Saturday, April 1, 2023

Disenrollment and the Betrayal of Tribal Members' Civil and Human Rights With Tacit Approval of Congress and Native America

 A quick follow up to Paul Johnson's article AREN'T Native Americans Entitled to Civil Rights  read that, then this.

The violations of civil and human rights that occur when individuals are disenrolled without due process are abhorrent. The following are some of the key rights that are violated in such cases:

Unbiased tribunal: All individuals have the right to a fair and unbiased hearing. When tribal governments fail to provide an impartial tribunal, the integrity of the process is compromised.

Notice of proposed action and the grounds on which it is based: The right to notice is a fundamental principle of due process. Without proper notice, individuals may not have the opportunity to prepare a defense and respond to the charges against them.

Opportunity to present a reason why the action should not occur: The right to be heard is essential to due process. When individuals are disenrolled without the opportunity to present their case, their rights are violated.

Right to call witnesses on your behalf: The right to call witnesses is a fundamental aspect of a fair hearing. When individuals are disenrolled without the ability to call witnesses, they are denied a fair process.  The action of disenrollment abusing this principle makes the action unjust

Right to know what evidence is brought against you: Without the right to know what evidence is being used against them, individuals may not be able to mount a proper defense.  In our case, Pechanga IGNORED the evidence they paid for, since it didn't produce the action they wanted.  They accepted hearsay evidence

Right to have the decision based only on the evidence: STOP LAUGHING!   Decisions must be based solely on the evidence presented in a fair hearing. When decisions are made without proper evidence, individuals may be disenrolled unfairly.

Right to counsel: The right to counsel is a fundamental principle of due process. When individuals are disenrolled without the ability to have legal representation, their rights are violated.

Right to a public proceeding: The right to a public proceeding helps ensure transparency and accountability. When hearings are held in secret, the process is more likely to be unfair.  When we are told we can't speak about it, it's unjust

A record of the proceedings: The right to a record of the proceedings helps ensure that decisions are made based on the evidence presented.  We weren't allowed writing implements..we you?

Right to judicial review: The right to judicial review helps ensure that decisions made by tribal governments are subject to review by an impartial court.   WHY the need to invoke sovereignty, when a review of the facts, if just, would stand for themselves

When any of these rights are violated, the integrity of the disenrollment process is compromised, and the rights of the impacted individuals are violated.   Any rights, not all....but if all are violated, there is no justice

Aren't Native Americans Entitled to Civil Rights Protections? Paul Johnson, American Indian Activist Discusses Which Civil Rights Are Being Violated.

 I'm reprising an July 2015 post where I invited a friend, Indigenous Activist Paul Johnson, to write a piece on the civil rights that we constantly talk about, but to many, they only have a vague idea what it means.    I'll add some thoughts on how these violations relate to my family's issues at Pechanga.    

The recent resolution from the NNABA supporting Equal Protection and Due Process for those who have been divested of the Right of Tribal Citizenship
is shining a light on the civil and human rights violations that accompany many of the disenrollment actions happening throughout Indian Country.  So what are these civil rights to which we refer, and how are they being violated?
When we speak of the right to due process we are citing the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Due process provides protections to those facing a proposed action, applies in civil and criminal proceedings, and has specific requirements.
Here are the requirements in a nutshell:
1.     Unbiased tribunal
2.     Notice of proposed action and the grounds on which it is based
3.     Opportunity to present a reason why the action should not occur
4.     Right to call witnesses on your behalf
5.     Right to know what evidence is brought against you
6.     Right to have the decision based only on the evidence
7.     Right to counsel
8.     Right to a public proceeding
9.     A record of the proceedings
10.  Right to judicial review

Here is how the Fourteenth Amendment says it:
...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.
Most disenrollees receive no prior notification that their tribal citizenship is in jeopardy. Tribes refuse to conduct hearings, or provide the opportunity to present evidence or witnesses. The decision is usually made in private meetings of Enrollment Committees, based on dubious and spurious evidence and without an independent judicial review. 

These are violations of the right to due process as guaranteed by the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, but the ICRA has no provision to enforce denial of due process. Was it an oversight of Congress to omit the power to enforce these rights for tribal citizens? The obvious answer is NO!

 And we'll address that in a subsequent post.

Friday, March 31, 2023


The recent acknowledgment by the Catholic Church that the Doctrine of Discovery dehumanized Indigenous peoples and did not recognize their equal rights is an important step towards healing and reconciliation.

This doctrine has been used by governments, including the United States, to justify mistreatment and land theft from Indigenous communities. 

We hope that this acknowledgement is not just symbolic, but leads to a full recognition of the history of oppression and colonialism, not just by the Church but also by governments worldwide.

Tribal disenrollment is a modern-day issue that stems from this history of oppression and discrimination.  The fact that some tribes use racial and discriminatory criteria to strip members of their tribal citizenship is unacceptable and violates the fundamental principles of human dignity,  as we have seen with the Five Civilized Tribes, and more recently with the reported upcoming expulsion of Blacks from The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians in CA.

Native leaders and native media MUST HAVE difficult conversations and work towards positive change and restorative justice for all peoples.

The resilience (WE ARE STILL HERE) and wisdom of Indigenous peoples are a testament to their strength and faith in a better future. DO THE RIGHT THING Tribal Leaders.



The slow process for justice is nearing the end for the Black Creeks as they will be in court APRIL 4th.  Read JIM CROW REARS IT's UGLY HEAD  for some background.   Over 154 years of INJUSTICE is a lot to bear and the Creek Tribe, a former ally of the Confederate States and slave owners themselves, must be held to answer.

THE BLACK WALL STREET TIMES has the story, here's an excerpt
Plaintiffs Rhonda Grayson and Jeff Kennedy are represented by Greenwood District attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons. They’re suing the Muscogee Nation Citizenship Board for denying them citizenship based on being designated “Freedmen,” the descendants of Black people who were once enslaved by the tribe.

Black Creeks argue that the tribe should respect the 1866 Treaty with the U.S. government. It declared Black Creeks and their descendants perpetual citizens of the tribe with full rights.

Meanwhile, the Muscogee Nation Attorney General represents the Citizenship Board. They argue that the tribe should instead respect the tribal constitution, which was revised in 1979 to exclude anyone who isn’t Creek “by-blood”.

Treaty rights aren't a one-way street.  RESPECT the TREATIES should mean respect ALL THE TREATIES.

READ THE ARTICLE and wish our Creek Freedmen friends good luck in this court battle

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland, WE HAVE QUESTIONS for YOU on TRIBAL DISENROLLMENT. WHAT DO YOU KNOW Madame Secretary

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland had some difficulty this week answering simple questions from congress.  I'd love to give her an opportunity to answer my questions on disenrollment, tribal abuse and corruption.   

Madame Secretary please address these questions for 11,000 Native Americans being sacrificed on the altar of sovereignty

What is your understanding of tribal disenrollment and its effects on tribal members?

Have you had any interactions with tribal leaders or members regarding the issue of disenrollment?

Do you believe that tribal leaders should be held accountable for their actions of violations of civil rights when it comes to disenrollment?

Would you direct the  BIA to facilitate mediation between tribes and disenfranchised tribal members in an attempt to resolve disputes and find a mutually acceptable solution?

In your opinion, what steps can be taken to address disenrollment and its impact on affected tribal members?

How do you plan to ensure that the rights of disenfranchised tribal members are protected and upheld, particularly when it comes to access to essential services and benefits?

Tribal Leaders and Politician's Silence on Tribal Disenrollment Speaks Volumes on Their Priorities. Civil and Human Rights Aren't Priorities

Politicians and tribal leaders turn a blind eye to the abuse of disenrollment, which perpetuates the historical trauma of Native Americans.    HOW HARD IS IT TO SAY THIS?


"As a leader of this community, I strongly denounce the practice of disenrollment. It goes against everything our ancestors fought for and undermines the very foundation of our tribal sovereignty."


"Disenrollment is a painful and divisive practice that only serves to tear our communities apart. We must come together to find a better way to resolve our differences and build a stronger, more inclusive future for all members of our tribe."


"No one should be stripped of their tribal citizenship and all the rights that come with it based on flimsy or non-existent evidence. We must uphold the principles of due process and fairness for all members of our community."


"The elders in our community are the keepers of our culture and traditions, and we must honor and respect them. Disenrollment only compounds the historical trauma our people have faced and perpetuates the very injustices we have fought to overcome."


"As a leader, it is my duty to stand up for what is right and just. Disenrollment is a violation of the basic human rights of our tribal members, and we must put an end to it once and for all."

Tribal Leaders Engage in Disenrollment War of Attrition, Leaving a Trail of Dead and Abused Elders

 It is a despicable truth that many tribal leaders do not care about winning the "hearts and minds" of their communities when it comes to the issue of tribal disenrollment. Instead, they seem to be fighting a war of attrition, leaving a trail of dead elders in their wake.  They are installed in the Tribal Leader's  HALL OF SHAME

Let's DEFINE ELDER ABUSE:    California State Bar Association Elder Abuse:

It is the neglect, exploitation or “painful or harmful” mistreatment of anyone who is 65 or older (or any disabled dependent adult aged (18 to 64). It can involve physical violence, psychological abuse, isolation, abandonment, abduction, false imprisonment or a caregiver’s neglect. It could also involve the unlawful taking of a senior’s money or property.

