Our friends from the Manuela Miranda descendants (ON WHOSE Ancestor's LAND the Pechanga Casino Sits) published these stories 10 years ago. We think it's time to refresh some memories, and make sure new parties are informed.
So many young members of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians from Temecula CA... Have NO idea what went on.
Do they know that a family was disenrolled, even though they are descended from the man whose land grant the casino now sits?
Do they know the tribal council went against the will of their people?
Do they know Hunter descendants have been on their reservation land since BEFORE most of the tribal population was born?
DO they KNOW the tribe HIRED an expert, paid him THOUSANDS of dollars and then DIDN't USE his work because it disagreed with their plans?
What is the Splinter Group? Who are its members? What is its relationship to the so called Concerned Pechanga People? Why did they spearhead the Pechanga disenrollments?
Here is some information about the Splinter Group and the Concerned Pechanga People and their role in the disenrollments of legitimate Pechanga tribal members.
The information provided is available to the public and can be obtained from federal agencies through the Freedom of Information Act process. All quotes are taken directly from tribal and government documents obtained through the FOIA process.
Origins of the Splinter Group
In 1978 the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians adopted a Constitution and By Laws and an Enrollment procedure, all of which were to become effective on January 1, 1979. During 1979, the Band began operating under its Constitution and By Laws and began its first full year of accepting enrollment applications.
Everything went smoothly with these various processes until about mid-1980 when a small group of dissident individuals led by now councilmember BM (Butch Murphy) began attending meetings and opposing everything that the Band had been working for the past ten years. This group voiced its opposition in the name of “custom and tradition.” They so disrupted the regular Band meetings that nominations for the tribal council elections could not be held and had to be postponed until March of 1981 with the election to follow in April.
In the meantime, in October, 1980, Butch Murphy and his followers announced that they were breaking away from the Band and forming their own tribe. (Meaning THEY WERE NOT PECHANGA)
So, in January, 1981, they held their own elections and elected a spokesman and four council members, none of whom were enrolled members of the Pechanga Band. This self appointed “tribe”, whom Pechanga Band referred to as the “splinter group”, then went to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and requested formal recognition as the official Pechanga Band.
This recognition was granted the splinter group in spite of the fact that (1) the Council members were not enrolled tribal members; and (2) the BIA had been previously advised that this was just a splinter group; and (3) the real Band’s election was to be held in April, not in January.
After the Pechanga Band’s April election, the real Pechanga Band was once again recognized by the BIA.
However, BM, leader of the splinter group, appealed the decision of the BIA to recognize the Pechanga Band’s duly-elected council pursuant to the April 25, 1981 election.
The Pechanga Band expended significant effort in responding to BM’s Appeal. This was necessitated by the fact that BM’s Appeal “shows an alarming and blatant disregard for the true facts. That appeal document …is replete with half truths, lies, misstatements and misinformation, and as such is wholly irresponsible”.