Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chukchansi "Unification" Council Rebuffed By Indian Affairs

Things at the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians are still in disarray.

On January 24th, the Tribe's General Council voted to recognize that the six tribal leaders who make up the Unification Council – Chance Alberta, Nancy Ayala, Nokomis Hernandez, Tracey Hopkins, Reggie Lewis and Karen Wynn – have the Tribe's constitutional authority to act as the Tribe's interim governing body until an election for all seven Tribal Council seats is conducted, and to use the membership list as it existed at the time of the December 2012 Tribal Council elections.

There was a subsequent meeting this past Monday. Here's a result of that meeting

Karen Wynn and Tracy Hopkins refused to step down so the 2010 council can form. Nancy and Jennifer back Karen and Tracy. They are going to BIA tomorrow trying to get government to government started, using the unification council.  Morris took his seat but Dora refused to seat with unification. 
A vote by the 7 2010 council members to pass a resolution (to place the unification in power) was made. 4 no 3 yes. You should have seen Tracy's face when Chance Alberta voted no.  Chance tells Tracy that he knows that BIA will not accept using 2 council. Most of the time general council just verbally abuses the tribal council, which was the best part of the meeting."


On Wednesday Feb. 25th the unification council met with the BIA, with protesters gathered outside.  The determination is that tribal members DO NOT have to join with the unification council to have an election.  There will be a meeting today, Thursday 2/26.

17 comments:

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

The BIA has no authority to rule on anything in a sovereign nation. Chukchansi is compromising their sovereignty by allowing the BIA to dictate the resolution of this internal tribal matter. How many times has the BIA said they cannot intervene because they have no jurisdiction?

The worst part of this is that Chukchansi is incapable of resolving this matter internally. They need the BIA's help. I don't know how the BIA determines who they should help and who they should throw under the bus. It looks like the BIA has a vested interest in getting the casino reopened.

As usual, money talks....

White Buffalo said...

It sounds like the BIA was just giving a official policy clarification. More simply they were just giving advice.

I am amassed and a little dismayed that this tribe and other tribes like this one continue to let these people who do not have the interest of the people in mind lead their nations.

It is such a sad state to be in. It is just paper that people have put a value on. A hunter who brought home a deer was valued as a productive member of the tribe. Does anyone still sing the old songs to the children?

Anonymous said...

The song they sing "Song" GIVE ME! GIVE ME! GIVE ME ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! ILL DO ANYTHING YOU SAY...

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

This is the way it looks to me. Three factions are fighting for control of the money. They tribe pays per capita of $300 a month, but if you are on the tribal council you can steal money and get away with it so the council members don't want to step down.

The NIGC closed the Casino because audit reports weren't submitted on time. One faction broke into the Casino to get the financial reports to the NIGC, but they used weapons and it looked like a takeover. They got arrested for trying to fix things thug style.

Now the factions put together a unification tribal council and paid tribal members $1000 each to come to a meeting and vote for them. They used the election results from this meeting to show they have constitutional authority.

The BIA told them back in Aug. 2014 that the 2010 Council were the only recognized leaders and that they had to restore the membership to the 2010 roll. Apparently two members of the unification council won't step down so the other members of the 2010 Council can assume their positions.

Now the BIA is saying that the General Council doesn't have to recognize the unification Council and that they can conduct a "clean slate" election. I suppose the purpose would be to elect a new council that didn't buy votes, and isn't the same people whose incompetence and corruption caused the closure of the casino.

So why does the tribe need the BIA to tell them this? Is it because they don't understand their own laws and rights in this situation? Anyway, the BIA is telling them who their tribal leaders are, and what their membership roll should be. It is not the BIA who determines tribal leaders and the tribe has the right to determine its own membership.

I can think of other tribes where the BIA said they couldn't intervene, even when there was clear cut evidence that the tribal leaders were corrupt, had overstepped their authority, disenrolled legitimate members, and violated civil rights. The BIA called it internal tribal matters, but these tribes kept their casinos running.

This is the kind of inconsistency in BIA decisions that I am tracking. They can interfere, and will if they want to. We need to understand the way they operate and use it to our advantage.

Anonymous said...

They broke in to assume control of the tribal gaming commission files so they could make the alternate gaming commission they set up after being suspended for ethical violations look legit. The McDonald faction was suspended on Aug 8th by tgc for raiding non ceda bank accounts and misappropriating the money. The only audit files missing are on those from 2014 that were on the hard drives that were taken on Oct 10th by the McDonald faction and still have not been returned. All the prior years audits were already at the accountants waiting for their final opinion to be completed and submitted. A process which was held up because they did not recieve payment because of the dispute over who had control of the bank accounts during that time. All the while the McDonald faction intimidated employees forced hr to overlook policies so they could put their family members in positions they wanted and made regular large million dollar withdrawals in cash from the casino cage. It all ended with them charging into the casino on Oct 9 holding non native CASINO employees at gunpoint one was kicked while being handcuffed and his ribs broken. They then went to the employee level and attempted to break into the security offices to shut down the surveillance system (just as they did in September at the Butler building when they smashed in windows and pried open doors with crow bars and ripped all the wires out of the camera system) when they approached the officers who were just released by madera sheriffs from being held in handcuffs at gun point they assaulted the casino employees in the doorway tasing them over 30 times Tex McDonald dragged another of his employees to the ground and sat on him punching his head into the ground and rupturing several disks in his back. David Dixon attempted to hit another employee in the head with a baton, luckily another man put his arm in the way and deflected the hit however he suffered sever muscle damage to his upper arm and shoulder. Please tell me again how they should handle their own internal disputes? The tribe made a deal with the state and county. They employed a thousand non native people and made millions and millions of dollars from non native people coming to their casino. They have an obligation to not create a dangerous environment for those people and if they can't then they don't get to play in the sandbox of soverianty and gambling. seems pretty simple to me

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

Oh, you make it all sound so reasonable. I have no investment in the conflict, and this will all come out in court. I hope the parties involved can get their facts straight and let justice prevail, and thanks for chiming in with a different version of the story.

As an innocent bystander, I will say that your version has some points that will need explaining. The NIGC says that the 2013 and 2014 audited financial statements were not submitted on time, and they suddenly were submitted just after the McDonald faction invaded the Casino. The dispute over who had control of the bank accounts did not prevent 300 tribal members from receiving $1000 checks to vote for the unification council. There was a previous attempt to take over the Casino mounted by a faction not headed by Tex McDonald. There was a takeover of the tribal administration building and two people were stabbed.

Blaming it all on Tex McDonald and his followers does nothing to address the disenrollments or the refusal of unification council members to step down and restore the 2010 tribal council and membership roll. These kind of actions speak volumes on the motivations of the unification council members.

There is a mess and it is an internal tribal matter and has nothing to do with the BIA, the NIGC, ICRA, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs or a total outsider like me. Do you want me to tell the tribe how to fix their own problems?

Anonymous said...

They can't resolve their own internal problems because they are too greedy and they don't trust each other. As soon as another council takes control either by "voting" or over throwing each other, as soon as they get the power, they start stealing money. They do it because they never had that type of power in their life and were always poor with no money. So its in their nature to steal as soon as they get the chance. So there can be no peace within this tribe unless the U.S. Government steps in and gives them guidance. I say if they are not willing to do that, then keep the casino closed and strip them of their recognition.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

Their leaders have demonstrated that they are untrustworthy and incompetent. I resist the temptation to paint the entire tribe in the colors of their leaders. Ultimately if the tribe cannot govern itself, then its federal recognition should be revoked. Otherwise the whole idea of federal recognition and a government to government relationship is compromised.

Anonymous said...

What needs to be called out is that the so called "unification council" is not unifying at all. In fact it is a continuation of the factions. Lewis and Alberta lost the election in 2011, which started the first two factions. Now they want to hold a new election that does not include members who were kicked out and skew the results so they can maintain control. That's why Lewis is so adamant that only those members as of 2012 are allowed to vote. To paraphrase, he said: you can't just bring those people back. Why not, you just kicked them out so easily? That's his greedy, selfish logic.

Anonymous said...

Restitution, please tell me how you fixed your own tribes problems. You must be here due to personal experience, and that must be ongoing. But yes, it is an internal problem. Many nations go through this, not just Indian nations. Even the US went through this, although the focus was not casinos, but still the direction of the nation was in dispute. It's clear the rest of the tribes mentioned on the blog haven't experienced this because those in control have effectively eliminated their opponents. Thus the BIA still has a governing body to work with and doesn't concern itself in the leadership matters, no matter how corrupt the tribes dictators are.

As for your presumptive idea on how you would solve this problem, I would love to know how you would wrestle control and allow the people to elect who they want to run the tribe. Because if you could do it at Chukchansi, you could do it at all these tribes and end the basis for this blog.

Anonymous said...

The unification council was Reggie's idea,it has no standing and never did. We did not expect anything he did to be done legally. However every $1000 handed out was another $1000 Reggie didn't get to keep. He and Nancy have enough of our money already.

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

I was disenrolled from the Pala Band of Mission Indians, and I glad I am no longer a member. Pala is under the control of a corrupt Executive Committe, and many members have been enticed to join in their abuse of elders, violations of tribal law, and discrimination against other Indians. Their problems are their own, and I don't intend to help fix them.

