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?