Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year II

2009 will be a critical year for many in Indian Country. It's looking like there will be some Congressional Hearings on the violations of civil rights by tribes on their people. Thanks to the involvement of Barney Frank and Rep. Diane Watson and the CBC.

Expect many tribes to have to shell out more money to politicians because some of these tribes who are harming their members will erode tribal sovereignty. Those actions will cause a reduction in their customer base as word gets out on blogs like this one, and other websites.

AIRRO is gaining strength and traction, news of the passing of Bob Foreman Sr and his effect on his tribe, yet he was trashed by the current Redding Rancheria leadership.

Contrast and Compare what Mr. Foreman did for Indians vs. what the Redding Rancheria Tribal Leaders have done since they came into power. Who was the more EFFECTIVE leader? Tracey Edwards, or Mr. Foreman?

Pechanga has spent so much money defending their positions... that it's NO BUSINESS of the WHITE MAN what the tribe does (yet they have a WHITE MAN on their tribal council) San Pascual getting their asses handed to them by the BIA won't help tribal sovereignty. Now, Robinson wants to follow their lead, how embarrassing for them.

Advice: TRY the HOOPA VALLEY route, they've ADDED more to their tribe.
More Advice: Don't follow the Pechanga/Mark Macarro route, they had to spend $50 MILLION more to support their proposition, because WE effectively showed how shallow, callous and without honor the council is.

Best Advice: DO THE RIGHT thing, all tribes to bring the people home where they belong, add MORE people to the tribe, HELP those who deserve, need and should rightfully share in the bounty. Backstabbing may be effective in the short term, but as Pechanga can attest, it's an expensive route. Can you IMAGINE the FREE POSITIVE PUBLICITY that would be generated simply by having the press report that these tribes have reversed their positions and are doing what's best for its people?

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our readers, new and old. PLEASE help us in our struggle by sending our blog out to all your friends.

Suspicious Death of Quechan Casino Opponent

The suspicious death of a young tribal singer has his family, friends and an influential Native American activist determined to see that authorities conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. The body of Lewis Jefferson, 21, was found on railroad tracks at the edge of the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge on Nov. 26. At the time, Jefferson was running for a seat on the tribal council, and the election was held just days after his death.

Jefferson, like other elders in his family, opposed the construction of casinos on sacred sites. With the Quechan currently building a new casino, the issue is a controversial one among the tribe, Arrow-Weed said.No stranger to conflict, activist Banks said he called the attorney general's office about Jefferson's death, but he was referred back to local authorities. Banks said when Native Americans get killed, not much tends to happen beyond the preliminary investigation."They look upon us as a nonexistent population. (The American Indian Movement is) going to monitor this very closely."

YUMA SUNhas the rest of the story

Cherokees Donate $50,000 to Barack Obama's Inauguration. Council UNINFORMED of the Donation

It LOOKS like the Cherokee Nation is trying to curry favor from the new President. Could it be a ploy to get special consideration in their case against their Cherokee Freedmen brothers and sisters? The issue will be brought up before the new Congress.

The Cherokee Nation has made the maximum donation allowed to President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration committee. Spokesman Mike Miller says the tribe hopes the $50,000 donation sends a message to Obama's administration that the tribe wants to be involved with any possible policy development. OP: Yeah, buying involvement....

The Cherokees were the only entity in Oklahoma to make the maximum donation. The next largest donation from the state was a $25,000 gift from Oklahoma Democratic Party finance chief Reggie Whitten of Edmond. No one else in the state donated more than $500 to the inauguration. Miller says such donations are determined by Chief Chad Smith and the tribal council.

CURIOUS UPDATE: The Council DID NOT Authorize it?

A $50,000 donation made by the business arm of the Cherokee Nation to the inauguration fund of President-elect Barack Obama did not receive authorization by the tribe’s council and many council members were unaware of the donation until seeing news accounts of it or after receiving phone calls from constituents, the TULSA WORLD has learned.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fifteen Years AFTER Pechanga Announces Casino Opening, Look what's happened.

1993 - Nov. 24: Pechanga announces plan to open Casino. 96 years after the death of Paulina Hunter and 14 years after open enrollment of 1979. There were NO plans for casino in 1979, and Hunter descendents have some of the lowest enrollment numbers. 1995 - Dec. 31: Pechanga per capita checks total $1,075 for the year. 1996 - Pechanga per capita checks rise to $3,360 yearly. 1997 - Pechanga per capita checks soar to $20, 204 a six-fold increase. Pechanga establishes a moratorium, keeping rightful members from joining the tribe. Pechanga announces it's to allow the enrollment committee to "catch up" on applications. 11 years later, the moratorium is still in place. 2000 - Pechanga per capita checks total $47,744 for the year. Former Pechanga Spokesman imprisoned for child molestation. Pechanga later uses his hearsay testimony over scientific research. 2001: Enrollment committee sends notice to general membership that there are no plans to disenroll anyone, that the rumor of plans to disenroll hundreds of tribal members is just that, a rumor. 2003 - Pechanga checks now total: $187,302. CPP (Splinter group calling themselves Conderned Pechanga People) pushes for disenrollment of the Manuela Miranda family. They claim it’s NOT ABOUT THE MONEY. Read about Pechanga’s Paper Trail of Tears. Chairman Mark Macarro tells Press Enterprise: "What goes on internally at Pechanga is of no business to the white man, enrollment included" 2004 - Pechanga per capita checks rise from $15,000 to 17,662 per MONTH after Manuela Miranda family is ejected from the tribe. Over 800 adults get an additional $2600 per month. Tribal Chairman Macarro says it’s NOT ABOUT THE MONEY. Enrollment committee receives the report they commissioned from Dr. John Johnson, whom THEY hired to research the background of Paulina Hunter. He states that Paulina Hunter was born Pechanga to Mateo Quisicac, who has Pechanga referenced in his census record. The ONLY one on record. 2005 - Pechanga per capita totals $238,000 for the year, elders receive a larger stipend. There are 25 elders in the Hunter clan, CPP pushes for disenrollment of the only Pechanga ancestor who has Pechanga listed in her lineage in the 19th Century. It’s not about the money? Tribal general membership meets in one of there largest gatherings todate and overwhelmining votes to STOP all disenrollments and remove the disenrollment process from tribal law by a HUGE margin.. 2006 – Council decides to to cancel all tribal general membership meetings for several months, not the usual custom and gathering in secret behind closed doors decides to overturn the vote of the general membership and continue with the disenrollment process. March 20, Hunter family receives notice of disenrollments 2006 - April, Dr John Johnson sends enrollment committee letter reiterating his findings that Paulina Hunter was an Original Pechanga Person. More to come

Cesar Caballero FIGHTS for his Recognition. NARF won't help, CILS won't help. ACLU won't Help

Cesar has been fighting a long time and he's a friend to all those who have been disenrolled. Has NARF called to help? Will CILS help? In a word: NO. HAIL CESAR! PLACERVILLE, CA - Cesar Caballero traces his native American ancestry back more than a century to the Miwok tribe in El Dorado County. But his claim to the name put him squarely in the sights of the tribe that just opened the Red Hawk casino in Shingle Springs. With millions of dollars at stake, the name of the tribe has become a valuable trademark. Caballero, 38, said he has tried unsucessfully for several years to gain recognition from the Shingle Springs band of Miwok Indians. The long-simmering dispute between Caballero and Shingle Springs tribal leaders boiled over when Caballero filed official papers with the El Dorado County recorder identifying himself as the tribal historian of the Shingle Springs band. The Shingle Springs band filed suit in Sacramento federal court last week accusing Caballero of trademark infringement and seeking an injunction barring him from using the name. In a written statement to News10, an attorney representing the band did not dispute Caballero's claim of Miwok ancestry, but said he has no ancestral link to the Shingle Springs rancheria. "Whether or not Mr. Caballero is Miwok is irrelevant to the issue," wrote attorney Paula Yost. "Indeed there may well be Miwoks in California who are not members of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, a fact owed as much to the disastrous historical mistreatment and dispersion of California Indians by settlers and the United States government than anything else." Uh, NO, MS. LAWYER, it has to do with TRIBES refusing to take in rightful members. The SETTLERS had NOTHING TO DO with this. Caballero said he speaks for as many as 400 Miwoks in El Dorado County who have been left behind by the new prosperity facing the Shingle Springs band. He said he's seeking legal help to defend against the lawsuit. Hey NARF (Native American Rights Fund) HOW ABOUT fighting for the rights of some Native Americans that ARE NOT your big donors. Stand up and speak TRUTH to Power, you cowards. Here is part of NARF's description of their organization:
Founded in 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide.
Hey CILS (California Indian Legal Services) HOW ABOUT PROVIDING some LEGAL SERVICES to a man and group that are being mistreated.

