|BIA UNDER FIRE for|
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern California agency is withholding all responsive records on a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the Trask family who has occupied San Pasqual since 1909.
Because the agency claims exemption 6 in the request in question, this complaint, embedded below, Reyes is requesting the Bureau of Indian Affairs to identify each document withheld, state the statutory exemption claimed and explain how the disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. Emilio reports that in multiple occasions provided death records to substantiate that these individuals are now deceased therefore, exemption 6 wouldn’t apply. Even though the administrative appeal was filed to the Office of the Solicitor, the agency decided to ignore his appeal.
In previous posts, Reyes claims the agency has been non-compliant to FOIA requests. Multiple complaints have been filed with the court that involve the California Pacific Regional Office and the Southern California Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The agency tends to withhold records and in some cases, redacts information on responsive records even when proof of death is provided. In previous conversations with Chief of Staff, he has brought up his concerns. Although he was advised to provide a recommendation on how to help the agency improve their tasks, Emilio thinks the problem is far beyond that. Unfortunately, the Chief of Staff Andrea Kadish, is on leave of absence, therefore possible solutions have been placed on hold.
Emilio’s extensive research has opened the light to covered up corruption in the San Pasqual Indian Tribe. His research includes the Trask-Lawson family who now sits on the tribal council. The requested records relate to the enrollment applications of deceased Trask family members that duplicates have been located in the National Archives, however, some pages are missing. Emilio claims that the repository of the BIA holds the missing pages that could prove the historical errors.
HISTORY of SAN PASQUAL -Trask Family
The Trask-Lawson family emigrated from Baja California to the Mesa Grande Indian reservation. Many records substantiate the claim that this family is not San Pasqual, but in fact, if the BIA finds they do have Indian blood, there is nothing that links this family to San Pasqual. Today this family is listed on the rolls of San Pasqual. Additionally, The Office of Federal Acknowledgement, an agency under the Department of Interior, does not recognized Mexicans or Indians from Baja as California Indians.
The Act of 1928 specifically asked to give the names of the California Indian ancestors living on June 1, 1852 who were parties of any treaty with the United States. Then it states to provide what lands in the State of California were taken away from the Indian ancestor without compensation or pay. The first time in history this family shows up on the census was in 1890 and it was a Mesa Grande census. So how can they claim to have a living ancestor living in the State of California in 1852? The information provided was of course false. Nevertheless, their 1928 enrollment application #10165 was approved by Examiner Fred A Baker. The family had occupied the San Pasqual Indian reservation, eventually any agent would have believed they had Indian ancestry.
When Frank Trask was appointed in the San Pasqual Indian reservation he was always mentioned as the “white caretaker” of the reservation. Years later, the family insisted the BIA to make this man an Indian to “increase” their blood degree. (OP: conspiracy?)
The BIA did, they relied on a 1910 San Pasqual Indian Census to “determine” he was ½ Indian. Nevertheless, the 1910 San Pasqual census does not mention any blood degree of any citizen listed on the rolls. How did the BIA determine this?
Discrepancies also exist in the history of current tribal chairman who is a Trask descendant, Mr Allen Lawson JR. His father, Allen Ernest Lawson Sr who was born in 1923 and supposed son of Helen Agnes Trask, does not seem to be listed in any censuses until 1952. This raises the question of possible adoption. Even though adoption is traditional and acceptable, the BIA has questions to answer to his adoption. Can they provide a petition of adoption request for Allen Ernest Lawson SR? Where is the approval of the Secretary of the State or the DOI approving his membership. The records do not exist. If Allen Lawson SR was the biological son of Helen Lawson, who is listed on the 1928 California roll in application 10165, how come he is not listed as son? Then we would have to ask who is the biological father of Allen E Lawson SR? Later the family would lie to the BIA to increase his blood degree to be eligible for enrollment. At one point the family claimed the uncle, Bruno La Chappa was the father of this man to increase his blood degree. In Emilio’s personal opinion, the disenrollment of Marcus Alto descendants is the perfect example of hypocrisy by the BIA and the Trask family. The Trask family have the same scenario in which the Marcus Alto descendants were disenrolled.
In the past the family has been accused of leaving the real descendants of the tribe out of their reservation. Allen Ernest Lawson JR was accused from operating personal construction business to build the casino, but yet, receiving small gifts from contractors, just cars, small gifts. He has also been seen thru the casino cameras withdrawing money from the ATM’s when he’s short on cash. I wonder what the FBI, The Indian Gaming Commission or perhaps the IRS have to say about this? Why are tribal members not speaking up? Disenrollment fear? Perhaps a full audit on BIA, BIA employees and San Pasqual would answer many of the questions.
Reyes states: "The withholding of these records hide the truth of the Trask family, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has known for decades that this family are non-Indians and ineligible of membership in San Pasqual, but yet, they refuse to correct their historical errors. As Natives we have a responsibility to speak up and hold BIA officials accountable for their actions and inactions."
The list of questions Reyes raises are:
Why did Frances Muncy retire?
What was her involvement in the Marcus Alto case?
How was she involved in the enrollmnet of the Trask descendants?
Why is Regional Director Amy Dutshke not correcting historical errors?
Why is FOIA Coordinator, Douglas Garcia not training employees to follow compliance?
Why is the agency redacting all records requested thru FOIA’s?
Why is the Office of the Solicitor not reviewing turn down requests or providing recommendations to the BIA?
IS the BIA really consulting with the Regional Solicitor when turning down requests?
Why is the Office of the Solicitor not answering appeals? Why do we have to get congress involved or sue the agency to have the agency do their job? Why is It that there is conflict of interest with almost all BIA employees? Why is the niece of Amy working at the same agency?
The Bureau will now be forced to answer these questions thru continuous FOIA requests and in some cases getting the courts or congress involved. To view the Trask family tree click here: Trask Family
Emilio Reyes is the descendant of Mary Grijalva Bega, a full blooded Gabrieleño Indian who exposed government corruption in the early 1900’s, she opposed the construction of the Prado Dam in Riverside. She also revolt against the American government for the destruction of sacred sites and Indian burial removals in Southern California. Follow his movement at Stop Tribal Genocide.