Friday, January 18, 2008

Can California Tribes Survive Being Rich? No on Pechanga-No on Prop. 94

My new post is up at:

California tribes had grown their membership in the late 20th century. Picayune Rancheria had swelled their membership to over 1200. Pechanga grew from 480 members in 1979 to over 1,000 by 2003. Pechanga’s tribal constitution and bylaws call for open enrollment every January. A candidate for enrollment must show lineal descent from an original Pechanga person. It was good to grow the tribes, as they could show the Federal government how much they needed more grant money. Better to get money for 1,000 than 480.

But something sinister happened, that coincided with the approval of Proposition 5 in California. Some tribal members decided that they didn’t want to share the good fortune with their family. Pechanga enacted a moratorium, which means that they stopped enrolling people into the tribe, whether they could prove lineal descent or not. Other tribes like Redding Rancheria started disenrolling members. Chukchansi has eliminated 600 tribal members and surprise! They have kept that money for themselves. No matter the damage to elderly and young. They were tossed to the curb.

Read the rest of the story:

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