Friday, December 3, 2010

Pechanga People "Disenrolled" en Masse a Historical First

Time to bring this post forward please read and check the link for more.

UPDATE: Rob at  Blue Corn Comics thinks that this article below is just Pechanga bashing. Well that may be true, but why are there no articles BASHING the other three tribes. Isn't it proper and just to bash a tribe that needs bashing and wouldn't a tribe that has treated its people so badly, be bashed?

Mark Cooper has an extensive article that details the shameful actions of Pechanga. Purging the tribe of longtime members.
Please read the whole thing

Tribal Flush: Pechanga People "Disenrolled" en Masse

On the eve of what could be the largest gambling expansion in U.S. history, a tale of power, betrayal and lost Indian heritage

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 - 12:00 pm Link to the rest of the story

John Gomez Jr. parks his silver family van in the back row of one more anonymous strip mall off California’s Highway 79, an hour and a half southeast of Los Angeles, on a windswept ridge overlooking the Temecula Valley.
Gomez, his dark hair barely betraying a sprinkling of gray at his temples, steps out of the van and walks away from the mall, to a barren dirt lot marked off with adobe walls.“This is where Pablo is buried,” he says as we peer over the locked iron gate.

Pablo is Pablo Apis, the celebrated 19th-century “headman,” or chief, of the Temecula/Pechanga Indians, who was given more than 2,000 acres of land in exchange for his work at the Mission San Luis Rey. Gomez, who is a direct descendant of Chief Apis, jiggles the lock on the gate. He has no key.“This is where a lot of our people were buried,” Gomez continues, “including those killed in the famous Temecula Massacre.” He’s referring to the killing of several dozen Indians by Californio militias in the closing days of 1846. Apis survived and, indeed, the 1875 treaty between the Temecula tribe and the U.S. government, though never ratified, was signed at the chief’s village adobe home.

Today, on a corner of Apis’ original land grant, a few minutes down the road from the desolate burial ground, towers the $350 million Pechanga Resort & Casino, the glittering 14-story pleasure dome so familiar to Southern Californians from the promotional and political-advocacy commercials in near-constant rotation on local television stations. With 522 rooms, 185,000 square feet of casino floor, 2,000 slot machines, more than 150 table games and seven restaurants, along with Vegas-class showrooms, nightclubs and comedy lounges, the Pechanga Band of LuiseƱo Indians, as the tribe is now known, runs the largest and perhaps most profitable of California’s nearly 60 Indian casinos.

And now, under terms of a deal negotiated by Governor Schwarzenegger, ratified earlier this year by the Democratic-led state legislature and set to go before voters in the February 5 primary election, the Pechanga and three other Southern California tribes may soon triple their battery of slot machines, allowing each of the four Indian groups to operate twice as many slots as any Vegas casino. If the referendums go through, the four tribes — Morongo, Agua Caliente, Sycuan and Pechanga — will be responsible for the largest expansion of gambling in recent U.S. history.

But it’s Gomez’s tribe no more. At least as far as the tribal leadership is concerned. Gomez and 135 adult members of his extended family (and 75 or more children) have been purged from formal Pechanga membership; they have been “disenrolled.”

They were accused of no crime, no misbehavior, no wrongdoing, no disloyalty. But a series of tribal kangaroo-court hearings, bereft of even the pretense of due process, ruled that one of the family’s deceased elders was not an authentic tribe member and, therefore, not withstanding their years of service to the tribe, they were all to be banned.

What it’s come to goes beyond tribal pride. As a result of the disenrollment, many in the Gomez family, which accounts for some 10 percent of the total Pechanga tribe’s membership, have lost their federal standing and benefits as American Indians. Some have lost their jobs at the resort. All of the adults, including Gomez, lost the generous per capita monthly payout, derived from casino profits, that was given to each adult of the tribe. When the Gomez family’s expulsion was finalized in 2004, that was about $15,000 per month. Currently, for those who remain members of the tribe, the figure has risen to about $40,000 per month.

The sharp increase is due in part to a second wave of purges, finalized last year, which disenrolled another extended family, this one descended from Paulina Hunter and representing yet another 10 percent of the tribe. That second purge went ahead despite a tribe-commissioned expert probe that concluded that Hunter was, in fact, a Pechanga.

Simply put: The fewer the tribal members, the bigger the payout.

Some of the elderly disenrollees found themselves cut off from tribal clinics they helped to build. Some of the younger ones lost their education subsidies. What all the disenrollees have in common is not only the sudden loss of significant income but erasure of their collective cultural history and identity.
“Yes, we lost homes and cars. Some went into bankruptcy,” Gomez says. “But mostly I was saddened for my family and for Indian country in general. It’s not just your money they’re taking away but also your heritage and your future.”
With Indian gaming revenues now near the $30 billion mark nationally, disenrollment has rocked and divided Indian reservations from coast to coast.
“Gaming has brought in the dominant culture’s disease of greed,’’ Marty Firerider of the California American Indian Movement told the Indian Country Today newspaper.
Gomez first got into trouble with his Pechanga tribe in 2002, when, as a trusted legal adviser, he was elected to the tribal-enrollment committee, along with a cousin and a member of the Paulina Hunter family. These were sensitive positions. After the tribe won its first minor gambling concession in 1996, and after California voters approved major Indian gaming rights four years later, it was only natural that there would be an increase in those suddenly claiming membership.

