, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, one of the strongest members of the coalition, announced that they would also be abandoning COPA. “I’ve known about San Manuel since G2E (the recent Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas), Morongo’s departure was predictable,” Rocha noted over Twitter.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Paul Ryan's Budget Won't Cut BIA and IHS Says Rep. Tom Cole

In an interview with Indian Country Today U.S. Rep Tom Cole clears up misconceptions.

What do you make of the August report by the Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee that said Representative Paul Ryan’s budget would cut $375 million from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and $637 million from the Indian Health Service (IHS)?

 They’re trying to make something partisan that’s not partisan. Their numbers are totally fallacious.

These guys don’t have to make up numbers; they can look at real numbers. If they want to know what the Ryan budget means in Indian country, they ought to just look at what the House has done under the Ryan budget in 2011 and 2012, and what it would propose doing in 2013. If they looked at both IHS and BIA, they’d find that in each of those years House Republicans actually appropriated more for both than the Obama administration even requested. This idea that a Ryan budget means cuts in Indian programs is simply not true. We have evidence that while it lowers overall government spending, it also allows us to reprioritize where the money goes.

And on the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior and Environment, where I sit, there’s a bipartisan commitment to increasing funding in Indian country well beyond what the White House has asked for. We have a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who recognize the Indian country has been historically underfunded.

Read more at the link above

Monday, October 22, 2012

Russell Means, Activist for Native American, Moves On at 72

It's a shame that many in the Native American community have harmed so many of their own, and it's equally shameful that Native Americans have not stood up for themselves as Russell did.

Russell Means spent a lifetime as a modern American Indian warrior. He railed against broken treaties, fought for the return of stolen land and even took up arms against the federal government.
A onetime leader of the American Indian Movement, he called national attention to the plight of impoverished tribes and often lamented the waning of Indian culture. After leaving the movement in the 1980s, the handsome, braided activist was still a cultural presence, appearing in several movies.
Means, who died Monday from throat cancer at age 72, helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee—a bloody confrontation that raised America's awareness about the struggles of Indians and gave rise to a wider protest movement that lasted for the rest of the decade.
Before AIM, there were few national advocates for American Indians. Means was one of the first to emerge. He sought to restore Indians' pride in their culture and to challenge a government that had paid little attention to tribes in generations. He was also one of the first to urge sports teams to do away with Indian names and mascots.
"No one except Hollywood stars and very rich Texans wore Indian jewelry," Means said, recalling the early days of the movement. And there were dozens, if not hundreds, of athletic teams "that in essence were insulting us, from grade schools to college. That's all changed.

Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Means grew up in the San Francisco area and battled drugs and alcohol as a young man before becoming an early leader of AIM.
With his rugged good looks and long, dark braids, he also was known for a handful of Hollywood roles, most notably in the 1992 movie "The Last of the Mohicans," in which he portrayed Chingachgook alongside Daniel Day-Lewis' Hawkeye.
He also appeared in the 1994 film "Natural Born Killers," voiced Chief Powhatan in the 1995 animated film "Pocahontas" and guest starred in 2004 on the HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Agua Caliente Tribe Criticizes Mary Bono Mack for Offensive Comments

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. —The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians today issued the
following statement from Tribal Council Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe in response to recent media
reports surrounding the campaign for the 36th congressional district in California:

“The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has maintained a respectful relationship with all of
our local legislators, including Rep. Mary Bono Mack. The Coachella Valley is home to several
Tribes and a great number of Native Americans, including members of the Agua Caliente.

“For these reasons, we were offended that Rep. Bono Mack described past protests by her
opponent on behalf of Native Americans as ‘radical’ and ‘anti-American.’ This is an outrageous
and unacceptable insult to all Native Americans, including those who live in the district she
represents here in the Coachella Valley.

