20 defendants are in court today facing FELONY charges for putting nail holes in a door at the offices of the Berry Creek Rancheria. The cost of wood putty and paint have risen dramatically in Oroville, apparently.
Protesters say they were being threatened with disenrollments when they barricaded themselves inside Berry Creek Rancheria headquarters. Actually STANDING UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS is not looked at favorably either by Berry Creek Tribal Council, nor the district attorney.
The standoff was reportedly over a disenrollment vote for four individuals. During the event, 19 people locked and barricaded themselves inside the tribe's offices. The prosecution alleges the other defendants provided support to the group.
After the event, investigators found lumber, wire, tarps and straps drilled into walls, windows and doors through the tribal office's two buildings. Officials also found baseball bats, slingshots, bear pepper spray and sleeping bags.
Investigators also reportedly found absentee ballots from the disenrollment process removed from ballot boxes and shredded.
Interesting that the District Attorney is working so hard on an "internal tribal matter" when he won't lift a finger concerning the abuse by the Berry Creek Rancheria on their tribal members. They have stolen over $4.4 MILLION from tribal members via disenrollment.
This disenrollment dispute has been simmering for over a decade:The Sierra-foothill Berry Creek Rancheria is having difficulty deciding if its election to decide the status of 28 tribal members was legitimate. On Oct. 22 the rancheria's general assembly voted 83 to 78 - with 13 abstentions - to retain the disputed members in full status. That should settle the matter, right? No says the tribal council whose members felt there were sufficient irregularities in the voting process to establish grounds for a new election. This has disputed tribal members crying foul. The central issue is whether disputed members, largely from one family, were descended from Dick Harry, a tribal member from the 1850s. Disputed members say they are descended from Dick Harry's half-brother, a historically documented Maidu Indian named Billy Day. The members in question claim the evidence they have was sufficient for the tribal council in the 1980s when many of the family members were admitted to the tribe. Disputed members say the reason their membership has been called into question relates to gaming revenue.
The disaffected members feel the tribal council wants to gain bigger gaming shares for themselves and their families.
Last summer the tribal council decided to put the matter to a vote in September, later delayed until October. Ballots were sent by certified mail to all voting members who were asked to vote on whether the 28 members were full members. All 28 disputed members were allowed to take part in the vote. In a summer interview, tribal council members said that no one was being considered for disenrollment. They said a discrepancy was found in 1992 regarding their descent and the disputed members were informed at that time and they were looking to change the members' status to a lesser rank without full member rights. When the ballot appeared in October, however, it asked for the disputed member's disenrollment. Enrollment committee chairwoman Bolton says the reason for this discrepancy was because the council was "still researching the matter." One of the disputed members, Victoria Mahnke, points out that the tribal council is claiming the members in question had known of the council inquiry into their ancestry since 1992
It's SHAMEFUL that the BIA won't address the issues facing Indian Country.