Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Santa Ynez Tribe Wins Right to Reduce Indian Population In Their Tribe, WITH BIA's assistance

From the attorney for Santa Ynez people that were denied citizenship in their own tribe, Jon Velie.  Velie is well known for fighting for the civil and human rights of Native Americans, against those tribes who would strip them from their brothers and sisters.

For those who followed our case about the Santa Ynez Indian people that were denied citizenship in their Tribe because the BIA confirmed a decision of the temporary election committee officials to analyze and utilize documents outside of the historical document adopted by the people in its Constitutional document, we lost.

The Federal Court was able to hear this case because of a rare clause in the Tribe's Constitutional document that granted the BIA the duty to hear appeals on membership issues.
In our opinion the BIA shirked its fiduciary duty to ensure the officials followed the laws passed by the people.
Unfortunately, the Court agreed with the BIA that it was reasonable for the officials to ask the Plaintiffs to prove that not only was their ancestor listed on the 1940 historical document a full blood, but that her father was too.
We cited federal and tribal court cases that say whatever facts are listed on the historical document are not open to interpretation.
Yet we lost and so did all Indians who have Constitutions that adopted historical documents to prove membership, because this ruling means an appointed officials can now determine whether the rolls may be accurate instead of requiring them to take the data on them as facts. With this additional power, nobody is safe from the whim of analysis.
Today my client's authorized me to appeal. I do so on their behalf and for all who are now exposed.
The fight for Native peoples who's identity is being stripped by their Tribal and Federal governments goes forward.
While physical genocide of Indian people may have passed into the ugly past, native identicide continues as the U.S. policy to reduce numbers of people who can claim the benefits of being an Indian increased its toll by dozens.

The saddest part is the partnership some tribes have taken to assist the Feds in terminating their numbers.

There is strength in numbers. Reducing tribal population based on Disenrollment, moratoriums on enrollment, purging of rolls, utilization of excessive or extra requirements and implementation of blood quantum all have to the same effect, reducing the number of Indians.


Anonymous said...

Sad, just terrible.

Anonymous said...


Native Diamond said...

A human mundane asked? Why is this weather so strange? And why is everything in this planet gone chaotic? The Answer is simple.."Native Karma".. is upon the land...its time for those who Genocided the "owners of this land to pay the native piper. And with more "Disrespect for the natives true bloodlines...The more the foundation of the Interior will shake""..Mr.Ken your work has just begun..

White Buffalo said...

The bible talks about these weather patterns and rising temperatures as a sign of end times. Karma or prophesy things are changing. I hope for success in your case against the BIA, but I( am fear full that the corruption of the system will work in the favor of the unjust, and that we will be frustrated and blocked at every turn. This is my hope that our effort will not go unnoticed and that in the end we will be rewarded.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

And now the pattern emerges for all to see. Tribal leaders disenroll members. The BIA will not interfere. The Court says it is reasonable.

In this case the BIA says it is reasonable to go against tribal law and to demand a higher level of proof than what tribal law requires. In the Pala case the BIA claims it is reasonable to say that tribal law is controlling law, and that a change in the present law can affect past decisions.

Both are reasonable in the eyes of the court, but the only commonality is that innocent people lose their heritage, rights, and entitlements. I am certain that if we were to do the research we would find this pattern repeated over and over again. Each time a decision is made it goes against individual tribal members.

How is it possible that every disenrollment action, no matter what the reason behind it, gets support from the BIA, and the Court supports the BIA?

Oh, you say the Court has issued remand orders and told the AS-IA he must issue a new decision. Has any of these remanded decisions resulted in the reinstatement of disenrolled members? And if so, how long elapses between disenrollment and reinstatement?

So far the only reinstatement I have seen ordered is at Chukchansi, and that was only because the tribe was behind in its obligations, and the creditors wanted their money.

I do not see this as apocalyptic. I think Jon Veile, Thor Emblem, Dennis Chappbitty and the other attorneys of the disenrolled should investigate this pattern. Is it possible that there is some kind of tacit agreement between the parties involved? It just seems inexplicable that each time the decisions are made, no matter what the circumstances, that the disenrollments are protected.

It doesn't matter that human and civil rights are violated. They are obviously not as important as destroying the lives of Indians. It doesn't matter how many people are harmed. It doesn't matter what kind of convoluted arguments are required to make it appear reasonable.

I am hoping that a clever lawyer sees the same pattern, the parties involved, the kind of communication that is necessary to enable the desired conclusion, and how to reveal the sources and content of those communications. That is as big of a hint as I can give right now.

Anonymous said...

Seem as though class action against united states failure to protect with all nations together and all attourney s together might be looked at just guessing either way one million together is better together all for one one for All

Frustrated_Tribal_Member said...

There goes Mr Johnson again. Blabbing out of his mouth. Of course these Lawyers know there's a pattern. The goal is to break it. The only way the pattern changes is when a solid case gets brought before a judge on valid terms. The San Pasqual and Pala case are such. I don't want to discredit other tribes but most tribes constitutions do not allow even the BIA to interfere, SANTA CLARA V. MARTINEZ.
Mr. Johnson, I assume you are either a non tribal member, misinformed or work for the BIA. I just do not understand your negativity. You have nothing good to say about any tribe anywhere, and I really think your ignorance really shines through. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...


