Getting word that the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians is disenrolling 70+ members on Friday. Hopland operates the Sho-Ka-Wa casino, and seems to have had some difficulty forcing an end to per capita payments, and benefits to the tribe's youth.
Sources say this was initiated by Wanda Balderama, Wilma Elliott and William Elliott, who are all on Hopland's enrollment committee. The tribe has approximately 800 members, so this stripping of tribal citizenship will be nearly 10 percent of the tribe.
Apparently, there was a sneak rushed meeting conducted that excluded other committee members from being in attendance and thus, unable to vote.
The 3 recommended disenrollment to the tribal council and they conveniently scheduled said meeting for this Friday; the day before the tribes candidates day. Candidates day is when eligible tribal members can announce their candidacy and pay the $400 candidates fee to run for tribal council. This action might keep some from declaring
The tribe seemingly doesn't want to follow their mission statement: The mission of the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians is to provide for the preservation of our cultural traditions, the protection of the homelands, the continuous improvement of the social and economic standard of the people, the establishment of a democratically representative government for present and future generations of the Band,
A couple of former tribal chairpersons and their entire tribal family are being terminated, so how's that for preserving cultural traditions? Hopland seems to have had a successful tenure in the early years. First brick and mortar casino in the bay area, per cap and many other general services benefits for all tribal members and at the time, a successful EDC Corp.
Word is that attorney Lester Marsten is advising the tribe. Marston was an advisor to the failed Tex McDonald faction of Chukchansi, whose raid on the casino forced it's closure for one year..
UPDATE Media Advisory:
*** Event Begins at HOPLAND TRIBAL COMMUNITY HALL, 3000 SANEL ROAD, HOPLAND, CA 95449 at 9:45 AM, 01/15/2016***
LOCAL HOPLAND TRIBAL COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING TO DISENROLL 10% OF TRIBAL MEMBERS
The Hopland Band of Pomo Indians is located in Hopland, California just off of Highway 101 in Northern California. A secret meeting was held with the Hopland Tribal Enrollment Committee and a motion to disenroll 70 Tribal members was proposed. A special meeting has been scheduled for Friday morning to hear the complaint from the Enrollment Committee and to vote on its legitimacy. If the vote is in favor of the complaint the Tribal Council is rumored to be removing a currently sitting Council Member, a majority of her family, as well as preventing members of her family from applying to run for this year's Election of three seats on the Tribal Council. The Candidate's Day event set for Saturday, January 16, 2016 the following day after this special meeting. Sources say the Enrollment Committee recommendation is spearheaded by its Chairman Wanda Balderama, and committee members Wilma Elliott and William Elliott. The three were said to have held a last-minute special meeting that prevented several of the other committee members from being in attendance and having a vote on the matter.
The tribe has long since stopped providing the membership with per capita disbursements from casino profits, as the market saturation of tribally owned and operated casinos has forced tribal administrators and casino executives to focus on covering operating costs at both Hopland Sho-Ka-Wah Casino and Hopland Band of Pomo Indians tribal administrative offices. This act of disenrollment is not one based on achieving financial gain for remaining members, but rather it is a political move bent on illegitimating the voices of primarily one family group, their relatives, and members that live outside a reasonable driving distance.
During the summer of 2014, the Tribal Council already passed a change to its Election Protocols, by passing a recommendation from Election Committee Chairman Kathy Littlebear to invalidate the absentee voting status of several hundred members. The tribe's constitution requires that provisions be made for absentee voting, so using carefully chosen wording the protocol was amended to allow absentee voting for only active military or disabled persons, rendering at least 50-100 of its members unable to vote without making expensive travel arrangements from Central and Southern California, out-of-state, and members that live abroad. Rumors of a mass disenrollment began circulating after the change to the Election protocols, and it is no coincidence that it is happening just prior to this year's Election proceedings.
The tribe is already small and preserving its cultural heritage in an ongoing struggle. Keeping its membership intact is vital to the tribe's collective voice and cultural longevity. All enrolled tribal membership of the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians are encouraged to be in attendance of the Special Meeting called for this Friday, January 15, 2016 and to stand up for their fellow members. Council members may try to illegally move up the meeting time to avoid public membership attendance.
WHAT: Hopland Tribal Members Opposing Proposed 10% Disenrollment of Membership
WHO: Hopland Band of Pomo Indians Tribal Membership
WHERE: Tribal Community Hall, 3000 Sanel Road, Hopland, CA 95449
WHEN: 09:45 AM on January 15, 2016