For those who may not be familiar with the term, even after 16 years of blogging,  tribal disenrollment refers to the process by which tribal members are stripped of their citizenship and all the rights that come with it, often based on flimsy or non-existent evidence of insufficient ancestry or other criteria.  It's tribal terrorism

While disenrollment can have devastating effects on the lives of those affected, including loss of access to healthcare, education, housing, and other essential services, tribal leaders seem to be more concerned with consolidating power and resources within their own ranks than with the well-being of their communities as a whole.

They are willing to go to great lengths to achieve their goals, including using legal loopholes and questionable tactics to strip people of their tribal membership. And when their tactics are challenged, they resort to intimidation, harassment, and even violence against those who dare to speak out.  The want to hold POWER AT ANY COST

What is especially tragic about this situation is the toll it takes on the elders in these communities. Many of them are the ones who have fought hardest for tribal sovereignty and self-determination, only to find themselves targeted and marginalized by their own leaders in their old age.

These elders are the keepers of their people's culture, history, and traditions, and their loss is felt deeply by their families and communities. It is a cruel irony that those who should be held in the highest esteem are instead treated with such callous disregard.

It is time for tribal leaders to realize that their actions have consequences, not just for those they disenroll, but for the entire community. They must prioritize the well-being of their people over their own narrow interests and work to build a truly inclusive and just society. The alternative is a continuation of the war of attrition that leaves only casualties in its wake.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Controversy surrounds Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland as Critics Question her Qualifications for the JOB IS she the Pete Buttigieg of the Interior

Sorry Aunty, we expect you to know your job, not just parade around as a diversity hire.  Frankly being the Pete Buttigieg of the Interior is NOT A GOOD LUCK.

Deb Haaland
Secretary of the Interior

All of Indian Country had high hopes for the first Native American Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland when she was chosen.  Well, not all.  The Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes were against her choice, you can read about that here   

The Department of the Interior is ALSO responsible for energy in this country, see this tweet, then watch the video of how little she knows after over a year.

You would think that she would study and learn and be fluent in the issues important to her boss, President Joe Biden.  Alas, NO.  See her poor performance today.   This was so weak to be embarrassing.

How can we expect her to understand the issues of disenrollment which affects 11,000 living Native Americans?   Just because she's Native?

Monday, March 27, 2023


 My young friend Cam Foreman, disenrolled from the Redding Rancheria along with 70 of his family,  had this statement to me and twitter today:

External attacks on tribal sovereignty get more attention, while the abuse of power by tribal governments, including the denial of treaty and constitutional rights, risks the sovereignty of indigenous people

Corruption and abuse of power can undermine tribal sovereignty in several ways. First, they can erode the trust and confidence of tribal members in their own government, which is essential for a sovereign nation to function effectively. When tribal leaders abuse their power, it can create a sense of disillusionment and disconnection among tribal members, who may feel that their voices and concerns are not being heard or addressed.

Second, corruption and abuse of power can lead to a breakdown in the governance of the community. When leaders prioritize their own interests over the needs of the community, it can result in a lack of accountability, like at Pechanga with their two large family disenrollments, transparency, and effectiveness in decision-making.

This can ultimately weaken the ability of the tribal government to fulfill its responsibilities and provide for the well-being of its members.

Corruption and abuse of power can also result in the loss of resources and lands that are critical to the sovereignty of indigenous communities. When tribal leaders misuse funds or engage in fraudulent activities, it can lead to the loss of important resources that could be used to support the community.   Similarly, when tribal lands are sold or leased without the consent of the community or in violation of treaty obligations, it can undermine the sovereignty of the tribe and threaten their ability to maintain their cultural practices and way of life.   WE MUST DEMAND accountability

Addressing these issues is essential for ensuring that our indigenous communities can exercise their inherent right to self-determination and thrive as sovereign nations.


 “Heather Rae is not a citizen of the Cherokee Nation,” Scott said in the statement. “She has no affiliation with Cherokee Nation Film Office and was not included in any funding it provided to ‘Fancy Dance.'”  

The Cherokee Nation couldn't moondance away from Heather Rae fast enough.

She joins a LONG list of FAKES, in both Hollywood and Academia and politics with Elizabeth Warren (D).