Monday, December 29, 2008

How Did Pechanga Act Against Their Own Constitution?

I get that question asked a lot.

In the Pechanga Tribal Council's Memo to the General Membership Re: the Petition Dated June 19, 2005,

The memo to the tribal members cites the Constitution as providing the Council with the "duty to uphold the Constitution, Bylaws and ordinances", but the memo failed to quote the Constitution and Bylaws, Article III which states: "The simple majority (of the general membership)...shall rule and decide in all matters of government and business of the Band." It's clear that Article III recognizes the General Membership's ultimate authority to make decisions regarding all government matters- including enrollment and disenrollment issues. The General Membership's authority and powers trumps those of the Enrollment Committee and the Council in all matters.

The Enrollment Committee was NEVER granted ultimate authority to trump actions of the General Membership regarding enrollment and disenrollment. By custom and tradition, the Enrollment Committee has always taken its directives from the General Membership, and the General Membership has always enjoyed and exercised its authority as the ultimate decision maker on such matters . \

Here are several major issues that illustrate this point:

A. The General Membership approved 2 Enrollment Applications (the first in 1979 and the 2nd in 1996). Although the Enrollment Committees drafted each, changes were made by the General Membership and the ultimate approval of each was via votes of the General Membership. The Enrollment Committee did not then nor do they now have sole discretion or authority in enrollment and disenrollment issues.

B. The General Membership, not the Enrollment Committee, adopted the Murphys into the tribe. In fact, the Enrollment Committee recognized that it did not have the authority to "adopt" the Murphys as members. Therefore, the issue was presented to the General Mempership which was and is the ultimate decider on enrollment and disenrollment issues.

C. The moritoriums on processing enrollment applications were approved by the General Membership. The processing of enrollment applications is the basic duty of the Enrollment Committee. Even though this is so, the Enrollment Committee could not institute a moritorium on its own. The moritoriums had to be discussed, voted on and passed by the ultimate decision-maker in enrollment and disenrollment issues- the General Membership.
Staying with the moritorium issue for a bit, if you apply the reasoning expressed by the Tribal Council in the March 14, 2006 letter, the moritoriums would be in conflict with the Constitution's membership requirements (just as they claim portions of the Petition dated June 19, 2005 are), were/are illegal, and should be subject to the same fate as those provisions of the Petiton, i.e. the moritorium should be lifted.

D. The General Membership, not the Enrollment Committee, voted on and enacted the Disenrollment Procedures contrary to the position stated in the Tribal Council's memo, the examples provided above clearly illustrate that the Enrollment Committee does not enjoy ultimate decision making authority or sole discretion in issues concerning enrollment or disenrollment. The Enrollment Committee's authority is clearly derived from the General Membership and the Enrollment Committee exists and serves at the pleasure of the General Membership. The General Membership can, through the authority cited in Article III, and in accordance with custom and tradition, take actions to interrupt, halt, or even disband the Enrollment Committee.

Finally, IF the Tribal Council's action was such a righteous one and was indeed intended to protect the integrity of the Constitution, why did they wait 4 1/2 months to notify the General Membership? Shouldn't they have made the decision right away? Does the Tribal Council IN FACT have the ability to overrule the will of the people?

Comments please

AIRRO to discuss Civil Rights and the New Barack Obama Administration

AIRRO is working on the rights of the individual Indian. These rights are those that the Interior Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the ACLU and NARF ignore. Please consider joining AIRRO.
American Indian Rights and Resources Organization
Membership Meeting
Willits, CA
January 24, 2009
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


1. Opening Prayer
2. Welcome
3. Keynote Presentation: Disenrollment in California Congressional District 1
4. Civil Rights and the Obama Administration
5. Discussion on Amendments to Bylaws
6. Nominations and Election to Board of Directors
7. Current Rights Issues
8. Closing Prayer/Adjournment

Please pay yearly dues at meeting in order to participate in Nominations and Elections to Board of Directors. By previous vote of the AIRRO membership, yearly dues are $5 in cases of hardship.
Drinks and snacks will be provided by AIRRO.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pechanga Smackdown! Generalizations defeated by Historical FACTS

The CPP is a faction at Pechanga that has been manuevering to eliminate people from the Pechanga Band, there are full details on the links on my sidebar. There is an interesting conversation going on at cousin Teetilawunch's Blog.

A CPP member, we believe from the Masiel Crime family of Hemet, CA makes a general statement about our family. Our family members present the facts in a "read 'em and weep" manner. This clearly shows the facts are on the Hunter family's side and yet, because the Masiel/Basquez controlled the enrollment committee, facts clearly don't matter.

1. Pechanga acted unconstitutionally to start a moratorium
2. Pechanga acted unconstitutionslly to not uphold the will of the people in stopping all disenrollments.
3. Pechanga PAID for an expert's opinion and then ignored his findings when presented with the facts
4. Pechanga took the hearsay word of a CONVICTED child molester IN PRISON vs. certified documents of sworn testimony taken in the Luiseno language.

I URGE all my readers to take a look at Teetilawuncha's Blog to get a handle on the insidious nature of the CPP. Tell your friends, discuss it in class and let people know that just because Pechanga may give a small donation to local schools, it doesn't mean that they are great citizens.

Friday, December 26, 2008

BIA Ruling Reinstates San Pascual Members. Congratulations

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is redeeming their year, although that started when Carl Artman resigned. FINALLY, they are taking the correct course of action in a tribal membership dispute that they ruled was settled. Yet, they want to wash their hand of this action and quit having to take the responsibility. It's much better to do nothing and let people be hurt.

VALLEY CENTER, Calif. – A ruling by the BIA that could decide the outcome of a tribal rift was handed down Dec. 1 upholding – for the second time – the tribal enrollment of a man and his decedents.
The BIA ruled that the enrollment committee of the San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians failed to prove that Marcus R. Alto’s enrollment was a mistake and upheld his and his decedents’ eligibility for the rolls.“Because the information provided by the (Enrollment) Committee does not demonstrate Mr. Alto’s enrollment was based on inaccurate information, as required. the Jan. 31, 1994 decision by the Acting Area Director which identified Mr. Alto and his descendents as enrolled members of the band remains effective,” wrote BIA Regional Director Dale Morris in a letter sent to the tribe and Alto’s decedents.

Alto’s ejection from the San Diego County tribe has divided its council into two factions who are now holding separate meetings, leading to the BIA’s determination of a defunct tribal government in August. If the rift persists, it threatens the legality of its 1,750-slot machine casino opened in 2001 because only federally recognized tribal governments can operate a casino, BIA officials had said.

About 80 people’s tribal rights were suspended, including payments from casino revenues as a result of the disenrollment.The BIA rejected most of the enrollment committee’s 13 points they said warranted the ejection of Alto and his decedents from the tribe, including baptismal, census and BIA documents that suggested Alto’s Diegueno parents had adopted him.
It’s unclear how the ruling will impact the schism between Allen E. Lawson and Robert Phelps, the tribe’s chairman and vice-chairman respectively but whom the BIA is now referring to as spokespersons because it does not recognize either of the factions headed by them as the legitimate tribal government.

“My answer is limited as the process has not yet been completed and the potential of an appeal to be filed by the tribe with the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs may occur,” said the acting superintendent of the BIA’s Southern California Agency, James Fletcher in an e-mail.
The tribe has 30 days to file an appeal. OP: Fletcher is a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, whose tribal council acted outside Pechanga's own constitution in disenrolling families and keeping rightful members out, via an unlawful moratorium.