“We are not endorsing either candidate at this time. However, we call on Rep. Bono Mack to
unequivocally repudiate this attempt to portray standing up for Native Americans as somehow

NOW, if we could get a comment like this from ACBCI on the actions of tribes like PALA and Pechanga that have seriously harmed their own communities, rather than just offending them.

For more information about the Tribe online, please visit  And ASK them to stand up for Native Americans that have suffered actual harm.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cherokee Freedmen Case Heads Back to District Court

This week, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will be the latest venue to hear arguments in the Cherokee Freedmen citizenship dispute—the ongoing legal battle over whether descendants of liberated Cherokee-owned slaves should be entitled to tribal citizenship rights in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
The debate has lingered in and out of the courts for decades. Thursday, October 18th will be the latest legal round for Vann, et al v. Salazar, a nine-year-old federal suit filed by a Cherokee Freedwoman against the Secretary of the Department of Interior.
At issue is whether the Cherokee Freedmen—a term used by today’s descendants— are guaranteed “all the rights of Native Cherokees,” including tribal citizenship. Those words were included in the last treaty signed between the tribe and the U.S. government when the Cherokee freed their slaves and made them citizens of the tribe at the end of the Civil War.
The Cherokee Nation has long-contested that the Treaty of 1866, as its known, no longer applies to the Cherokee Freedmen of today. Meanwhile, as a sovereign Indian nation, tribal leaders assert that only it has the right to determine its own citizenry. But the Department of the Interior—the federal agency that oversees tribal matters—contends the tens of thousands of African-American progeny of former Cherokee-owned slaves are owed their treaty rights just as their American Indian counterparts have reclaimed over time.

Vann v. Salazar will return to the D.C. Circuit court where it was argued in 2008. From that hearing, a three-judge panel unanimously remanded the case back to the D.C. District Court. Last October, U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. dismissed the suit altogether based on the issue of sovereign immunity—the legal doctrine protecting federally recognized tribes, such as the Cherokee Nation, from being sued in U.S. Court. Attorney’s for the Cherokee Freedmen appealed the case in November. 

Cherokee Freedwoman Marilyn Vann filed the lawsuit nearly a decade ago after she was denied the right to vote in the 2003 tribal election. Today, she is one of roughly 2,800 former slave descendants temporarily enrolled in the tribe. Figures predict there are anywhere from 20,000 to 120,000 mostly African-American individuals who would be eligible for tribal citizenship should Vann win her case.
Critics of the Cherokee Freedmen have implied the group are merely ethnic opportunists seeking to gain access to a host of entitlement programs linked to low-to-no cost healthcare, college scholarships, housing assistance and Cherokee-preference employment.
In 2009, the Cherokee Nation filed its own lawsuit against five Cherokee Freedmen in Cherokee Nation v. Nash. That case is pending in the Northern District Court of Oklahoma in Tulsa.


Pala Tribe: Okay to DUMP Members, But Not Trash

After dumping many of their members like so much trash,the Pala Band of Mission Indians plans to hold a rally Saturday opposing the construction of the Gregory Canyon landfill near its reservation.

Tribal leaders oppose the dump because it would be located in an area they consider sacred. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 833, which would have prohibited the construction. The construction permit process is underway.

Shasta Gaughen, the tribe’s environmental department director, said the tribe wants to use the rally as a way to educate the public. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pala Youth Camp, 10779 Pala Road.

“The main message of the rally is that the fight to stop the Gregory Canyon landfill is not over and there are many opportunities coming up for the public to declare their opposition,” Gaughen said.

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Army Corps of Engineers are expected to release information regarding the permits for public comment over the coming months, Gaughen said. Proponents said the landfill project is well regulated and will create high-paying jobs.

The project is proposed on 308 acres south of Highway 76 and about 3 1/2 miles east of Interstate 15 near Pala. The dump would be 208 acres and is part of 1,700 acres owned by Gregory Canyon Ltd.

