Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pechanga Cheats It's Members: What Would YOU Do?

Paulina Hunter's MYSPACE blog asked that question in February and I'm re-introducing the question here. The link has the original story, but more interesting is the comments from her friends. Please, feel free to answer the question: WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Pechanga (meaning the tribal council and disenrollment committee) has CHEATED its members, by disenrolling them from the tribe. They have wronged over 500 people, when you include spouses and children who cannot claim membership.

Since 1995, almost 12 years, they have been paying per capita to each member of Pechanga. Here is the breakdown as they give for loan authorizations for the first years:
1995: $1,075 1996: $3,360 1997: $20,204 1998: $39,853

Now, bear in mind that by 1998, this is MORE money than many of the tribe has made in a year, EVER. You'd think that people would be HAPPY to be making an extra $3,000 a month.
1999: $44,071 2000: $47,744 2001: 63,800 2002: $91,000

Well now, in 8 short years, tribal members are making $7,500 per month, got health care approved and guess what? CPP started getting JEALOUS of what San Manuel was making (significantly more, due to smaller membership) so they started looking at how they could get more money.

Was setting a positive example of tribal unity and good public relations to build business and relationships the way?
Was getting rid of some members so you could control power and get their per capita the way?

Which would you choose? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?


Anonymous said...

Tribes are supposed to stay together. Thats what has been done for hundreds of thousands of years. Finally when tribes can fend for themselves they choose to be selfish and not do the right thing!

Anonymous said...

"We will be known forever by the tracks we leave."
- Dakota
"It is easy to be brave from a distance."
- Omaha
"Those who have one foot in the canoe and one foot in the boat are going to fall into the river."
– Tuscarora
"It is less of a problem to be poor, than to be dishonest."
- Anishinabe

*From the 1927 Grand Council of American Indians*

-"The white people, who are trying to make us over into their image, they want us to be what they call
"assimilated," bringing the Indians into the mainstream and destroying our own way of life and our own
cultural patterns. They believe we should be contented like those whose concept of happiness is
materialistic and greedy, which is very different from our way.
We want freedom from the white man rather than to be integrated. We don't want any part of the
establishment, we want to be free to raise our children in our religion, in our ways, to be able to hunt
and fish and live in peace. We don't want power, we don't want to be congressmen, or bankers....we
want to be ourselves. We want to have our heritage, because we are the owners of this land and
because we belong here.
The white man says, there is freedom and justice for all. We have had 'freedom and justice,' and that
is why we have been almost exterminated. We shall not forget this."

"What we all need to realize is the government still wants to civilize the 'savages'. The casinos have done this more effectively than any other policy, as they have torn the tribes away from thier traditions and beliefs of one community for all peoples."
- J. Bryan Galt (

Creeper said...

Lets be real here. i think it's safe to say that the Indian is screwing the Indian, on behalf of power and greed. Just this once leave the" white man" out of this.The majority of these people in the Tribes are Indian who are behind these shameful acts.

OPechanga said...

I will publish the BIA decision on the splinter group in 1981. Remember one land, one tribe in the Pechanga commercials? Russell Murphy, Frances Miranda, Ihrene Scearse were looking to make it two tribes.....

Anonymous said...

We need to continue doing what we are doing. Also try and get more family involved. Let them know we are not going anywhere.

Luiseno said...

"Remember one land, one tribe in the Pechanga commercials?"

Is it possible to demand equal airtime on these networks that run what is basically a political message? Perhaps we can use the message to our advantage and demand equal airtime to put across our position?

OPechanga said...

That's an interesting point. Those are political ads from a sovereign nation. Does equal time apply?

PHunter said...

Obviously, setting the positive example of tribal unity would be the way to go. Instead of building business and personal relationships, the tribe is forced to buy it's way into the hearts and minds of S. California. $10 million already trying to wipe the stain of what they have done to their own blood, the original Pechanga Temecula people. By the way, the per capita is over $30,000 per month now... Pechanga the incredible shrinking tribe, will let the next family go after the elections...

Anonymous said...

The main reason for equal airtime was brought about to cover situations like ours. Where you have a very rich and powerful enity buying time and spreading misinformation, and you have a poor (or not so rich) group who can not afford airtime to counter a misinformation campaign.

Bryan Galt said...

The real purposes of terminating memberships are two-fold:

1. Removal of potential distribution competition: Each member of a gaming Tribe is usually entitled to an equal share of the Casino profits. In the case of Chukchansi Gold, the casino has been averaging $4 million per month in payments to the Tribe over the past 18 months (as reported to me by a former Tribal Council member). The Tribe had 1,224 members the day the Casino opened its doors in 6-2003. As of 11-29-07, it has less than 600.
a. 18 months at $4M = $72M
b. 1,224 members / $72M = $58.8K over the 18 months or $3,200 per member per month
c. 580 members / $72M = $124K over the 18 months or $6,900 per member per month
d. 200 members / $72M = $4M over the 18 months or $20K per member per month (100 members is the stated goal of the faction currently in control of the Tribe and its operations.
2. Removal of Native Americans from Federal obligation: Under current federal guidelines, almost every benefit that is available for Native Americans require that the person is a member of a federally-recognized Tribe or be at least 50% blood Native. The removal of so many people is helping the federal government to disband the BIA and save untold millions or even billion’s in assistance to Natives who are terminated. Historically speaking for California, the 50% blood is extremely difficult to find any more since the California Native Americans were nearly wiped out.
a. Spanish arrival in the late 1600’s through 1848: it is estimated that 100,000 Indians in California died during this period, reducing the population down to 200,000 to 220,000.
b. The American’s arrive: in 1849, the gold rush began. In 1850 California became a state. In 1851 or 1852, California offered a bounty on the head of any dead Indians (men, women and children). In that year, 177,000 Indians were killed. From 1852 to 1900, the Indian population statewide dropped to just over 10,000 people (and that was counting all mixed race individuals down to 1/32 Indian bloodline).
3. To Add Insult to Injury: There have been several Supreme Court rulings that have determined Tribes can determine their own memberships. Not one of these rulings ever addresses the conflict of interest involved when kicking members off the rolls for money. The Court states that only Congress has the power to change this rule. Unfortunately, Congress is the property of the gaming Tribes. In January 2007, the Senate voted to turn down a resolution that would have placed Indian Tribes into the same category as corporations and thus limit their donations. Instead, the Tribes are able to donate any amount they wish to either party and to any incumbent or candidate they wish. The gaming Tribes donated more money than the AFL-CIO! This kind of feeding frenzy has virtually guaranteed the continuing spiral of the Tribes into smaller and more powerful groups. It is also guaranteed that the Tribes are going to be non-existent at that rate, which I believe is the ultimate goal of the federal government.

Historically, every action taken against any Indian Tribe and every law passed since the US was formed has had the purpose of bringing the “savages” into “civilized life” and that goal has not changed. The only change has been in the way the game is being played. Instead of the government taking directly offensive actions to “civilize” the Natives, the casinos are doing it at light-speed. The casinos are destroying the Tribes while forcing the Native’s to become part of mainstream society by cutting them out of the system once and for all. The government has the perfect cover: the Tribe made the decision, not them!

I hope this helps you to see what is really at stake: the very existence of the Native spirit that once inhabited this land is on the verge of extinction. The Native people are victims of ‘genocide on paper’ and as long as the money keeps flowing into the political coffers, it won’t stop until the Natives are no more (at least from a legal viewpoint).

As for the question regarding air time, the rules that you are referring to only apply to Presidential elections. Also, since Pechanga is a quasi-sovereign state, the rules would definitely have no bearing on them at all.

I have repeatedly suggested that there are enough disenrolled Natives in this state to mount a great counter PR campaign if only it were possible to get $10 to $20 a month from the entire group (more would be even better).

However, for reasons that I don't understand, I have found that the vast majority of Native people I speak with don't want to put up a fight, especially if they have to help pay for it.

Until that changes, the casino's are going to win every time.

Anonymous said...

The Hunters were not the first, and they will not be the last. The CPP will not be satisfied untill they devistate the tribe and leave nothing but wanna-bee's, pretenders, and no-bloods in our place. I have said befor it takes the will of the people and a whole lot of money to get congress to do the right thing. We may scare them a little when we say do the right thing cogressman Feienstien, but not realy because you know that I have no power or money to back up my words, yet you say nice thing to me but you nevere address my issues because of who you accept contributuins from. Pecanga pays lip service to the govener and the federal government because they know that they have ecconomic powere that carries weight with the man. Mark I know your secret and those that you serve will soon come to me for the ansewrs to their questions that they asked so long ago. you droped the ball and they know it. because of what you did to my family I will say to them you lied again.

Anonymous said...

Please publish the 1981 splinter group minutes.
I have read them and I think all should know why and whom are acting "like " pechanga's but are not really from here, nor looking to the best interest.
Sad that we know the truth but the CPP's will never accept the truth.

PHunter said...

Why is it that you don't here about other tribes like Rincon having membership "issues"? Is that because Pechanga is one of the few backstabbing tribes? Does the criminal element there, dictate the direction?

No on 94.

Anonymous said...

what is wrong with rincon issues. they are just learning from pechanga how not to get enrollment out of controll. what about all reservation issue why single out a few. over the years i have learned if you dont have the blood then you should not get enrolled, now befor these casinos how many of these poor people even wanted to be know as a ndn. i have seen this over and over again, it is not fair to the true people of the reservations. but also how money has changed people the greed that has come across the southern cali navties. they dont talk to anyone anymore, maybe there are some that trying to save the traditions bless them, but it is hard battle when your own people are biggest battle ythey must face

OPechanga said...

In Pechanga's case, they didn't have out of control enrollment. They took enrolled members OUT of the tribe. Their expert PROVED that the Hunter family had blood. Adopted people are STILL in the tribe, while real blood are out. The remaining tribal members don't talk to longtime residents either. They are ashamed of themselves.