Fletcher said the BIA has asked the Department of Justice to mediate the conflict after several attempts by the BIA did not yield any breakthroughs. “However, I do have a request in from one side to recognize them as the proper government,” Fletcher added.

What is clear, however, is that the BIA does want to remain the tribe’s referee in its enrollment issues. The tribe’s 1971 constitution specifies that the BIA is required to approve ejections.

“It’s inappropriate for the committee to continue to raise this issue of the validity of the inclusion of Mr. Alto and his decedents and to continue to seek remedy from the BIA,” the letter said.It encouraged the tribe to revise its constitution and offered technical assistance in doing so. It’s an unlikely action until the schism is resolved.Lawson and an attorney, Glenn W. Charos, representing Alto’s decedents did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas To All!

Merry Christmas to All.

Our Hunter Ancestor, Paulina Hunter, whom the Pechanga Tribe's own hired expert PROVED was an ORIGINAL PECHANGA person passed away 109 years ago. Can you imagine what she'd think about how the interlopers treated her descendents?

And what a leader Mark Macarro is? He of the incredible shrinking tribe?

Can Tribes Absolve The Federal Govt. of its Legal Agreements with Tribal Members by Disenrolling Them?

Frequent commenter to our blog, Allen L. Lee asks the question in a comment on another post and I thought I would give it its own post

Can the tribes absolve the federal government of it's legal agreements with tribal members by dis-enrolling them? I think the answer is, No!

Though the tribes as seperate sovereigns may absolve themselves of any legal relationship with a member by dis-enrolling them, the tribes can not absolve any legal relationship a tribal member may have with the federal government on behalf of the federal government. This would include who the federal government agrees to recognize as citizens of a tribe.

If it were accurate that the Federal government leaves membership solely up to the tribes , then the following prosecutions covered at this link, would not have happened.

I will paraphrase an important statement from this link which says that the BIA denied recognition for this fake tribe because it had no historical characteristics, etc. It also said that even if they did recognize the tribe, tribal granted membership to an illegal alien would not confer U.S citizenship to the member.

This is a point demonstrating that how the U.S. recognizes a tribal citizen can be independent of how a tribe recognizes a tribal citizen

Please help expand the points with your comments

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

California's Casinos Take Hit in this recession.

The recession hits everyone. Conventional wisdom in the past said that casinos were recession proof, but that's proving to be not the case.

Fresno Bee has an article on the casinos in CA.

California casinos aren't seeing big declines, experts speculate, but they aren't seeing much growth either. While local casinos may be getting some customers who can't afford Las Vegas, they also are finding gamblers less willing to ante up.

Some customers have been driven away by the lawlessness at tribal casinos and more are becoming aware that you lose many of your rights when you step onto Indian Reservations.

Las Vegas and other destination spots -- including large Southern California tribal casinos -- have taken the brunt of the economic punch, experts say. About seven out of 10 industry experts and analysts surveyed recently by the American Gaming Association said that tribal casinos have been affected less by the downturn than commercial casinos.

Pechanga Casino has reduced their employees by 800 from their high of 5100 workers, recently laying off 400. Couple that with reduced traffice due to closures of their nightclubs due to thuggish behavior of their young people and that means less money coming in.

People are finding that gambling is NOT their only entertainment option.

Read more at the link.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Welcome to Original Pechanga's Blog

We are getting a lot of new visitor's from New York today. Thank you for coming. And please, pass the blog address on to your friends and family. YOU are helping us by building blog traffic and spreading the word of these important issues. Twice a day would be perfect.

There are many more posts in the archives on the left side.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wayne Thompson, Civil Rights Activist and Cherokee Freedmen Support Passes

Sadly Wayne Thompson, noted civil rights activist and supporter of the Cherokee Freedmen, The Seminole Freedmen and the Creek Freedmen has passed away.

Here's a portion of a message from Jon Velie, Oklahoma Attorney.

Wayne wanted no notoriety for his efforts to help the oppressed people around the world. He is greatest civil rights fighter that most people have never heard of. And that is exactly how Wayne wanted it. His work on the Seminole and Cherokee Freedmen cases over the past fifteen years was amazing.

Wayne shut down the Seminole Nation for two years when they voted out their Freedmen. He picked up the phone and got it done. On this event the basis of the Cherokee Freedmen case has been built. Wayne received no notoriety for this, no money, in fact it cost him plenty. Not just airfare either.

Wayne was hired by the Seminoles to advocate for monies denied them by the US over mineral rights. When the Seminoles expelled the Freedmen, Wayne shut them down and stopped the deal. It cost him a lot of money, this may have been tough for many, but to Wayne it was a no brainer.

Read more at the Creek Freedmen Forum

Thank you, Mr. Thompson, for standing up for all of us, even when some of us won't stand up for ourselves.

Will the MUNOA Clan Help Mend the Enrollment Rift at Pechanga?

Our cousins at T'eetilawuncha's Blog are reporting that Becky Munoa has been elected to the enrollment committee.

Will this be Pechanga's opportunity to do the right thing and reverse all previous disenrollment actions? Will the Munoa people, who have members in the unconstitutional moratorium, be the ones to save the tribe from the upcoming disaster they face in Congress?

To The Remaining Pechanga Members: This is the time for you to stand up and get the tribe BACK together and do was is morally right, constitutionally correct (Pechanga's Constitution and Bylaws), and ethically on target.

This struggle has already cost YOU the remaining members over $50 million dollars. That's how much the leadership spent MORE than the other tribes to get Prop. 94 passed. The leakage will continue to grow, as Macarro and the council will have to grease more palms to get support. People are starting to inquire about the ethics of the tribal businesses, how the tribe treats its employees and now, after the beating of Richard Swan, how the tribe treats its customers.

ALL of this could have been avoided by holding the council to their mandate of upholding the will of the people.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, Obama's Pick for Interior Secretary

Ken Salazar is Barack Obama's pick to be Secretary of the Interior.

He will face many challenges ahead with such a large department and for Native Americans who have been hurt by violations of the Indian Civil Rights Act, they will be looking to Salazar to help them.

Disenrollment, banishment, denial of voting rights, land use are among those topics that should be addressed.

As we know the Government Accountablitity Office has suggested that these areas should be looked into as the continue to grow, including the most recent action by the Robinson Rancheria and San Pascual.

Will Ken Salazar respect the rights of the INDIVIDUAL INDIAN?

TRIBAL DISENROLLMENT: Robinson Rancheria Moves Forward with Disenrollments


Late last week, certified letters that dozens of Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo tribal members were dreading began to arrive.
Sent out to several dozen Pomo, the envelopes contained resolutions for each person, passed in a 3-0 vote held by the Robinson Rancheria Citizens Business Council on Dec. 5, informing them that they had been disenrolled from the tribe and their names removed from its rolls.
The resolutions were signed by Tribal Chair Tracey Avila and Secretary-Treasurer Kim Fernandez on Dec. 10.
Avila had previously told Lake County News that 60 of Robinson's 347 tribal members had been under consideration for disenrollment.
On Tuesday, she said six people had proved their lineage and so were allowed to retain their tribal membership, while several more had asked for special consideration to be able to secure documents proving their lineal descent from tribal members on the tribe's original rolls.
EJ Crandell, who was elected tribal chair in June in an election that was decertified by the tribe's election committee, has asserted that as many as 74 tribal members faced disenrollment, and supplied Lake County News with a list of about 50 names of people who he said had confirmed receiving the disenrollment resolution.
Crandell's wife's family was among those disenrolled. He said he's concerned that he and his immediate family may be next.

Gone for the people receiving the resolutions are free access to the rancheria, health care services, food services for homebound seniors, pensions and per capita payments funded by Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino. Some were fired from jobs before the disenrollment resolutions were approved, which Crandell and other tribal members critical of the council said were retaliatory actions. Avila denied that, saying the firings were based on poor job performance and were unconnected to the tribe's action.

