Thursday, November 20, 2014

Plaintiffs Counsel Speaks On Ruling In PALA CASE: On to Appellate Court

Law Offices of 
205 W. 5th Avenue, Suite 105 $ Escondido, California 92025 
Telephone (760) 738-9301 $ Fax (760) 738-9409 

November 20, 2014
Contact: Erin Emblem
760.7383.9301 Office

San Diego, CA - The descendents of Margarita Britton have long been besieged in a dispute
about the nature of their Native American heritage with the Pala Band of Mission Indians. Despite
the Bureau of Indian Affairs 1989 "final decision" stating that Margarita Britton was in fact 4/4
Indian and the 2012 reaffirmation in their letter to the Pala Tribe recommending that the family
stay on Tribe's official rolls, corporate greed over gaming revenue and per capita distributions
have fuelled the forced exodus of this disenfranchised family as well as many others like them
from tribes throughout the state and nation.

"The motives of the band's current management team are pretty clear and actions like these make
us question the rights and responsibility of our own government and the extent of our authority to
protect federally enrolled members. The BIA says that they can only recommend. If the
government knows that the rights of its citizens are being violated isn't their responsibility to step
in? They do it all the time, all over the world and this case we're asking them to protect American
citizens here in the United States. This Laissez-Faire, bury your head in the sand, look the other
way stance our government seems to be taking with federally enrolled tribal governments that
make up the rules as they go along doesn't happen with other foreign nations. The level of
dysfunction is just baffling to me. Could you imagine what a relief it would be to foreign
dictatorships if we took the same position?" asks appellate attorney Tracy Emblem who has spent
countless hours researching case law, statutes and ordinances which requires the federal
government to step in and in this case enforce the BIA's determination.

After months of delay appealing to the BIA back in 2012 and 2013, the U.S. District Court in
Aguayo v. Jewel, et al, issued a ruling yesterday full of mixed messages about where the family
stands and the scope of the federal government's authority. The long and short of the 35 page
decision is that it is in Judge Bashant's opinion that she does not have the authority to hear or rule
on the case.

When asked for his take on the ruling, Plaintiff's attorney Thor Emblem remarked, "it's apparent
that the judge wants the court of appeals to make the call on this. A decision of this magnitude
should come from a higher court as it has the power to specify the extent of the government's
authority and duty over a sovereign nation within its borders. If the ruling had gone the other way,
it was likely that the Tribe would have challenged a decision in our favor by filing a joinder, so no
matter the outcome, this case was on track for the appeals court. The good thing to come of this is
that moving forward our case can be heard in a court that is both familiar with the nature of our
case and is comfortable making a ruling that affects governmental policy. The 9th Circuit Court of 
Appeals has previously ruled on two of our primary arguments in the case of Alto v. Black where 
they found in our favor. From where we're standing, the appellate route is our next and best 
course of action at this time."
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