SB 833 would have prohibited the construction of a landfill within 1,000 feet of a site considered sacred to a tribe or within 1,000 feet of the San Luis Rey River or an aquifer connected to it.

In explaining his veto, Brown said he was conflicted with the project, but that he did not believe the Legislature should intervene and overturn this local land-use decision.

See for more on Pala's disenrollments.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Website: Susan Bradford's Conservative Scoops

One of the best things about running your own blog, is you can help friends out.  Investigative reporter Susan Bradford, who has helped promote tribal issues including disenrollment and the author of the book on Jack Abramoff LYNCHED, has launched a new website.

Conservative Scoops is that site. PLEASE take a quick look.

If you are conservative, you may like it, if you aren't, you may not. Either way, let her know.

Another Crack in The Tribal Sovereignty Dam: IRS Allowed to See Miccosukee Tribe's Financials

The Internal Revenue Service is allowed to look at a Florida Indian tribe's financial records as part of an investigation into gambling profits, a federal appeals panel ruled Monday.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the IRS can subpoena banks for the records, despite the Miccosukee tribe's claims that it is protected by sovereign immunity.

The tribe is based in the Everglades west of Miami. The IRS is investigating whether federal tax withholding and reporting requirements were met for gambling profits distributed to 600 members of the tribe from 2006 to 2009.

The tribe itself does not have to pay taxes under federal law, but it does have to deduct and withhold income taxes from gambling revenues that are paid to tribal members.

The tribe failed to comply with its tax obligations from 2000 to 2005, according to the judges' ruling, which led the IRS to also investigate finances from 2006 to 2009. The tax agency subpoenaed the documents from four different banks because the tribe had refused to hand over the records, the judges said.

Tribal officials also had argued that the records would reveal confidential financial information and force them to change their banking practices to keep money on the reservation. The judges rejected that argument, noting that the Miccosukees gave the information to the banks. That made the records property of the banks, not the tribe, the judges said.

The decision upholds a lower court ruling.

The tribe has previously acknowledged that at least 100 Miccosukee members owe the IRS more than $25 million in back taxes, penalties and interest. The broader investigation likely involves much more money.

The Miccosukees sued their former chairman, Billy Cypress, arguing he stole $26 million in gambling profits for his lavish lifestyle. That lawsuit argues that two former U.S. attorneys conspired with Cypress to hide the theft. All three men deny the allegations.

REMEMBER IRS:  Pechanga in Temecula has more mailboxes than people living on the Rez..

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ailing Lehman Brightman, Founder of United Native Americans, Seeks Help After Stroke

Perhaps Tribes that have benefitted from Dr. Brightman's activism can help.

Native American activist Lehman Brightman, founder of the United Native Americans (UNA) 

and his son, Quanah Parker Brightman, are facing foreclo
sure on their family home and seeking financial help. Lehman is currently in the care of rehabilitation center in California after suffering a serious stroke.

“He is not able to walk,” said Quanah.

According to Quanah, his father will not be allowed to leave the rehabilitation center until the financial debt on their home is settled.

“He should be allowed to live his final days among his family at his home,” Quanah said.

A website has been set up to accept donations to help the family save their home which is scheduled to be auctioned off Nov. 9 if the family is unable to make their payments.

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Quanah said.

The UNA was founded by Lehman in the ’60s and was based out of the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We have always been about peace. We believe in activism through pro-indigenous education,” Quanah said.

Lehman, who is both Muscogee (Creek) and Sioux, grew up in Eufaula and had many athletic accomplishments while attending Oklahoma State University before becoming politically active.

“My father is a very strong willed man; he has been very humble about his accomplishments,” Quanah said.

Quanah says he is working hard to care for Lehman while running the UNA and seeking help for the family’s home.

“The love I have for my father is carried out through actions, not just words. As indigenous people we are taught at a very early age to respect our elders and that’s what I’ve chosen to do,” Quanah said.

Quanah and his father received positive news when their bank gave them an extension to settle their back mortgage payments.