“As soon as we were elected, we found that the committee was doing all kinds of strange things,” Gomez says. “On the one hand they weren’t adhering to an enrollment moratorium and on the other they weren’t properly processing the minor children of those already enrolled.”
Gomez and his new allies began an investigation.

The boom quickly dropped on them. Within weeks a letter emerged from a group called Concerned Pechanga People, a small faction closely allied with the tribal leadership and its chair, Mark Macarro, which accused Gomez and his family of not being legitimate Pechanga. By the end of the year, Gomez’s extended family were notified of pending disenrollment. During an internal process that lasted more than a year and a half, Gomez put together binders of documentation proving — at least to virtually every outside observer who has reviewed them — his Pechanga ancestry.

But the tribal leadership, in closed-door sessions that adhered to no formal due process or rules of evidence, held to its position that one key elder in Gomez’s lineage — Manuela Miranda — had left the traditional village after her marriage and, therefore, her descendants weren’t really Pechanga. The claim, according to several experts, is prima facie absurd, as the history of American Indians is based on such dispersion and diaspora.

Read MORE at the link above


Anonymous said...

I hope this makes major news! a true accurate depection of what happened, it sickens me to think back to all this. Having tribal council members fall asleep, refusing to hear evidence. Whats sicker is to think that the Tribal Council listen to a child rapist rather than an expert....Wrong Expert

Creeper said...

Pechanga, a tale of corruption and greed. The story continues.

Rob said...

Why are there no article bashing the other four tribes? Because there are no major disenrollment controversies at the other four tribes. And why is that? Either the Pechangas are uniquely greedy and corrupt among Indians--something in the water, perhaps? Or there's more to the story than an inexplicable outbreak of greed and corruption.

Anonymous said...

It is a major shame when the opportunity comes along to help all the tribal members better themselves, and nothing gets done.

The tribes of America have been battling the ignorance of the meaning of the treaties with the people of America for years.

All the treaties called for the living together attitude in peace, but when ever GREED would show up, it blinds the eye of all man, no matter what color of skin. I pray to the Great Creator that you are succssfull in thwarting this attrocity in the election booth.

Native American Voice is dedicated to bringing the truth to the voters so they can vote with intelligence and not ignorance.

so says the
Cherokee known as Sagebrush

OPechanga said...

Rob, I'm sure you mean to say the other THREE tribes.
There are articles here about Chukchansi, Enterprise and other reservations in CA. Also, has much more.
So if you take the big 4 currently in the news, 25% of the tribes have a disenrollment controversy.

And it's certainly not inexplicable. The corruption has been ongoing since 1980, when Butch Murphy tried to split up the tribe. Take a look at on the front page, there is a story of the Splinter group. Pechanga now runs commercials saying "one tribe, one people" when, laughably, Butch Murphy, et al, tried to make it TWO tribes.
But ask also,why there were no issues before there was a casino? My enrollment number is smaller than Macarro's or Jennie Miranda. I was enrolled before they were. Before there was a "cornfield" according Macarro in KNBC's Without a Tribe which is on my blogroll.
Say hi to Victor!

Steven Leigh Morris said...

Hello. I work for LA Weekly, and thank you for linking to this article.

I welcome any readers from this blog to add their comments to our own site. The link to this story above doesn't contain the comments, b/c it's the print version, but you can access the full version - with commenting - here:

Thank you for reading - and for the feedback about the article.

Anonymous said...

This is assinine. These people are as greedy as the white man.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. Why wasn't Pablo Apis' signature on the treaty if he was a "headman"?

'aamokat said...

I am not sure why Pablo's signature is not on the treaty but if memory serves me, it was neogiatied after he died and it was on his property so one of his descendants may have signed it.

Anyway, the tribe has tried to distance themselves from Pablo's place in tribal history especially since the family of one of his descendants Manueal Miranda have been disenrolled.

The enrollment committee claimed that M. Miranda cut her ties to the people when she moved away from the tribe and they use the fact that M. Miranda is not on any of the census records of the late 1800's as proof of this.

However, they fail to mention that M. Miranda's mother had died when M. Miranda was a very young girl and that she moved in with an older relative in another city.

So a little girl had nowhere to go so the enrollment committee kicked out her descendants, pretty cold hearted I would say.

The enrollment committee also ignored testimony from elders not from the CPP faction who said they always considered the M. Mirandas Pechanga people

In addition the enrollment committee fails to mention is that there are many of Pablo's desendants still in the Pechanga tribe including Francis Miranda a blood relative of the M. Miranda descendants.

That Francis's ancestor, Candelaria Nesecat Flores the sibling of M. Miranda, also is not on any of the census records of the late 1800's and that C.N. Flores is listed as living on the Soboba reservation on two of the census records from that period, not Pechanga.

So why were the descendants of M. Miranda kicked out of the tribe while the descendants of C.N. Flores with virtually the same family history were cleared from disenrollment?

