Friday, September 28, 2007

Congressional Black Caucus host Freedmen Panel

Attorney Velie is also attorney to some disenrolled Pechanga People. Could stories of Pechanga corruption be included?

Congressional Black Caucus to host Freedmen panel Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is hosting a panel on the Cherokee Freedmen in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Rep. Diane Watson (D-California) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) are convening the panel.

Watson is sponsoring a bill that would cut federal funds to the Cherokee Nation until the Freedmen are restored to citizenship. The bill has been referred to Conyers, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. "This is a rare opportunity for advocates of the Freedmen and Freedmen descendants to gather and discuss issues of profound importance concerning the Freedmen’s rightful status as full citizens of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma," said Watson.

The panel takes place during the CBC's annual legislative conference at the Washington, D.C., Convention Center. It will be held from 11am to 1pm in Room 209-C. The following are slated to speak: Jon Velie, Attorney for Freedmen Eli Grayson, Freedmen Advocate Marilyn Vann, Descendants of the Freedmen of the 5 Civilized Tribes Angela Walton Raji, Historian & Genealogist Chief Joe Byrd, former Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Hilary Shelton, NAACP, Washington Bureau Rusty Brown, Attorney, Member of Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pechanga: Tribal Leaders Worry about Image

As well they should. Pechanga has hurt more people than they have helped.


Tribal leaders worry about 'wealthy Indian' image

By: EDWARD SIFUENTES - Staff WriterPerception could damage future for tribal people, leaders say
PECHANGA INDIAN RESERVATION -- Tribal leaders said Monday they were troubled by a growing public perception of American Indians as "casino-rich" special interests.Anthony Pico, a prominent former chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians in East County, said tribal governments need to take a more active role in improving their image through the media. Pico, reporters and tribal public relations officials participated in conference called Native Voices held Monday at the Pechanga Indian Reservation.
"The future preservation and prosperity of American Indians will not be decided in the halls of Congress or state legislatures, nor will it be adjudicated ... (at) the U.S. Supreme Court," he told an audience of more than 50 people. "It will be decided by the voting public in the court of public opinion."
For more than 20 years, tribes have built casinos to improve the lives of tribal members, Pico said.Tribal gambling has grown to a more than $22 billion a year industry, larger than Las Vegas and Atlantic City gambling combined, said former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colorado, who spoke at the conference.Much of that revenue is generated by a handful of the more than 400 Indian casinos, Campbell said. And though members of some tribes receive large monthly shares of the revenue, most tribal people are still living in poverty and are in need of basic government services, such as health care, tribal leaders said.Pico said lawmaker's perception of casino-wealthy Indians has been used to roll back programs and policies that have helped Indian governments, which are sovereign under the U.S. Constitution, become increasingly self reliant.In California, there are 56 tribal-owned casinos that generated an estimated $7.7 billion last year. Many of the casinos, including five in North County and one at the Pechanga reservation near Temecula, have increasingly grown to mega resorts, which have drawn criticism from neighbors over traffic and public safety concerns.Sen. Campbell told the audience that American Indians have to be better advocates for themselves. That is something that does not come easy to most tribal people, he said."We are not a people that self promote," he said.Media and government relations consultants for tribes said tribes need to be more open to reporters and to the public about their culture, history and their economic plans for the future."Now is the time for tribal people to begin educating, not just the people in Congress, which is an on-going job," said Jana McKeag, a gambling industry lobbyist. "Unless we start talking to our neighbors at home about who we are and what we're doing, we're not going to get success and progress in Washington, D.C."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pechanga: A Letter to Emmylou Harris asking her not to perform