However, according to Quanah, his family is still far from their goal to keep their home from auction next month.

“We still have a long way to go,” he said.

To make a donation to the Brightmans visit:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mitt Romney Answers Questions Concerning Indian Country.

Indian Country Today was able to get Mitt Romney on record regarding Indian Country.

Many Republicans, including President Richard Nixon, have been among the greatest supporters of Indian self-determination. Do you see yourself continuing in that tradition?
Americans Indians truly embody the American spirit of entrepreneurship, hard work and self-reliance. It is this spirit that will help our country return to economic prosperity. I acknowledge and appreciate this spirit and will support tribes in their efforts to create and expand their economic opportunities. As president, I will be committed to providing tribes a seat at the table so that we can work together to get our economy back on track. I value the tribes’ input, and my administration will work to foster a culture of collaboration and respect.
What does tribal sovereignty mean to you? Do you see it as akin to states’ rights?
Tribal sovereignty is a fundamental part of our national heritage and is recognized in our Constitution. I respect and support the sovereignty of Native American tribes and recognize the importance of their culture to the rich fabric of this great country. My administration will treat this government-to-government relationship with the respect it deserves. I believe that along with continued self-determination, tribes must be empowered to pursue continued economic development and expanded prosperity. I welcome the support and input of the tribes in our fight to restore America as the most prosperous country in the world and a beacon of liberty.
What is the best way to resolve conflicts between tribal nations and the federal and state governments?
My administration will be committed to fostering and preserving a strong relationship with our nation’s tribes; one built on mutual consideration, respect and trust. As president, I will work with the tribes to improve vital services and receive input on policy. For example, I respect the unique relationship Native American tribes have with the land. I believe this relationship is key to both tribal culture and future prosperity. I am dedicated to ensuring that that relationship is not adversely encroached upon. In addition, my administration will work to improve government inefficiencies that hinder federal services to tribes and impede tribes’ economic opportunities.
Where do you stand on tribal gaming?
I respect the sovereignty of tribal governments and the rights of tribes under federal law, including their rights to operate gaming facilities in compliance with the law. I realize that tribes have thrived in their management of the gaming industry. This success should be respected and not hampered by Big Labor special interests. Additionally, I will fight attempts by Big Labor to compromise the economic liberty of Native Americans.
What is your position on the Keystone XL pipeline?
North America is the fastest-growing oil- and gas-producing region in the world, and the continent now has an opportunity to achieve freedom from OPEC that would not have even been contemplated just 10 years ago. Unfortunately, President Obama has chosen to turn his back on America’s neighbors. He rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have dramatically increased the supply of Canadian oil to the U.S. market, and now Canada plans to send that oil to China instead. Today, America still imports more oil from OPEC than it does from Canada and Mexico.
As Canadian Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper notes, fostering a greater North American energy partnership that replaces OPEC imports with stable supply from secure sources at discounted prices should be a no-brainer. And Mexico is now displaying a renewed interest in collaborating with outside partners to increase development of its own plentiful resources. By collaborating with these countries on energy development, America can guarantee itself a reliable and affordable supply of energy while also opening up new opportunities for American businesses and workers in the region. Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is a crucial step in my plan to achieve North American energy independence by 2020. On day one of my presidency, I will approve the Keystone XL pipeline.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cousin of Graton Rancheria Chairman Greg Sarris Says, "I'm Not an Indian and Neither is HE"