Can we say malice or predjudice against the M. Miranda descendants, a violation of Article V of the Band's constitution?

By the way, the enrollment committee did not dispute the fact that the M. Miranda family are Temecula Indians.

Anonymous said...

So Butch Murphy was mentioned above and I was wondering if anyone could answer a question for me. When he was enrolled did they enroll his entire family? Where does his line start, at him or does it go back to a grandparent or further back than that?

'aamokat said...

The April 1986 vote by the general membership was to enroll the heirs of Rose Murphy including Russell Butch Murphy, who acted as spokesmen for his family at that special membership meeting.

The agenda for the single subject meeting was enrollment appeal, vote needed.

The heirs of Rose Murphy had their membership applications turned down by the enrollment committee and they succesfuly appealed the committee's decision to the general membership.

My question is whether Rose herself was Pechanga but even if she was, that does not make Butch and his family Pechanga.

Because the agenda says heirs, not lineal descendants of Rose Murphy and the cover page that came along with the agenda and minutes for the meeting says ADOPTEE.

The meeting minutes don't say why Butch and company were turned down by the enrollment committee as that part was left out of the transcript but Ray Basquez Sr. argued in favor of enrolling them by saying adoption shouldn't be mentioned as he claimed the Murphys had been recognized by the tribe before the written enrollment of 1979.

Of course Basquez's own blood claim is questionable so it makes sense that one person who very well could not be of Pechanga blood himself would vouch for others with no apparent blood claim on tribal membership.

For the tribal hack who says we are always bad mouthing tribal elders I would like to ask, if Butch is blood of the tribe, why does the agenda for the special meeting that considered his membership say heirs of Rose Muprhy and not lineal descendants?

'aamokat said...

One more thing, in case the person who asked the question about Butch Murphy hasn't read some of my posts about his family's appeal of the enrollment committee decision not to enroll them in 1986, one of the reasons not to include my family, the Hunters, in the 2005 law that ended disenrollment and allowing us to be disenrolled in 2006 anyway was that the tribal council claimed that the general membership could not question or interrupt the enrollment committee concerning enrollment or disenrollment.

The council concluded in 2006 that the enrollment committee, according to the council, was the final authority concerning enrollment and that it was a violation of established tribal legal precedent for the general membership to intervene.

However, the Murphys case in 1986 is an example of established tribal legal precedent that says just the opposite, which is in agreement with the Pechanga Band's constitution that the general membership is in fact the final authority on all matters of tribal government including enrollment issues.

So despite the tribal council's bogus ruling in 2006, there is no tribal legal precent that shows the general membership cannot overrule the enrollment committee and Butch Murphy is living breathing proof!

As far as I know, Rose Murphy reportedly is Butch's mother but are they blood relatives?

As for her connection to Pechanga, it is not clear cut as far as the preliminary research I have done on the Murphys so far because it gets fuzzy before 1900 and the question is if she was an Indian, her family could have been Pala Indians as they have a connection to an allotment at Pala and from what I have seen so far they don't have a direct line to an allotment at Pechanga.

But as I said, my research on them is just preliminary and I am not going to do to them what the CPP did to us and pass off inuendo and half truths as fact.

But as I said in my last post, the minutes of the meeting that took Butch into the tribe says heirs and not lineal descendants.

But if the general membership could vote to overrule a decision to not enroll a family in 1986, then they could vote to stop a disenrollment in 2006.

'aamokat said...

Correction to my last post: the vote to end disenrollment as a part of tribal law was in 2005 not in 2006.

We, the Hunters, were disenrolled in 2006 despite the fact that the disenrollment procedures no longer existed as a part of tribal law as of the date of the June 2005 vote that justified the petition that was approved in July 2005.

Allen L. Lee said...

Just thought some might want to know we are having another Human Rights discussion on Indian Country

Anonymous said...

Pablo Apis died circa 1850, three decades before the formation of the Pechanga Indian Reservation, in 1882. The ouster of the Temecula Indians from their village took place about a quarter century following Pablo Apis's demise. Some of these displaced Temecula Indians settled on the land that later became their reservation, named Pechanga after a geographic feature. These displaced Temecula Indians became known as the Pechanga Band. By this simple timeline, Pablo Apis could not have served in a Pechanga leadership capacity, for his having been dead three decades before the Pechanga people came into existence. Please know, Dear Reader, the non-members and some of their supporters invent and twist facts to suit their own purpose. They have no shame or scruples. One may presume Pablo Apis, an historical figure in Temecula Valley, would have discouraged such dishonorable behavior.

Anonymous said...

Is there a name for the mother of three Demons who will certainly go to hell? If so, what do we call Mrs. Maccaro, and Mrs. Murphy. Matthew 18:6. "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." I'm probably not the only one who sinned by hating the people at Pechanga who are responsible for injustices done to my family. However, I know these people are headed for eternal death seperated from the love of God and I don't think all the Per Capita money they stole from us will save them.

Anonymous said...

and all the money there making at the casino pechanga casio is still tight ripp off

Anonymous said...

Gambling is a sin .