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.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Still dont see how "Rancheria's" are even considered Natives...? Rancheria's are straight "Farmers".

Anonymous said...

Those are ranchers jack ass

Anonymous said...

Just like leroy Miranda's grandma rocinda who wrote
many times."my father was full blooded Yaqui". He was Yaqui from south of the U.S. border. They have a generation enrolled that shouldn't be! And the person who continues to enroll this family? None other the clown himself Robert smith!

Marilee Montgomery said...

You can read Velia Navarro's sworn Declaration on the web site www.stopthecasino101.com. Just click on the Greg Sarris Ancestry page. There's also an audio clip of Velia on a local radio station form October 2.

I did the research on Sarris two years ago after local Pomos urged me to check Sarris' ancestry; they felt strongly that the guy wasn't Native American. What I found confirmed their beliefs.

I was humbled, yet gratified to find my research confirmed when I first spoke to Velia a couple of months ago. Everything she told me supported the research I had done.

Graton Rancheria complained that my 2010 research didn't take "oral tradition" into account. Well, now they have oral tradition, and they're still not happy.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

Marilee Montgomery said...

You can read Velia Navarro's sworn Declaration on the web site www.stopthecasino101.com. Just click on the Greg Sarris Ancestry page. There's also an audio clip of Velia on a local radio station form October 2.

I did the research on Sarris two years ago after local Pomos urged me to check Sarris' ancestry; they felt strongly that the guy wasn't Native American. What I found confirmed their beliefs.

I was humbled, yet gratified to find my research confirmed when I first spoke to Velia a couple of months ago. Everything she told me supported the research I had done.

Graton Rancheria complained that my 2010 research didn't take "oral tradition" into account. Well, now they have oral tradition, and they're still not happy.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

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Dianne M. Reinhardt said...

Maybe he wants to be Indian so that he could use the reservation to set up a casino. Has there been a study on gambling addiction among the tribes?

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