Most of the disenrollees don't live on the rancheria, said Avila. Those who do live on the rancheria are concerned about losing their homes, but Avila said the tribe doesn't plan to take action to remove them because the homes were funded through a program that supports Indian housing. “We can allow them to live there,” she said.
Among those removed from the rolls include the entire 35-member Quitiquit family, which includes decorated veterans, and traditional artisans and basket makers.
Avila said the people who were disenrolled have been “on the table for many, many years.”
The council changed its enrollment ordinance because it conflicted with the tribe's constitution, said Avila. A provision in the enrollment ordinance was removed that had allowed for membership in the tribe through adoption of individuals whose names appeared on a 1940 tribal census roll and their lineal descendants.
Avila said the council is trying to clean up its ordinances in order to stabilize operations.
She traces the tribe's issues with its rolls back to termination of tribes in the 1950s and 1960s, when many tribes lost land and federal recognition. Many Indians didn't have a place to go and some were adopted into other tribes, such as Robinson.

Avila said the tribe has to take care of its own members first before they can help anyone else. The goal is to use the proceeds from Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino to help the tribe, but Avila said the casino – while it's an important revenue source – doesn't pull in the kind of business found among the bigger gaming tribes' casinos.
Crandell and other opponents of the disenrollments allege that Avila and the rest of the business council – Curtis Anderson Jr., Kim Fernandez, Stoney Timmons, Nicholas Medina and Buffy White – are taking the actions ahead of a January election for the tribal leadership. They said the members who are disenrolled supported Crandell's election.
Avila denies that. “It just happened at this time,” she said. “I wish this had been dealt with earlier.”

Also just taking place are additional payments to existing tribal members, who reportedly each received $400 checks in the last few weeks. Avila said those payments are not connected to the disenrollments. She said she considers the disenrollments an internal tribal matter, and doesn't understand why anyone outside of the tribe should be concerned about it.

On Saturday, the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization – AIRRO for short – held a board meeting in Upper Lake to discuss strategy for assisting the tribal members who received the disenrollment resolutions.

AIRRO President John Gomez, whose family was disenrolled by the Pechanga tribe, is helping lead the families through the process of appealing their cases to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Robinson Rancheria's 1980 constitution calls for the Bureau of Indian Affairs' involvement with determining tribal membership.

Article 3, Section 3 states: “The official membership roll shall be prepared in accordance with an ordinance adopted by the governing body and approved by the Secretary of the Interior or his authorized representative. Such ordinance shall contain provisions for enrollment procedures, enrollment committees, application form, approval or disapproval of application, rejection notice, appeals, corrections and provisions for keeping the roll on a current basis.”

In his experience – both personally and working with AIRRO – Gomez said disenrollments usually occur before important tribal elections.
The other important function of the Saturday AIRRO meeting was to offer hope and support to people whose worlds have been turned upside down by the tribe's actions.

Gomez agreed about the pain and the trauma disenrollment leaves in its wake.
“You never get used to this, even though we've lived through it. You never get used to this, even when it happens to other people,” he said.
He said he and other AIRRO members realize it's their responsibility to help other Indians facing life without their tribe, “but it never gets easy.”

Gomez said it was hard to see the Quitiquits – who had become a part of the AIRRO family long before they were disenrolled – face this now. “When this happened here, it became personal for us,” said Gomez, who was with the Quitiquits when they began receiving their disenrollment resolutions late last week.

A crisis exists in Indian Country as a direct result of the disenrollments, said Gomez.
AIRRO pledged to assist those cut out of Robinson's membership. “We'll fight with you, we'll fight for you,” Gomez said. “And you guys are going to win. I believe that in my heart.”
Robinson Rancheria's constitutional clause giving the BIA authority over tribal membership gives the Quitiquits and the others fighting for their memberships a unique opportunity to appeal the tribal council's decision, said Gomez.

Over the last five years, AIRRO and its support network of advocates and attorneys have been able to create some inroads and awareness in the California Legislature, Gomez said.
As a result, earlier this year they were able to help stop SB 331, introduced by state Sen. Gloria Romero (D-East Los Angeles) and supported by the Barona Tribe of Mission Indians, a Southern California gaming tribe.
The bill would have created a new infraction with fines if a person was found guilty of trespassing on tribal lands. While the bill was in the Assembly a clause was inserted that would mean it didn't apply to former tribal members, after which the bill was pulled. Gomez said the bill was meant to oppress disenrollees.
“The courts have not been our friends,” he said. “The courts have always deferred to sovereignty.”
He said a 1978 US Supreme Court ruling in Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez the court deferred to tribal sovereignty and in doing so took away the rights of individual Indians to sue tribes for Indian Civil Rights Act violations.
That, in turn, has set the stage for the kinds of human and civil rights violations which AIRRO says is scarring Indian Country now.
“This is a sad day because it's continuing to happen,” he said.
He told the disenrollees, “The worst thing that could happen is for you to just lie down and accept it.”
BIA will look at appeals

Earlier this month, Lake County News ran a three-part series on the disenrollment issue. On Dec. 5, the first day the series ran, North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson wrote a letter to BIA Regional Director Dale Morris, citing the Lake County News article and his concern over his local Indian constituents facing disenrollment. He asked Morris about what recourse is available for Indians who are disenrolled.
The issue arose locally just as Thompson was being discussed as a possible interior secretary candidate in the cabinet of President-elect Barack Obama.

“Congress has the ultimate authority to decide whether or not any federal agency is going to have the authority to review or overturn those types of things,” Burdick said.
BIA doesn't currently have the general authority to intervene and Congress – which is aware of that problem – isn't ready to grant the BIA more latitude, said Burdick.

However, the BIA is getting involved in the case of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, whose tribal constitution – like Robinson's – also allows the BIA a role in membership issues. Late last month the BIA halted that tribe's attempt to disenroll between 60 and 80 members.
Robinson's disenrolled members currently are in the process of sending appeals to the BIA. Burdick said the appeals will be sent to him first.

Robinson's disenrollment does, however, provide the BIA – and Burdick himself – with a very rare situation, especially if the tribal council refuses to accept the agency's ultimate opinion on the disenrollments.
Just what the BIA would do in that case is hard to predict. “I can't say whether there will be any sanctions or not,” Burdick said.

See the Lake County News Link for the full story

Pechanga Casino Bribery Case Ends in GUILTY verdict

We told you about this Pechanga story HERE

A Pechanga casino employee pleaded guilty to being an accessory to a crime after she was charged with accepting bribes from job applicants.

Coomchuen Zhou, 44, was sentenced to three years' probation Monday. Authorities accused her of extorting job applicants of $3,000 and teaching them to falsify work experience information to get hired.

Zhou pleaded guilty in a French Valley courtroom to the misdemeanor in exchange for dismissal of a felony charge of commercial bribery, court records show.

Will Larry Miranda's case be next?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


A Temecula-based American Indian rights group is calling on President-elect Barack Obama's administration to get more involved in tribal matters, paying close attention to the recent rise in efforts to disenroll thousands of people from Indian nations.

John Gomez Jr., president of the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization in Temecula, said the administration has failed to protect individual Indians' civil rights."I think it would be appropriate to give them an F," Gomez said. "They are inconsistent, and they say they don't have the authority to get involved. They would rather not be involved, and that contradicts their mandate to protect Indian rights."

Gomez founded the group after he and about 250 other people were removed from the Pechanga Band of Mission Indians near Temecula in 2004. An official with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Sacramento said the agency steps into membership disputes only when it is required to under a tribe's constitution, as it did last month with the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians near Valley Center."Usually, these types of actions are within the tribe's authority," said Fred Doka, regional tribal operations officer for the bureau.

San Pasqual is one of several tribes in the state attempting to remove people from the tribe. The bureau said last month that the 59 people involved in the San Pasqual dispute were properly enrolled members and should not be removed.But San Pasqual is one of only a handful of tribes in the state whose constitution requires the bureau to get involved in such matters, Doka said. California has more than 100 American Indian tribes.

Even in instances in which tribal constitutions do not require the bureau to get involved, Gomez said the agency should take steps to make sure that those tribes also follow a fair process and that individual rights are protected.The rights group claims more than 2,000 people have been expelled from tribes in California since voters in the state legalized Indian gambling in 2000. Gomez said greed and a hunger for power have led tribes to unfairly oust people.

Gomez also said that he was encouraged by the names that are being discussed as potential appointments to head the Interior Department. He said that his organization has sent letters to the potential candidates asking them for their stance on enrollment matters. Some of the names that have been floated as possible candidates to head the Interior Department are: U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.; Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa; and Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian."Our position is that you can get involved" in enrollment matters, Gomez said. "Tribal sovereignty and American Indian civil rights are not mutually exclusive."

The BIA should get involved when tribes VIOLATE their own constitution to deny civil rights to their people, like in the case of Pechanga.


Friday, December 12, 2008

DA Rod Pacheco will not charge Pechanga's Beating Victim

The Swan family has received the good news that they will NOT BE charged in the case of Richard Swan's BEATING by Pechanga security guards. Lack of evidence is the reason.

Riverside DA Rod Pacheco has still not determined whether the charge the security guard, who attacked Mr. Swan from behind, leaving them with thousands of dollars in medical bills. Take a look at Richard's picture on the left column for e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e.

Justice will be delayed for the Swan's but hopefully, not denied.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pechanga's Moratorium People: From Pechanga, But Not OF Pechanga

The Rios/Tosobal Family has ties to the Pechanga tribe, from his mother back to his great-great-great-grandmother, born in 1811. (That’s when Abe Lincoln was 2 years old!)

So, when his mother died in 1978 and left him a piece of reservation land, Manuel Rios Jr. began trying to make arrangements to bring water and electricity to the plot so he could set up a home there. 30 years later, he has yet to get tribal approval to do anything with the land.
Tribal officials had told him he and his family are not on the rolls, he said, and they won’t get considered for membership until a moratorium on new enrollments is lifted now extended past 2010. His family members, who number more than 100, have stacks of documents that they say they submitted to the enrollment committee 15 years ago.

As a nonmember, the Rios family has no recourse against the sovereign nation. He can’t sue the tribe in an outside or tribal court, and he can’t vote on the moratorium or cast a ballot against the elected tribal leaders.

The reservation has changed dramatically since Rios’ mother was a girl there, thanks to the opening of a $262 million resort and casino and other businesses. Now that tribal members collect a reported $30,000 in gaming profits a month, disputes over membership are commonplace.

Rios and others insist they once were members, and they allege that someone removed their names in order to ensure larger shares of gaming profits for the other members.
Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro has said tribes work hard to make sure that there’s due process in enrollment matters, yet, in reality, there is no due process.
He also contends that many recent applicants had no interest in the tribe until it was rich. ‘‘Where were these people before there was a casino?’’ Macarro asked.

Rios’ 53-year-old son, Manuel Rios Jr. of Riverside, said he’s glad his grandmother left the reservation, and her descendants avoided being mired in reservation poverty because of it. ‘‘I was out getting an education so I wouldn’t have to suck the money from the state of California to support me,’’ he said in an interview in Fontana. ‘‘We were paying for their (tribal member’s) welfare.’’

The Rios family members contend that the Pechanga tribal leadership is using sovereignty to improperly deny them membership and is acting like a dictatorship. In fact, Pechanga’s own constitution provides for OPEN ENROLLMENT every January. In the most recent disenrollment of the Hunter family, which occurred in 2006, the tribe stated that the membership, which voted to stop ALL disenrollments, had no authority to do so. That would mean, they have the power to keep people from getting IN, but no the authority to keep people from getting thrown OUT. That makes no sense at all.

TASIN MEETING: One tribe is MORE sovereign than another.

In November, we posted a story HERE about one tribe attacking another at the recent TASIN (Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations) meeting.

What we had there, was a case of TASIN taking the side of the Pechanga Band against another, smaller (read: non gaming) tribe. TASIN allowed Pechanga to dictate who the other tribe could have to represent/assist them at the meeting.

Instead of standing up to the smaller tribe's right to hire their own people and bring them, they asked that the individual be removed.

TASIN, who's mission statement says:

couldn't or rather WOULDN'T even respect the sovereign rights of one of its OWN MEMBERS. When you allow one tribe to infringe on the sovereignty of another member tribe of your own organization, it makes a MOCKERY of what your whole organization is all about. In other words, Do As We Say, Not As We Do.
Shame on TASIN for allowing and supporting the actions of Pechanga in this case.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Will President Obama's Government Look into Tribal Disenrollments?

There is great hope that this new Congress will look into disenrollments, such as those perpetrated on their people by Pechanga, Redding, Picayune, San Pascual here in California. Will Rep. Diane Watson finally look into what's happening in her own back yard?

Capitol Weekly has a story up.

American Indian activists have high hopes for the new Barack Obama administration-including the hope that the issue of tribal disenrollments could finally be on the president's radar.

Many say they are closely watching who Obama will appoint to head the Department of the Interior, which overseas the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Meanwhile, the inclusion of disenrollment and other issues of importance to tribes have made it into a list of recommendations for question to ask potential Interior appointees issued by the federal General Accountability Office.

OP: We have letters posted to the candidates. PLEASE send one for each of your family members.

Last month, he named Harper and five other American Indians to his transition team. Harper was an plaintiff's attorney on the Cobell vs. Kempthorne case. This was a massive class action case charging Interior and Dick Kempthorne, the agency's director since 2006, with massive mismanagement of assets they held on behalf of American Indians.

Harper is also on record taking on some tribes that have disenrolled members, said activist Cathy Corey. In one memorable exchange on the Indian-themed radio show, he said that tribes that kicked out members were "not acting like nations."

While Harper is likely to get an appointment at Interior of elsewhere, he is not among the names being floated as director of the department. The two names that come up most often in connection to that job are Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, and Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. Thompson has long been considered friendly to tribal issues; he has already been endorsed for the job by one California tribe, the Karuk

Read MORE at the link above.

Related Stories:

Tribal Flush
All that Glitters
Without a Tribe

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bob Foreman, Redding Rancheria's First Chairman, Laid to Rest.

Bob Foreman Sr., tribal leader and rights activist, laid to rest yesterday

Yesterday hundreds of people gathered in Cottonwood , California to remember and honor Edward Robert “Bob” Foreman, Sr. who passed away on November 19, 2008.

Family and friends, federal government officials, and scores of others remembered Bob Foreman and told stories of his kindness, integrity, unselfish nature, and the struggles he took on and overcame to better the life of others.

Bob Foreman was one of the founders of the California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB) which provides health care services to Indians throughout Northern California . Through his efforts, several Indian health clinics and facilities were opened to serve the Indian community.

Bob Foreman was also instrumental in the re-recognition and re-organization of his tribe, the Redding Rancheria and was elected its first Tribal Chairman. Bob faithfully served on the tribe’s governing council for 20 years, and he played a major role in opening the tribe’s Win River Casino.

In 2004, after decades of service to the Indian community and his tribe, Redding Rancheria tribal officials disenrolled Bob Foreman and his family. The disenrollment, which was carried out in violation of tribal and federal laws, spurred on Bob to “roll up his sleeves” once again and advocate for the rights of individual Indians.

Bob Foreman and his family organized several demonstrations around California to bring attention to the abuses of power and civil rights violations being committed by tribal officials. His efforts led him to help organize Indian people from California and throughout the United States to fight rights abuses. They eventually formed an organization known as the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization (“AIRRO”) with Bob as one of its original members and founders. Bob Foreman worked diligently to end the abuses and rights violations put upon Indian people until his passing.

As befitting a man who gave so much and gave so much of himself; a man who understood that being a true leader was not measured by how much money you had or how many possessions you accumulated but by what you gave back to your people and the community; and a man always willing to help others, Bob Foreman was given a hero’s send off.

An honor guard escorted Bob Foreman and those who came to celebrate his life the 15 plus miles from Cottonwood to the Veteran’s Cemetery in Igo. The procession drove through Anderson and the Redding Rancheria, Bob’s home, as local law enforcement closed off traffic. Bob Foreman was laid to rest with full military honors.

While Bob Foreman may no longer be with us, based on those who gathered to celebrate his life and the stories they shared, it is safe to say that his spirit and his legacy will live on.

It is up to those of US, who survive Bob, to follow his lead and example. Work hard to overcome the abuses of Indian people by corrupt tribal officials.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Robinson Rancheria to JOIN Pechanga, San Pascual, Picayune in Termination of Indians from Tribes.Will President Obama look into these outrages?

