Friday, November 2, 2007

PECHANGA: Genocide In Indian Country Part One

Genocide in California Indian Country

Below is a list of places in California Indian Country where tribal officials are participating in actions to decimate their own people.
The incidents at each has happened since the passage of Props 5 and 1A which legalized Indian Gaming in California. As a result, California Indian Gaming has grown into a multi-billion dollar business where even non-gaming tribes share in revenue generated by California tribal casinos.

The actions taken by the tribal officials are exactly the types of "arbitrary and capricious" acts that were the catalyst for the introduction and passage of the Indian Civil Rights Act. The acts to strip or deny individuals of their basic human and civil rights have been taken in violation of both tribal and federal laws which are intended to protect these rights and privileges of tribal members. The victims have been denied access to fair and impartial forums in which to have their grievances heard, and the tribal officials have invoked immunity from suit to protect themselves from prosecution.

In most instances, individual members have been denied the due process and equal rights protections provided in the Indian Civil Rights Act, as well as language in their Tribe's governing documents which mandates that tribal officials uphold the individual rights of each member without malice or prejudice.

Another commonality exists- each of the tribes listed benefits in some form or fashion from Indian Gaming. Tribes such as the Pechanga Band and Table Mountain Rancheria have highly successful gaming operations, while others enjoy moderate success. Other non-gaming tribes are paid money from the Special Distribution Fund. In total, hundreds of millions of dollars are paid out each year to individual tribal members.
Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians- 300 adults and children
In 2004, 130+ adult members and their immediate families were disenrolled from the Pechanga Band. The members were all descendants of Chief Pablo Apish, a historically significant leader of the Pechanga/Temecula people. None of the members were allowed to participate in the 2004 tribal elections as a result of their disenrollment.
An additional extended family of approximately 100 adults was disenrolled in March 2006 when tribal officials determined that the ancestor from whom they are lineally descended from was not an Original Pechanga/Temecula person. This determination was made despite the fact that a report prepared by a well known anthropologist hired by the Band's Enrollment Committee concluded she was a Pechanga/Temecula person.
The most recent disenrollment of 100+ adults and children was especially egregious as the General Membership, the Tribe's governing body, had previously passed a law which (1) repealed the Tribe's disenrollment procedures and (2) made it illegal for the Enrollment Committee to disenroll members.

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