Cherokee genealogist and tribal advocate David Cornsilk clears up the misconception on Cherokee identification

The estimable ACEE AGOYO of INDIANZ has the full story here

Rae, however, has claimed to be Cherokee since the early days of her decades-long career, one in which she has emerged as a key player in the film and television industry, where American Indian and Alaska Native voices are all but invisible. When asked 17 years ago about being “part Native American,” she had a quick answer.

“What tribe?” the host of the Idaho Public Television show inquired in March 2006.

“Cherokee,” said Rae, who was raised in Idaho and who nodded repeatedly when asked about her heritage.

While asserting to be Cherokee, Rae has centered herself as a creator of Native stories, the kind that rarely get told in Hollywood. She ran the “Indigenous” program at the Sundance Institute, which organizes the largest independent film festival in the United States, before going on to write, direct and produce a series of projects with Native themes, including the Oscar-nominated Frozen River.

The Painful Legacy of Tribal Disenrollment: How Pechanga's Ancestors Are Crying Out for Justice


Dishonors our Ancestors who
have been together from

It is deeply disheartening to witness current council members disregard over three decades of the Pechanga band's history between 1970 and 2000.  It is equally dismaying that they seek to erase the oral depositions recorded by several Ancestors of the Pechanga band in 1915.  BRING ALL our PEOPLE HOME.

We owe it to our shared Ancestry, including those we ADOPTED INTO THE TRIBE, to uphold the honor and dignity of ALL band members, from our predecessors to the present day.

The fact that Allotted Indians at Pechanga can be stripped of their voting rights, water rights, and their rightful share in casino profits is a travesty. It is a dishonor to our Ancestors and their federal and band recognition. Are they the same tribe that was federally recognized?    We cannot remain silent in the face of such injustice.

Our Ancestors deserve the truth, and it is our duty to honor it, ALL OF US. Let us stand together in solidarity and fight against any faction that seeks to undermine our shared heritage and dishonor the legacy of our forebears.

The time has come to demand that our rights be respected and our voices heard.  We will not rest until justice is served, and the truth prevails.  Our ancestors DEMAND it.

READ:  Mark Macarro's Legacy: Harming Indians, Lying to Congress and APARTHEID at Pechanga

The reason why the truth about Pechanga's disenrollment remains unchanged is that the tribe refuses to allow it to be openly discussed in an unbiased forum such as a court of law (The Pechanga General Council, THE PEOPLE) where both sides could present their case. Despite what Pechanga claims about courts, this has never happened.

If you think that our appeal, and that of the Manuela Miranda descendants were fair and unbiased, consider this: the people who ruled and voted against us during our disenrollment were also on the tribal council, and our appeal was heard by the same council. This is a clear conflict of interest and would never be allowed in any court of law or other impartial panel.

When we asked that those who ruled against us from the enrollment committee recuse themselves from participating in our appeal, it was met with ridicule and a refusal to step aside. Can we honestly say that we received a fair hearing? It is akin to asking a thief to sit on the jury of their own case.

This is just one example of the unfairness that the enrollment and tribal council engaged in. There are several by-laws that were not considered and were outright broken. Pechanga is clearly afraid of the truth and is unwilling to face the consequences of their actions

Indigenous Voices Demand an End to Tribal Disenrollment and Upholding Human Rights and Traditional Ways of Honor

Finally, new voices are joining the chorus against the action of disenrollment, which has harmed over 11,000 Native Americans in nearly 80 tribes.   Secretary Deb HaalandVice President Kamala HarrisCA Governor Gavin Newsom  Fawn Sharpof the NCAI, not so much:


We condemn in the strongest possible terms any actions that violate the civil and human rights of Indigenous people, including stripping them of their citizenship and stealing their rightful per capita payments. These actions are not only unethical, but they also violate the fundamental principles of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.

We stand in solidarity with those who have been affected by these actions and call for justice, healing, and reconciliation for all Indigenous people. It is our hope that all tribes will work towards solutions that prioritize the values of Indigenous communities, including cultural identity, sovereignty, and community membership, and ensure that the rights and well-being of their people are protected and respected.

We call on policymakers, advocacy groups, and all stakeholders to engage in discussions and work together to address this issue in a way that is respectful of Indigenous sovereignty and human rights. Together, we can work towards a future where all Indigenous people are able to live with dignity, respect, and justice.

Fawn Sharp, Secretary Deb Haaland, Vice President Kamala Harris, CA Governor Gavin Newsom    WE EXPECT BETTER OF YOU

Until the leaders of tribes across the country step up and acknowledge the horrific damage that is occurring in Indian country, the genocide of our elders and future generations will continue unabated. This is not a problem that should be swept under the rug or ignored, as it strikes at the very heart of what it means to be human.