Rather than looking at the good a tribe can do for its people, the Robinson Rancheria is now looking at termination of over 20% of it's adult membership. Denying them the right to vote, homes, health care. And ALL during Native American Heritage Month

UPPER LAKE – The Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomos Citizens Business Council this week is holding hearings that could have serious implications for the future of dozens of people whose lives are shaped by their unique identity as native Pomo.
Of the tribe's 347 voting members, 60 have been notified that they are being considered for disenrollment, according to Tribal Chair Tracey Avilia.
Other sources within the tribe estimate the number of potential disenrollments to be as high as 74.
Whichever number is correct, both sides agree that this is the largest disenrollment action the tribe has ever attempted in its history.
The action's results could be devastating for those who find their names removed from the tribe's rolls.
Entire families face the loss of their homes, jobs, health care, education and a sense of their own identity. Homebound elders may no longer receive much-needed meals or monthly retirement checks. A daughter of the tribe's last chief also is reported to be up for dismissal.
Those up for disenrollment may have a slim hope of recourse, as the tribe's constitution contains an appeals process involving the Bureau of Indian Affairs which, in many tribal disenrollment cases, can't get involved, said Bureau of Indian Affairs Deputy Regional Director Dale Risling.
Potential disenrollees said the move is based on politics and greed, and that it's arisen out of a disputed June election that was decertified. They say they're being removed from the tribal rolls before a January election is planned so they can't vote to replace key council members trying to hold onto power.
John Gomez, president of the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization (AIRRO), agrees with those assessments of the Robinson Rancheria situation.
In California to date, an estimated 2,000 Indians have been disenrolled by 15 California tribes – not including those currently proposed at Robinson, said Gomez, noting that disenrollments often evolve around political issues and elections.
Avilia, the tribe's current chair, denies those allegations, saying that the disenrollments are a matter of tribal housekeeping, and merely an attempt to deal with longstanding questions about the validity of some members' claims.
The tribal members proposed for disenrollment received certified letters dated Nov. 20 – ironically, during the midst of Native American Heritage Month – notifying them that they were proposed for removal from the tribe's rolls, according to a copy of such a letter obtained by Lake County News.
Further, they were told they could request an appeal hearing with the Robinson Rancheria Citizens Business Council, during which they would have a half-hour to make their case for keeping their membership in the tribe. However, they had five business days to respond to the letter, and many tribal members live out of state.
Those appeal hearings began on Monday and have run throughout the week, according to tribal members.

Friday, December 5, 2008

SYCUAN Bails on Gambling Compact; California will SUFFER after promises of Wealth for Slots

Simply put, tribes like Sycuan and Pechanga LIED to California voters when they implied that expanded gaming for them, would benefit California. Well, WE TOLD YOU SO, many times. Now, Sycuan will NOT expand their gaming, (remember, they had NOT ratified their compact in the tribe, so it was a bogus proposition any

Sycuan walks away from gambling compact
By James P. Sweeney

SACRAMENTO – Blaming a punishing economy, the Sycuan band of El Cajon on Thursday walked away from a multibillion-dollar gambling agreement that it had pursued for years and spent $6 million to defend.
The deal authorized an expansion from 2,000 slots the tribe now operates to as many as 5,000 machines plus an option for a second, off-reservation casino on newly acquired lands that include the former Singing Hills Country Club.
The agreement, or compact, was signed more than two years ago by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sycuan Chairman Daniel Tucker. But it was never ratified by the tribe's 78 adult members, as required by a little-noticed clause.
The decision ultimately could cost both the tribe and the state billions of dollars.
“It is with sincere regret that Sycuan is unable to take advantage of the August, 2006 amended compact between our tribe and the state,” Tucker said in a letter delivered Thursday morning to the governor.
The current economic climate makes “proceeding under the amended compact financially imprudent at this time and for the forseeable future,” Tucker wrote.
“We are doing everything we can to avoid having to lay off our valued employees and are continuing to restructure operations to mitigate the impacts of an extremely challenging economic environment,” he added. “In these circumstances, even a modest expansion would be impossible.”

In February, voters approved Sycuan's compact and three others that had been challenged with statewide ballot measures. The four tribes, which included Pechanga of Temecula, spent more than $100 million on the campaign. Sycuan contributed $6 million to the effort.
A few months later, Schwarzenegger's administration surprised lawmakers when it disclosed that the state would not be receiving $30 million anticipated from Sycuan because the tribe had not ratified its compact. WE TOLD YOU SO!

A deadline to execute the deal had passed, but Schwarzenegger agreed to give the tribe an extension that was set to run out on Jan. 1.
“We're disappointed but understand the tribe's situation,” said Camille Anderson, a spokeswoman for the governor.

Sycuan had agreed to pay much more on its existing slots, roughly 10 percent of net winnings or $20 million a year. It also agreed to pay up to 15 percent on the additional 3,000 slots.
Over the life of the deal, which would have run through 2030, the state would collect an estimated $1.6 billion, Schwarzenegger's administration said. The tribe would have received at least several times that. NOPE..... we TOLD you so.

In addition, the compact authorized an off-reservation casino on some 1,600 acres Sycuan has acquired in recent years, lands that adjoin its reservation and include the former Singing Hills resort and golf course. Buh-BYE

Off-reservation gaming proposals have become increasingly controversial and the Department of Interior declared three years ago that it would no longer even consider compacts that authorized gaming on “lands that are not now, and may never be Indian lands.”
George Skibine, acting assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, had warned the provision permitting an off-reservation casino could pose a problem for Sycuan's compact when it reached the Interior Department.
But the agreement was submitted with three other compacts from California, all of which reportedly got lost at Interior and were not rediscovered until after a 45-day review period had lapsed. That left federal officials no alternative but to “deem” them approved, as required by federal law.

Opponents of Sycuan's compact notified Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in July that his agency had granted final approval to a gaming agreement that had not yet been ratified by the tribe.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs referred the matter to its attorneys but to date has taken no action. A spokeswoman for that office declined to return repeated telephone calls Thursday. TYPICAL INACTIONS by the BIA.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pechanga, Picayune Rancheria, Redding Rancheria: Tribal Disputes an Issue For Obama Nominees

It looks like the new Obama administration may be willing to step into "tribal disputes", which hopefully means they won't support tribes like PECHANGA, that act against their own constitution and bylaws, with land into trust or federal financial support.

Internal tribal disputes an issue for Obama nomineesTuesday, December 2, 2008Filed Under: Politics Nominees to the Interior Department should be asked about tribal membership and leadership disputes, the Government Accountability Office said in a recent report.

According to the GAO, internal tribal disputes "seem to be occurring more and more frequently." The report recommends nominees be asked about their ability to resolve these controversial matters.

"What experience do you have in working with tribal leadership and trying to resolve these types of disputes or in trying to prevent them?" the report states. The GAO hasn't released any investigations into internal tribal disputes. But the inclusion of the question -- one of three directly related to Indian affairs -- indicates it's on the radar of key members of Congress who will consider president-elect Barack Obama's executive branch nominees.

OP: HALLELUJAH! Finally, someone is hearing what the problems THOUSANDS of Native Americans are encountering. Apparently an UNconstituional act by tribes such as Pechanga, is only a "dispute".

"This letter provides you with a series of questions that Senate committees of jurisdiction could use to help determine the management experience and capabilities of upcoming nominees," the GAO told Sen. George Voinovich, a senior Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The other two questions cover topics that have been the subject of recent GAO reports. They include the land-into-trust process and the backlog of maintenance at Indian schools and at reservation irrigation projects.

OP: Land into trust issues/process should include some consequences when a tribal chair promises before congress that they want the land for it's historic value to the tribe... and then put a GOLF COURSE on it.

Additionally, the GAO included tribes in questions about the Clean Air Act and the sharing of information to prevent terrorist attacks.
But the closest the GAO has come to tribal membership and leadership disputes was in a report that examined the federal recognition process. In some cases, disputes can delay consideration of a petition or lead to confusion in the process.

Still, Congress has been reluctant to step into such disputes out of respect for tribal sovereignty. Tribes retain the right to determine their membership and to determine their leaders.