A sample of a letter toEmmylou Harris asking her not to play September 23, 2007 Re: Performing at the Pechanga Resort and Casino Dear Ms. Harris: Please accept this letter as a request that you decline to perform at the Pechanga Resort and Casino, which is owned by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, on October 11, 2007. Over the past 3 years, Pechanga Tribal Officials have denied and/or stripped tribal members of their basic human and civil rights and eventually stripped of the members of their tribal citizenship. Even though such actions violate tribal and federal laws established to protect individuals from "arbitrary and capricious" acts of government officials, Pechanga tribal officials have escaped prosecution by claiming immunity from suit. As a result, nearly 400 tribal citizens have been stripped of the rights and privileges other tribal members currently enjoy. Elders and children have been cut-off from programs, health insurance and medical care have been denied, education benefits have been cut, and per capita payments have been stopped. In addition, tribal members are no longer eligible to receive federal assistance since their status as a federally recognized Indian has been taken. Pechanga is not the only place where such actions are occurring. Sadly, California Indian Country has been over-run by gross human and civil rights violations and thousands of individual Indians have been victimized. Pechanga has most recently been surpassed by the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians near Fresno , California . The Chukchansi Band has reportedly rid itself off half its membership, 600 in all, with threats of more disenrollments to follow. In response to what is happening at Chukchansi, Bill Cosby recently cancelled his Labor Day weekend appearance at the Chukchansi Gold Casino (see attached story). Please read the stories attached regarding the actions taken by Pechanga Tribal Officials to victimize their own members. These acts have been compared to cultural genocide as hundreds of Indians are being "killed-off" so that others may benefit. I hope after reading the information provided you decide to cancel your performance at the Pechanga Resort and Casino. If you need more information, would like to discuss this further, or would like to meet with those who have been stripped or denied of their basic human and civil rights, please feel free to contact me at Sincerely, For more information contact LeeAnn Carlen at Vector Management Phone: 615.269.6600 * Email: EmmyLou Harris is managed by Ken Levitan at Vector Management

Sunday, September 9, 2007

LA Times EXPOSES Pechanga Corruption and Massacre of their own tribe,0,3518283.story?page=3&coll=la-home-center

from the Article:

But in the end it was all useless.According to records of the proceedings, the enrollment committee didn't accept the evidence.

"They referenced my study but ignored the historical record entirely," Johnson said. "Then they contrived several reasons to justify the disenrollment."They even accepted a letter from prison by former tribal chairman Vince Belasco Ibanez, who was doing time for child molestation. Ibanez told the committee the Madariagas came from the San Gabriel Mission and Paulina Hunter wasn't an Indian at all. He congratulated them for "beating these impostors and all the others too."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

House Expresses Disapproval of Expulsion of Cherokee Freedmen

  1. Contact: Bert Hammond(202) 225-7084Lois Hill Hale(323) 965-1422

    House Expresses Disapproval of Expulsion of Cherokee Freedmen
    Watson: Amendment "Demonstrates the Gravity of the Issue . . . Additional Congressional Actions May Be Forthcoming"

    Washington, DC- Today the House of Representatives adopted an amendment to limit funds to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma if the tribe fails to uphold the membership rights of the Cherokee freedmen. The amendment was attached to H.R. 2786, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2007. The legislation provides housing assistance to American Indians and Alaska Natives.
    During the floor debate of H.R. 2786, Congressman Mel Watt (D-NC) offered an amendment to prevent funds authorized under the act from being expended for the benefit of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma until it recognizes the Cherokee freedmen descendants as citizens of the Cherokee Nation. Watt's amendment was further amended by language offered by Congressman Dan Boren (D-OK) that sets aside Watt's amendment as long as the tribe's temporary injunction reinstating the freedmen remains in effect and if the Cherokee freedmen prevail in their appeal of Nation's March 3 vote rescinding the tribal membership of the Cherokee freedmen. Boren's amendment, as well as Watt's original amendment, passed by voice vote.
    Congresswoman Watson issued the following statement:
    "The fact that the Cherokee freedmen issue has been raised on floor of the House of Representatives demonstrates the gravity of the issue. The amendment language clearly puts Congress on record that the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma will not be in compliance with the 1866 Treaty, which recognizes the freedmen as citizens, if it takes any action through its courts or otherwise to expel the freedmen descendants.
    "The amendment also sends a clear signal that Congress will continue to monitor the situation closely. If the Cherokee Nation does not move expeditiously and in a manner indicating it will comply with its treaty obligations, Congress is poised to take stronger action.
    "I remain very concerned and troubled by the conduct of the Cherokee Nation leadership. The leadership's rhetoric and actions indicate that it has no intention of seeking any accommodation with the freedmen descendants. It is my understanding that the Cherokee Nation has eliminated from its official Web page all references on how freedmen descendants can apply for citizenship. It has refused all outside requests for its current enrollment records of freedmen descendants in the Cherokee Nation. And it pointedly refers to freedmen as "non-Indians."
    "Additional Congressional oversight of the Cherokee Nation is certainly merited, and significant additional Congressional actions may be forthcoming."

    Find out more at the Congresswoman's official website: