Thursday, December 6, 2012
Chukchansi Disenrolls More, Has Manipulated Election
A tribal council election Dec. 1 at the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in Coarsegold voted in
two new members -- Charles "Charlie" Sargosa and Carl "Buzz" Bushman -- and re-elected Nancy Ayala,
who's been serving as the tribe's chairperson since this fall.
The new election comes about a month after more disenrollments at the rancheria -- 43 tribal members
ousted from a Chukchansi allotment near Hensley Lake. The disenrollments were made even though the
tribe's constitution protects the enrollment of individuals from the Chukchansi allotments -- awarded by the
government in the late 1800s through the early 1900s.
A phrase in the constitution about needing a "special relationship" to remain in the tribe is being
manipulated, putting all Chukchansi people in jeopardy of disenrollment, many tribal members have said.
A new election ordinance was also created in September by tribal council.
The ordinance prohibited at least two candidates from running in the Dec. 1 election, and goes against
Chukchansi's constitution that outlines criteria needed to be a candidate, said Dora Jones, who was elected
last year as the tribe's new vice chair but was never allowed to be seated -- along with the three other
winners of that election -- who are all opposed to recent Chukchansi disenrollments.
The new Chukchansi election ordinance increased the minimum candidate age to 25 -- what is 18 in their
constitution -- and requires all candidates to have attended eight tribal council meetings throughout the
previous election year. The Chukchansi constitution only requires eight meetings for those running for a
tribal council office, not for those running for a "member at large" position.
Other new election ordinance requirements are more vague, including phrases like needing to be in "good
standing" with the tribe to run for office, and demonstrating "active involvement in the affairs of the tribe."
The new Chukchansi tribal council will include the newly-elected Sargosa and Bushman, re-elected Ayala;
Reggie Lewis, who was not up for re-election this year; Karen Wynn and Tracey Brechbuehl, who were
appointed in May to fill the council seats of Jones and Morris Reid, who were suspended from council
shortly after winning last year's election; and Chance Alberta, who lost last year's election and the
subsequent March election for the seat of Harold Hammond's seat (who was also not allowed to be seated
after winning last year's election). Alberta now fills the seventh seat, won by Dixie Jackson last year, who
was also not allowed to be seated on council by others in power.
No charges for February violence -- casino trespassing in March now prosecuted
Many Chukchansi people have expressed frustration that while no arrests have been made regarding a
stabbing and other acts of violence that occurred outside the tribal offices in February, a casino
trespassing charge is now being prosecuted by the district attorney's office.
Sierra Star News story on Chukchansi Disenrollment