Frustrated_Tribal_Member said...

That's exactly right Anonymous. What throne does he sit on? While his facts are on point, his opinions are vague, questionable and always in a negative manner. I would like to see what he contributes to disenrolled members...... besides talking shit.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

When the lawyers are filing their motions against the BIA they are looking at a specific decision, but the pattern encompasses multiple decisions. Look at the two recent federal court decisions in complaints against the BIA. Is there not a direct contradiction of BIA action between the Santa Ynez and Pala?

In Santa Ynez the BIA says that it is reasonable to perform a holistic review of the governing document and ordinances to arrive at an enrollment decision. In Pala the BIA says that the Enrollment Ordinance is controlling law and that it must abide by the Tribe's interpretation of that law. So for one tribe a holistic reading of the laws is reasonable, for the other a limited reading of the law is reasonable.

That is a direct contradiction. In order for decisions to be reasonable they must be consistent, otherwise such decisions are arbitrary and capricious. I will go even further. By using different standards for different tribes the BIA is exhibiting bias and discrimination against tribal members.

The BIA explicitly states that they show deference to tribal leaders, and defer to their interpretations of tribal law. The Court upholds this as reasonable, and there is no way around this. However, Judge Phillips says that in addition to the deference that the BIA shows tribal leaders, the Court shows deference to the BIA. Double whammy. No wonder why tribal members always lose. No one cares what happens to them.

Judge Phillips says something quite telling at the end of her decision. She says that "the Bureau has no clear standard on which to base its decision." So the BIA is making these decisions without any idea upon what to make its decision? That is not true. The BIA clearly bases its decisions on tribal law and the interpretation of that law by the Tribe.

Since that is the standard, the BIA is obligated to consistently apply the same standard to all tribes, and that standard should be the accurate representation of the statement of the law. Not some convoluted reasoning that allows tribal leaders to get rid of opponents.

I say the lawyers need to start comparing these decisions and hold the BIA accountable for consistency. In the absence of consistency there is discrimination, and in this case it leads to civil rights abuse, the violation of fiduciary trust, and the termination of heritage, rights, and benefits tribal members.

Anonymous said...

The BIA has a obligation to stand behind and enforce there 1989 final decision of MB. What happend in pala was wrong. It needs to be corrected

Frustrated_Tribal_Member said...

The BIA has different agreements with each tribe. Its based on their constitution. While I agree it will lead, or has lead to discrimination and other issues that Mr. Johnson has given us, it still is a soverignty issue and will continue to be left up to the tribes. The BIA has taken the duty of interpretation of these constitutions, and I do agree that different interpretations may cause controvery, but each contention is a case by case matter. It would be like the USA getting mad at Mexico because we dont like their judicial structure.
Unless there is an act of congress to create a general plan for the 500+ tribes in the United States then nothing will change. Besides the fact that the government is run by money and some tribes have a lot of it.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

To Frustrated Tribal Member:

This might be a strategy to help disenrollees by trying something that has not been tried before. Comparing the BIA decisions on disenrollment appeals for consistency might reveal that the BIA makes decisions in an arbitrary and capricious manner. That is one of the three standards of review under the APA, along with abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.

This is not a negative statement about a tribe, and it is entirely based on a thorough reading of the two decisions that cites specific statements in those decisions. If the strategy is flawed, then I invite you to point out the flaws, and to suggest something that would be more effective. I do know that we have been beating our heads against tribal sovereignty, tribal immunity, deference to tribal leaders and their interpretations of tribal law, and the reasonableness of BIA decisions.

That is how we can pull together our efforts and accomplish something positive. Insulting me without actually refuting my statements is a reflection of your ignorance. It is you who are blabbering, and your assumptions are all wrong.

So offer some useful comments. I promise to listen carefully, consider the points with an open mind, and respond in kind.

Frustrated_Tribal_Member said...

Reinstatement_Restitution you have made some very valid points. The research that I have done is minimal in the spectrum of Tribal Law. I lack the credentials that you may have and I do not have an answer to the many many open questions you ask. However, I do understand how my Tribes Constitution is written and I do know that My Family has a very valid case. Thank you for your input and I do agree that useful comments are a necessity in trying to decipher this wave of disenrollments and the BIA's reckless decision making. The lack of answers has contributed to my negligence. My apoligies. FRUSTRATED_TRIBAL_MEMBER

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

To Frustrated Tribal Member,

Apology accepted and it is commendable that you have taken the time to understand your Tribe's constitution and the merits of your family's case.

As far as the Santa Ynez Band and Rosie Pace, the determination of her blood degree has many questions. My concern in such cases is fairness. Is the same standard applied to all tribal members? Has each and every tribal member identified the parentage of the person from whom they claim lineal descent and documented their blood degree?

This is where many tribes fail to protect their own members. Often a powerful faction within a tribe seeks to exclude certain people while conveniently failing to meet the standards they impose on others. That is why OP harps on the abuse of civil rights, and we are reminded that all tribal citizens are entitled to equal protection under the law.

All the best to you, your loved ones, and may we all work for the betterment of Indians while speaking out against corruption, abuses, and the movement to terminate native citizenship.