For years, questions have swirled around whether the leader of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria had Native American heritage.
Now a relative has stepped forward to challenge the claims, saying there is no one in her family who is Native American and that the story Chairman Greg Sarris, a well-known writer and academic, is telling is pure fiction.
“I’m not Indian and neither is he,” said Velia Navarro, a 68-year-old Los Angeles County resident and Sarris’s second cousin. “He’s a manipulator, he’s self-centered and he does things for his own benefit.”
Navarro first met Sarris in the late 1980s when he contacted the family saying he was the illegitimate son of Navarro’s cousin. She describes her family’s ancestry as a mix of Filipino, Spanish and French and said that she grew concerned after hearing Sarris’s stories about the family, many of which she says are wrong.
“How does a person have the audacity to do something like that? He is a writer and what he is saying is pure fiction…If I thought I had Indian in me, I would like to be part of a tribe building a casino because I know I’m going to get a piece of the pie.”
The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria are in the process of building a 3,000-slot casino west of Rohnert Park, prompting concerns about overdrawing the region’s water, impacts on traffic and other quality of life issues, including gambling addiction and crime.
A call on Tuesday to the tribe seeking a comment from Sarris not immediately returned. But in a 2009 letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, the tribe’s Vice-Chair Lorelle Ross, called a similar allegation, made by the Stop the Casino 101 community group, “deeply offensive” to both the tribe and all Native people.
“For too long, our Native people have struggled with our own identifies, as those in the dominant society have tried to deny or delegitimize the American Indian identity, experience and history,” Ross wrote, adding that the 1,300-tribe had the exclusive right to determine its own membership.
She went on to say that Sarris was democratically elected by the tribe and had served as chairman for two decades. She also said the tribe kept its own records used to determine membership. The tribe has previously said that old public documents cannot be counted on when it comes to California Indians, who often concealed their heritage because of the prejudice and mistreatment they experienced.

Robinson Rancheria Chairman Tracey Avila Ordered To Stand Trial for GRAND THEFT

 The tribal chair for the Robinson Rancheria Pomo Indians was ordered to stand trial Wednesday for allegedly stealing money and property while working for another county tribe.
Judge Andrew S. Blum held Tracey Avila to answer for one count of grand theft following a daylong preliminary hearing at the Lake County Courthouse, senior deputy district attorney Rachel Abelson said.
Authorities allege Avila, 51, stole thousands of dollars between 2006 and 2008 while working as a bookkeeper for the Elem Indian Colony. She was arrested in September 2011.
Avila, who denies wrongdoing, will be arraigned Oct. 30. A trial date would be set at that time.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gabriel Iglesias Plays SUN CITY; Or Better Known AS Pechanga, Apartheid Reservation

We wrote to Gabriel Iglesias months ago and to his management team informing them of the state of affairs of sovereign nation, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.

Here is that letter:

Mr. Gabriel Iglesias
Creative Artist Agency
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
tel: 424-288-2000
fax: 424.288.2900

Dear Mr. Iglesias,

We are writing this letter in the hope that you will cancel your show at the Pechanga Resort and Casino, scheduled for October 6.

I’d like to make you aware of the disgraceful actions that are happening on the Pechanga Reservation.   The Pechanga Tribal Council, led by Mark Macarro, has stripped the citizenship 25% of Pechanga Tribal Members, including the descendents of the original chief of the Pechanga Tribe.  They most recently disenrolled the Paulina Hunter descendants.  Paulina Hunter was an original allotee of Pechanga and her family still resides on the reservation, where apartheid is still practiced, 18 years after it was abolished in South Africa.

I am sure that the decimation of culture, history and beliefs are not within your value system.

Stand with the disenrolled members of Pechanga.   There may be a protest during your performance date and we are informing the entertainment press about the request for acts not to perform at Pechanga.  We all enjoy your show and performances and would love to watch your show, elsewhere.    Please do not do your show at Pechanga.  Tell the PDC that you won’t play at a location that violates the civil and human rights of it own people

Thank you for your support.  Bill Cosby REFUSED to perform at Chukchansi if Fresno because of that tribe’s disenrollment action

I have included some information with this packette, but your team can check the website  Original Pechanga’s Blog   at

We received NO responses from the Fluffy Guy.  Apparently, doing what is right is not on his agenda. Please call or fax asking Gabriel NOT to perform.