OP: The respect for tribal sovereignty should go both ways. If tribes wield sovereignty like a CLUB, then Congress should NOT support a nation with new land for trust, or, in the case of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, federal funds. Pechanga has acted unconstitutionally, that's not about sovereignty as it should be.

A controversial incident involving the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma shifted the landscape after the tribe voted in 2007 to exclude the descendants of the Freedmen, or former slaves. Some members of Congress sought to cut off federal funds to the tribe unless the Freedmen were restored to citizenship.
Other high-profile disputes -- especially those involving gaming -- have caught the eye of Congress as well. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2002 held an unusual hearing into a small California tribe whose leaders were fighting over a proposed casino.

A slew of disenrollment disputes among wealthy California tribes have generated significant media coverage but so far members of Congress have not been willing to get involved.

OP: DIANE WATSON, are you reading this? California is YOUR state! GET INVOLVED

Officials at Interior have shied away too, with the exception of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, whose constitution gives the Bureau of Indian Affairs authority over membership matters.
According to Indian activists, California tribes have removed at least 1,500 people from their rolls in recent years. One of them was Bob Foreman, who served as the first chairman of the Redding Rancheria before he was disenrolled in 2004. Foreman died on November 19 without seeing a resolution to his struggle.
Obama has yet to announce his pick for Secretary of the Department of the Interior, although at least two members of Congress who have experience in Indian issues have been the subject of speculation. Obama also gets to name a new assistant secretary for Indian affairs.

Read more HERE

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bureau of Indian Affairs DENIES San Paqcual's bid to EJECT Members!

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has denied the San Pasqual Indian band's bid to eject about 60 members, but said the tribe can appeal the decision about the disputed members' ancestry.
Many tribes determine membership issues on their own, but San Pasqual's constitution gives the BIA that responsibility.

It's unclear what the decision means to an ongoing tribal leadership split that is threatening the tribe's government and its ability to operate the Valley View Casino.
“I haven't talked to the tribe yet,” James Fletcher, Southern California superintendent (and Pechanga Tribal Member, which ejected 250 of their own members) for the BIA, said Monday. “My position is going to be the same.”

In June, the tribe told the members whose ancestry is questioned that they would not receive casino profit-sharing payments.
In August, Fletcher said the tribal government had collapsed.
Fletcher has told tribal members that without a government, they can't run tribal operations or operate businesses, including the casino. SHUT IT DOWN!!
He has tried to bring sparring sides together through mediation and negotiation, but a solution is not at hand, he said.

Tribal Chairman Allen Lawson declined to talk Monday about the BIA's latest decision or the leadership dispute.
But one of the tribal members whose ancestry is questioned, Angela Martinez McNeal, said in an e-mail that she was vindicated. However, she said Lawson would not reinstate the ousted members. Tribal leaders have told her that she can't remain as tribal secretary-treasurer because of the dispute.

At issue is whether a tribal member, the late Marcus Alto Sr., was adopted and was not really Indian.
Some tribal leaders challenged his 1991 enrollment in the tribe, plus those of his descendants.
The head of the BIA ruled in 1995 that Alto was Indian and properly enrolled in the tribe.

Last week, Dale Morris, the agency's Sacramento-based regional director, said new evidence presented by the tribe's enrollment committee failed to prove that decision was wrong, and as a result, his descendants are properly enrolled. AMAZINGLY, the BIA wouldn't lift a FINGER for those Pechanga people that were unconstitutionally disenrolled (against the Pechanga Constitution) and allowed a shadow government to take over the Snoqualmie Tribe of Washington.

“It is inappropriate for the Committee to continue to raise this issue of the validity of the inclusion of Mr. Alto and his descendants on the Band's membership roll or to attempt to disenroll his descendants and to continue to seek remedy from the BIA,” he wrote in a letter to Lawson.
Morris said the tribe may appeal his decision to the head of the BIA. And, if the tribe wants to get the BIA out of its membership decisions, it can change its constitution.

But for now, the biggest issue is who the BIA recognizes as the true leadership of the tribe.
The five-member executive committee elected in 2007 split up over the membership issue and Fletcher said he won't recognize any decisions made by anyone else.
“It's going to take me a couple of days to get something together on how we're going to approach this thing,” he said.

Fletcher said he advised the National Indian Gaming Commission of the problem.
A commission spokesman said he was looking into the matter, but couldn't comment until he had more information.

San Manuel Continues to Support Other Native American's while Tribes Like Pechanga Hurt their OWN

After giving $1 million to the Havasupai people, the San Manuel tribe in California has given $100,000 to help West River area reservation areas recovering from the early November blizzard.
Officials at the Black Hills Area Chapter of the American Red Cross said the funds will help provide immediate assistance and assist with future emergency services on the reservations.

"When the tribe was made aware of the situation at Pine Ridge and at Rosebud, we knew we had to assist our brother and sister tribes," said Chairman James Ramos of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians of San Bernardino. Wildfires in California galvanized desire among his tribe's members to help the Lakota, he said.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Riverside County District Attorney ROD PACHECO has made NO DECISION on Pechanga Beating UPDATE

UPDATE: The DA's office has STILL made No Decision on charges against the Pechanga security guard. The Swan's have been told that it could take THREE YEARS to file charges. Swift, sure justice apparently doesn't happen in Riverside. There are NO trespassing charges agains the Swans.

After ONE MONTH Riverside County's D.A. Rod Pacheco has made no decision on charges in the case of brutality against Pechanga Casino customer Richard Swan. The October 20th incident, which we reported here and KNBC also reported, seems a pretty simple case. The security guard has ALREADY BEEN fired by Pechanga, Mr. Swan's injuries amply displayed and Pechanga is going to settle the case.

What is Mr. Pacheco waiting for? Is he plea bargaining? Is he waiting for Pechanga to file charges against the Swan's? (There is NO record of charges at the sheriff's department)

How will the Swan's receive JUSTICE against the brutality of Pechanga's guards? Just as importantly, the Riverside Press Enterprise is now passing 31 days of silence on this news, yet is quick to put bad news of SOBOBA in print. Just what is news in the PE's opinion?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

San Pascual Tribal Split

Tribe’s schism threatens casino
By Victor Morales, Today correspondent

VALLEY CENTER, Calif. – The latest meditation attempt by BIA officials Oct. 12 to resolve a rift between members of a tribal council has failed, possibly threatening the legality of its lucrative casino operations, a senior BIA official said.
As it stands, the BIA does not recognize the split tribal government of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians in inland San Diego County, said James Fletcher, superintendent of the Southern California Agency of the BIA. “If they don’t come to an agreement there may be far reaching impacts,” Fletcher said. Pressed on whether the tribe’s Valley View Casino was at risk, Fletcher said, “The potential exists, yes, but I don’t know how high at this point.”
Fletcher advised both factions in August that he could not recognize either as the legitimate tribal government because they were holding separate meetings, suspending each other’s members from the council and resisting working out their disagreements.
One of the factions voted in replacements, according to a BIA letter to the tribe. The council rift centers on the disenrollment of a family because of questions concerning their Indian ancestry, Fletcher said. About 80 people’s tribal rights were suspended, including payments from casino revenues.

See the link above for the rest of the story.

Have you Seen Violations of Law at Pechanga Casino?

We know that Pechanga has had an embezzler, who stole over $400 K, a Pechanga tribal member who stole from the employees tips, a Bribery scheme against employees, violations of Civil Rights by Pechanga and Customer BEATING by the Pechanga Security Force. What else is happening there of the criminal type? The CARJACKING by a Pechanga Tribal Member was a local police matter.

