More than 80 keynote speakers spoke on environmental policy, smart growth concepts and American Indian sacred places.
Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians spoke on protecting sacred California Indian places. At the same time he was speaking for the need to protect the more than 1,000 sacred Indian places throughout the state, the Pechanga were trying to disenroll 133 members because the enrollment committee said they "failed to show proof of lineal descent from original Pechanga people."
John Gomez Jr. was one of those expelled and is the unofficial spokesman for the group. He was, until recently, on the enrollment committee and considers himself ---- as the others do ---- a Pechanga. He claims to be a direct descendant of Manuela Miranda, the granddaughter of an original "headman," Pablo Apis. Gomez said the disenrollment was not based on facts, but on "greed and power." The expelled group's attorney, Jon Velie, agrees. He has said there is more than enough documentation to prove the lineage. Each member receives $10,000 per month from casino profits. OP: Now, $32,500. So the fewer members, the larger the monthly check is. OP: Guess so, 3 times larger.
The recent disenrollment is becoming the norm, not the exception, throughout the nation. As the Indian casinos become more prosperous, they are becoming more greedy. Laura Wass, a spokeswoman for the American Indian Movement said that hundreds of California Indians have been ejected from their tribes in recent years, many from tribes that run casinos, and that about 2,000 more people are facing ejection.
In the few years that casinos have been allowed in the state, five of the San Diego County tribes, including three that operated casinos, decreased their memberships, according to Bureau of Indian Affairs figures. Six tribes that don't operate casinos had their memberships increase.
While Macarro was speaking on the need to preserve Indian sacred sites for the value of their heritage, he was also supporting the ejection of living members. See the link for the article.