|Lyle Davis Editor|
Having just completed a two-part series on disenrollment as it affects both the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, I've become aware that this problem is not limited to just these two bands and their respective casinos but is simply a microcosm of what is happening statewide and nationwide.
I'm also aware that, because of sovereignty issues, the various tribes have little, if any, oversight on their distribution of revenues received from the casinos and the manipulation of these funds and/or disenrollment can and does have a major impact on tribal members.
There are frequent allegations of abuses, from skimming profits to using the casino revenue as a personal bank account, to settling political scores, to enhancing one's own personal income by disenrolling someone else. None of which allegations can be addressed by district attorneys or attorneys general at either the state or federal level, all because of the sovereignty issue.
The only solution, it appears to me, is to band together as one united Indian nation, elect some charismatic leaders who can motivate your members and then go on the warpath. No pun intended. This group, once formed, needs to descend on the offices at the county, state and federal level and raise hell - on a regular basis, demanding congressional legislation that opens up the books and requires accountability. (OP: Lyle raises a good point in this clutters. On having a leader/leaders who will stand up. The difference to me, is: I AM PECHANGA, my great great grandmother's LEGACY to ALL her descendants. I'm not going to be someone ELSE. Also, as far as the Congress is concerned, it IS settled, the compacts were approved, without them caring about open books)
There is an incentive for state and federal governments to get involved . . . and it's financial. A greater percentage of casino revenues would flow into government coffers .. . and, given the multi-billion dollar industry the casinos represent, the amount would be meaningful. (OP: I think it's past time that CA opens up gaming, government run)
Pressure needs to be regular and steady . . . peaceful . . but firm. You need to camp out on the doorstep of Assembly members, senate members, congressional offices, governors, bureaus, the Bureau of Indian Affairs . . . any governmental office that has any degree of influence over tribal affairs need to subjected to constant pressure. (Come election time . . . these candidates need to know there are votes and financial support available for those who offer sincere support. [Realize,however, that the casino treasury is overflowing with money for campaign contributions and regular paid lobbyists already on staff . . . so it's an uphill battle] - realistic proposals for new congressional legislation, at both the federal and state levels, need to be developed, proposed, promoted, and demanded. (OP: Agreed, yet, trying to get those who are aggrieved, to even send an email is mostly unsuccessful)
Then, and only then, will the Indian Nations succeed in getting a fair shake. Good luck. Go to work! Make it happen!