If you have information to share about what you've seen, heard and know, here is the contact information for the FBI:
FBI Los Angeles
Suite 1700,
FOB 11000Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90024-3672
(310) 477-6565

INTERLUDE: Dancing With The Stars Crowns a Champion Tonight

For MINDLESS escapism, Dancing With the Stars Has Been terrific this year. Lots of good dancing, more importantly, good EFFORT. I think Brooke Burke will win, as she's the best, but Lance/Lacey have done a good job and are coming on strong. Do you watch? Who's your choice.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Former Redding Rancheria Chairman Robert Edward Foreman Passes Away UPDATE

UPDATE: Here is the link for Bob Foreman's obituary. His services will be next Friday, December 5, 2008 at 11:00 am at the Neighborhood Church in Anderson, CA. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Robert Edward Foreman, the first Chairman of the Redding Rancheria, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008. Here's how the first Chairman was treated by the Redding Tribal Council: On January 27, 2004, all 76 members of my family the “Foremans” were removed from the Redding Rancheria tribal rolls based on nothing more than a conjured up rumor alleging my mother Lorena Foreman-Butler was not the daughter of her mother Virginia Timmons, one of Redding Rancheria’s 17 Original Distributees. Tribal Officials never produced a single piece of evidence to dispute my mother's maternal lineage and my family provided reams of legal and contemporary documents proving her mother was Virginia Timmons. Tribal Council still required my family to provide genomic DNA from my deceased mother and grandmother to retain our tribal citizenship Despite my family providing Tribal Council with DNA test results from two separate labs of 99.987% and 99.890%, proving by the legal standards established by the American Bar Association and the American Medical Associations that Lorena Butler and Virginia Timmons were mother and daughter, Tribal Council still stripped my family of our tribal citizenship. Bob Foreman has been fighting to regain his family's civil rights and the rights of disenfranchised Native Americans since. Here's a link to his story: BOB FOREMAN Rest in Peace Details on the celebration of his life to follow And here is how a REAL obiturary is written: Bob Foreman, Redding Rancheria's first tribal chairman and a pioneer in north state American Indian health clinics, died Wednesday after a long illness. He was 72. An Achumawi Pit River Indian, Foreman was remembered Thursday by friends and family as a tireless advocate for Indian rights, skilled communicator and loyal patriarch. He was born June 12, 1936, in Lake County. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he worked in construction as did his father, said daughter Carla Maslin of Redding. In the late 1960s, he began his campaign to get Indians health care in the north state. His efforts paid off in 1971, with the opening of the federally financed Shasta-Trinity-Siskiyou Rural Indian Health Center in Anderson. "Bobby was a real devoted guy to his tribe," said Everett Freeman, tribal chairman of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians near Corning. "He almost single-handedly got Indian health to where it is today." Larry McClanahan, a Navajo Indian who moved to Cottonwood from Arizona in 1972, said Foreman was one of the first people he met in the north state. He and his family were glad to receive clinic services. "He took me as I was," McClanahan recalled. "He was a man that was concerned for people." Rod Lindsay, a Shasta Lake city councilman who works with the Office of Indian Education for the Anderson Union High School District, also met Foreman through the clinic. Lindsay said Foreman was a mentor for many, sharing his knowledge of culture and history with the young. Foreman also was instrumental in organizing the Redding Rancheria Indian Health Clinic on Churn Creek Road and served as director, later retiring as self-governance coordinator for the rancheria, Maslin said. In 1985, when the rancheria regained its tribal status, Foreman was elected as its first chairman and subsequently served on the tribal council. But in 2004, he and all his family members were disenrolled after a bitter dispute over his mother's maternal lineage. The struggle took a toll on his health, Maslin said. Foreman suffered from heart and kidney problems, she said. Leah Harper, a family friend of more than 20 years who does native medicine work in Redding, said she wanted to stand out in front of the Churn Creek clinic with a "thank you" banner in Foreman's honor. "I believe that Bob had the heart of the native people and he wanted to make a difference for them," she said. "Bob was loving and the children are loving and they work very hard." In addition to Maslin, Foreman is survived by three daughters and three sons, as well as 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Funeral services are pending. For her part, Maslin is grateful her father last year was able to do something he'd always wanted - to see the Grand Canyon. "He actually got emotional just looking at it," she said. "He was in awe of its beauty and couldn't believe the world had such a beautiful place." Congratulations to the Redding Rancheria for their dispicable acts of DISHONOR in what they did to this man and his family.

Another Day, More Violence at Soboba, But this time Teamwork Gets Job Done

At least, this time, Soboba assisted the Riverside Sheriff's Department in getting ONE of the 3 carjackers:

Riverside County sheriff's deputies searched for three carjacking suspects Wednesday on the Soboba Indian Reservation.
Authorities were called to the reservation by a construction crew working there who reported being carjacked by three men about 6:30 a.m. at gunpoint.
The crew was approached by the men, one armed with a handgun, another with a rifle, who stole their work truck, sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said.

The construction crew was not injured and tribal government assisted law enforcement searching the reservation for the carjackers. Anthony Del Rio, 18, a resident of the Soboba Reservation, was arrested on suspicion of carjacking, Sgt. David Kurylowicz said in a report. He said more arrests are expected.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

At TASIN Meeting Last Week, Pechanga Tribe ATTACKS the Sovereignty of the Ramona Tribe

Proving that not all is good in California's Indian Country: At last weeks meeting of TASIN, The Pechanga Band, vocalized by Tribal Councilmember Mark Calac,(NOT the brightest bulb in the family) attacked the sovereignty of the Ramona Band, also a TASIN member. Pechanga has a history of attacking the sovereign nations, as they did with Quechan in years past. TASIN is the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations, ironic on so many levels.
This story is developing

Monday, November 17, 2008

Brush with Pechanga Security Leaves Senior Patron Nearly Dead! NEW UPDATE Pechanga WILL PAY

UPDATE III: Looks like Pechanga will pay for part of Richard Swan's medical coverage. Pechanga has fired ONE of the security guards involved. Pechanga is saying that the Swans escalated a "minor incident" which is total b.s. And the Riverside District Attorney is still "reviewing the case" of battery against the FIRED Pechanga security guard. I think the guard should come forward to Mary Parks of KNBC and tell the story of Pechanga's actions and how they treat their customers. It may help sway the DA from pressing charges or at least plea bargaining them out.

UPDATE II: MARY PARKS of KNBC has done a story on the Swans! Please leave a comment there.

UPDATE: GREAT NEWS! The Swan Family contacted me and let me know that they will be interviewed by the news tomorrow. That will be the first, hopefully of many. WHERE is the Press Enterprise?

An elderly Palm Desert man, with a pacemaker, who was patronizing the Pechanga Casino was beaten by Pechanga security and his wife terrorized. This is NOT the first incident of this type at Pechanga, according to what the RCSD told the Swan's. The Riverside Sheriff's Department has take a report on the incident.

Seniors should rethink visiting Pechanga. You have LESS rights at a tribal casino and the sheriff's may not be able to protect you. One of our family was attacked by a former tribal council member and he ran like a 'punk-assed bitch' to the Government Center so the Sheriff's couldn't touch him.

Is Pechanga safe? The stories of thug like behavior and the recent car-jacking by a Pechanga crime family member AT THE CASINO should point to a NO response.

Here is the description of the incident and a picture:

On October 20th, 2008, I nearly lost my life. While in the Pechanga Casino Resort in Temecula, my wife and I had a disagreement with Security personnel over forty-four dollars left in a machine by a patron, who was harassing her. My wife was scared, so I got upset.

Security told my wife she could stay but I had to leave. We told them we'd both leave and started walking toward the hotel to get our luggage.
Suddenly without warning I was jumped from behind by two security men and violently thrown to the ground. I kept telling them to stop, that I was a 70 year old man with a pacemaker and took a blood thinning prescription Coumadin. But they didn't care.

They slammed my head into the marble floor and dragged me to their security room. I feared for my life knowing that the Coumadin I am taking could cause severe bleeding. If I bled internally or developed a clot in my head I'd be dead. By the grace of God I survived.

I had trouble breathing so the casino medical team gave me oxygen. Seeing my condition they rushed me in an ambulance to the nearest hospital. I have low blood pressure but it stood at 183 over 100. The Sheriff came to the hospital and took our report.
My wife spoke to Capt. Carmichael at Pechanga and he told her that normal procedure was to escort someone who is told to leave out the nearest entrance or ask if they were hotel guests and then escort them to their room to get their luggage.
None of this was communicated to us.
We intend to file Assault and Battery charges. According to the police and local attorneys, this kind of brutality goes on all the time in certain reservation land casinos.
Isn't anybody going to do something about it? One day, those Security men, who have their own rules, will kill someone.

Teetilawuncha's Blog has a story about YOUR RIGHTS in Indian Country.