I believe that the Pala disenrollees made errors in their approach to fighting the disenrollment action. We tried to prove that we had the blood degree, that the Pala EC had overstepped their authority and violated tribal law, and that they could not overturn the BIA decision that we should be enrolled in the tribe. We were wrong. The BIA said it was an internal tribal matter, they ignored the civil rights abuses and constitutional violations, they claimed they were supporting the federal order, but that they had no jurisdiction and could not intervene.

The strategy and analysis I am offering here is intended to help those who are currently facing disenrollment. I think that those facing disenrollment orders should not commit the same errors we did. You misunderstood when I facetiously asked if Chukchansi wanted me to solve their problems. I am not a member of that tribe, and have no power to change the attitudes and beliefs of those who are caught up in the situation.

I think it is possible to put the BIA in a position where they will be unable to give deference to tribal leaders in a disenrollment action. The way to do this is to file an appeal with the BIA stating that it is a violation of tribal law to selectively apply enrollment standards to one group of members. All tribal members should be subject to the same standards, tribal leaders included. If we had done this at Pala then we would have been able to make the Pala EC meet the same standard they applied to us, and some of them would have failed the test.

Now as for the problems at Pala, there is an appeal of our lawsuit against the Pala EC that is on the docket for Friday. It is possible that the court will find favor with our arguments. If not, there is an ongoing action taking place that has some interesting implications, but I am not at liberty to discuss it at this time.

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Anonymous said...

they might live in madera county,and they may claim PRCI as their home. And they may have a P.O. box at postal annex, are they really "CHUK INDIAN" because a true Chuk Indian would never, ever turn his back a real Chuk Indian would not steal from their tribe, a real Chuk Indian would not disrespect Elders, a real LEADER would not go against Customs & Traditions of the real Indian People of the tribe, real leaders would fight to save the Tribe, not rip it apart and destroy what our ancestors died for, and last the council, have raped their people and that Eric Holder doesn't give a fuck. Well it looks like we have a corrupt leaders in PRCI, and worse of all,it seems that the Chuk People don't give a FUCK, I know this first hand because i live in maders county, and i do give a fuck that reggie, chance, morris, dora, nancy, jennifer & nokonis are doing what they want and hurting our Tribe

Anonymous said...

gail l. said, they might live in madera county,and they may claim PRCI as their home. And they may have a P.O. box at postal annex, are they really "CHUK INDIAN" because a true Chuk Indian would never, ever turn his back a real Chuk Indian would not steal from their tribe, a real Chuk Indian would not disrespect Elders, a real LEADER would not go against Customs & Traditions of the real Indian People of the tribe, real leaders would fight to save the Tribe, not rip it apart and destroy what our ancestors died for, and last the council, have raped their people and that Eric Holder doesn't give a fuck. Well it looks like we have a corrupt leaders in PRCI, and worse of all,it seems that the Chuk People don't give a FUCK, I know this first hand because i live in maders county, and i do give a fuck that reggie, chance, morris, dora, nancy, jennifer & nokonis are doing what they want and hurting our Tribe

Anonymous said...

gail l. said
they might live in madera county,and they may claim PRCI as their home. And they may have a P.O. box at postal annex, are they really "CHUK INDIAN" because a true Chuk Indian would never, ever turn his back a real Chuk Indian would not steal from their tribe, a real Chuk Indian would not disrespect Elders, a real LEADER would not go against Customs & Traditions of the real Indian People of the tribe, real leaders would fight to save the Tribe, not rip it apart and destroy what our ancestors died for, and last the council, have raped their people and that Eric Holder doesn't give a fuck. Well it looks like we have a corrupt leaders in PRCI, and worse of all,it seems that the Chuk People don't give a FUCK, I know this first hand because i live in maders county, and i do give a fuck that reggie, chance, morris, dora, nancy, jennifer & nokonis are doing what they want and hurting our Tribe

Anonymous said...

they might live in madera county,and they may claim PRCI as their home. And they may have a P.O. box at postal annex, are they really "CHUK INDIAN" because a true Chuk Indian would never, ever turn his back a real Chuk Indian would not steal from their tribe, a real Chuk Indian would not disrespect Elders, a real LEADER would not go against Customs & Traditions of the real Indian People of the tribe, real leaders would fight to save the Tribe, not rip it apart and destroy what our ancestors died for, and last the council, have raped their people and that Eric Holder doesn't give a fuck. Well it looks like we have a corrupt leaders in PRCI, and worse of all,it seems that the Chuk People don't give a FUCK, I know this first hand because i live in maders county, and i do give a fuck that reggie, chance, morris, dora, nancy, jennifer & nokonis are doing what they want and hurting our Tribe