Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Snoqualmie Tribe Does Right Thing and Reinstates Banished Members

Snoqualmie joins Hoopa Valley as tribes that have done the right thing by their members. It's time for tribes like: Pechanga, Redding, Enterprise, Picayune and San Pasqual to name a few to do the same. Be responsible for all your people.

Snoqualmie tribe votes to reinstate 9 members banished in election dispute
By Lynda V. Mapes

Seattle Times staff reporter

Members of the Snoqualmie tribe voted overwhelmingly Saturday to reinstate all nine tribal members banished after an election dispute.

The nine, including several elders, waited five hours outside the longhouse in Monroe at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds wrapped in blankets, and sending in pizza for members deliberating their fate far into the night.

Finally, after 10 p.m., — nearly 12 hours after the meeting started — the banished were invited inside the longhouse, and back in the tribe amid cheers, said Carolyn Lubenau, one of the reinstated.

"Everybody cried, it was so emotional," said Lubenau, who, along with the others, was banished in April 2008. "I feel jubilant, I am proud of them," she said of the membership.

The nine fought the banishment in federal court, where a judge earlier this year partially overturned the banishment, stating the tribe had not followed due process. The membership was tasked with reconsidering the banishment Saturday.

The tribe, with about 650 members, just last fall opened a new casino, a half-hour from downtown Seattle. The Snoqualmie rolled the dice on a mountain of debt — $375 million — for a chance at prosperity.

The tribe, which re-gained federal recognition only in 1999, has been mired in election disputes, the banishment controversy, and more election disputes for most of the past two years, even as it faces serious operational and budget problems.

Lubenau said she was never going to relent in the fight to get back into the tribe. "I would never give up, my children wouldn't or my grandchildren after them. But it so rarely happens," she said of reinstatement. "I am just overwhelmed with gratitude."

The tribe also met to determine what to do about a leadership split on its tribal council that led to a breakdown of the function of tribal government. The council was so badly split, in part over another disputed election last May, that council members for months had refused to regularly meet with each other.

Elders in August dissolved the feuding council and took control of the tribe until a new election could be held, but had no constitutional authority to do that.

The tribal administrator resorted to locking tribal offices, and the federal government froze some of the tribe's funding.

After mediation suggested by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs this month, tribal offices were reopened, and grant money unfrozen. An interim council — the one in place before the disputed May election — was put in place until a new election is held.

The membership Saturday agreed to schedule a new election, perhaps as soon as in three weeks.

Nathan Patrick Barker, a Snoqualmie tribal chief, said he voted for banishment two years ago but was in the majority of those who decided to allow all nine members back in to the tribe Saturday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

ICT: Tribes like Pechanga, Picayune and Redding Terminating Indians Threaten Future of ALL American Indian Nations

ICT has an editorial on how tribes like Pechanga, Picayune and Redding could cause issues for all Native American Nations. This is PRECISELY why nations should use their influence to get tribes that have exterminated Indians do the right thing. It has been well documented that Pechanga violated their OWN CONSTITUTION to destroy families and their children, even violently removing them from the tribal school.

Several serious issues concerning tribal citizenship threaten the future of American Indian nations. Few non-Indians understand the complex definition of citizenship for American Indians as U.S. citizens or the citizenship powers tribes have over their own members.

American Indians have an undefined dual citizenship in the United States and within their tribes. Since the 1970s, Indian tribes regained the power to make and enforce their own definitions of citizenship. For many decades, most Indian governments did not struggle with tribal citizenship issues. Many tribes simply adopted blood quantum requirements from BIA procedures.

Indian tribal citizenship more recently has garnered a considerable amount of negative attention among the American public. OP: AND MUCH MORE TO COME! One reason for this has been the issue of tribal disenrollment. Over the years, several gaming tribes have received plenty of bad publicity for excluding tribal members. The affected families have waged constant public campaigns to turn public opinion against the tribes. OP: And it's been effective, and more people are taking notice thanks to blogs such as this one and also social networking sites. The American public perceives tribal governments are disenrolling members to monopolize gaming revenues for themselves. OP: In Pechanga's case, perception IS reality. They DID EXACTLY that! This sort of interpretation fits very well with American worldviews, where material motivations are assumed. The bad publicity from the tribal citizen exclusions fosters support for anti-Indian legislation.

Read the rest of the editorial HERE

Thank you for reading this blog and for continuing to follow the plight of THOUSANDS of California Indians ripped from their tribes.

AIRRO: California Native American Day is No Holiday for Thousands of California Indians

California Native American Day is no Holiday for Thousands of California Indians. Today, September 25th, is California Native American Day.

Native American Day was established to recognize the many contributions that California Indians have made for the benefit of the State and the Country. Today, as in Native American Days past, there will be events and celebrations throughout the State honoring and showcasing the rich history, culture, and heritage of California ’s original inhabitants.

However, for thousands of California Indians, today is no holiday. Today we will be reminded of the crimes committed against us in the taking and denial of our Tribal identity. While others celebrate, many California Indians will contemplate their “Indianness” as a result of being disenrolled, banished, and/or denied membership in their tribe. Many more will wonder why our basic rights, as citizens of our tribe, the State, and the federal government, are not protected and preserved on par with other citizens.

In 1968, the same year in which Governor Reagan established American Indian Day, the United States Congress enacted the Indian Civil Rights Act (“ICRA”). The ICRA was introduced in response to the growing number of basic rights violations occurring in Indian Country and was intended to curtail the growing number of abuses inflicted on individual Indians by tribal governments.

Just as with other civil rights legislation, the ICRA was passed to protect the basic rights of all Indians from the arbitrary and capricious acts of tribal governments and officials. The ICRA did not establish new rights for Indian people. The ICRA actually listed actions of which Tribal governments and officials were prohibited from engaging in. Unfortunately, the ICRA failed to provide an adequate and effective means by which to enforce the law against tribal governments who engaged in the prohibited acts. As a result, the group of people it intended to protect is once again being subjected to the very acts the ICRA outlawed.

So what does this have to do with California Native American Day?

Quite simply, California is “ground zero” for the growing number of human and civil rights abuses that have infected Indian Country. In cases ranging from denial of due process and equal protection of laws to the stripping of personal property and voting rights, thousands of California Indians have been victimized by the very people charged with protecting their rights.

Unlike our ancestors, those responsible for the crimes carried out against us are not a foreign government, the State, or even the federal government. We have not fallen victim to conquistadors, slave traders, miners, or land barons. No, today tribal governments are responsible for the killing-off of thousands of California Indians in what one Indian scholar has referred to as the “paper genocide”. Over 20 California tribes have acted in violation of the ICRA and other tribal, state, and federal laws in disenfranchising its tribal citizens.

These human and civil rights abuses are not solely internal problems or issues for the tribes to sort out. These abuses are much larger social and moral issues that should be the concern of Indian and non-Indian alike.

As tribal officials carry out these crimes in the name of sovereignty and escape prosecution by invoking immunity, a growing number of California Indians- those of whom today should have special meaning for- find themselves without a “nation” and lacking the basic freedoms and protections others take for granted.

The desire and willingness to strip and/or deny California Indians of the protections provided for under the ICRA is not exclusive to Indian Country. The Native American Caucus of the California Democratic Party has declined to support a resolution currently pending in the California Assembly in which the States acknowledges its desire to enforce the ICRA. It may come as a shock to some that a group within the Democratic Party, the party of the “Big Tent”, would so blatantly discriminate against a group it is supposed to represent on an issue - civil rights - the Party has championed for decades. However, the leadership within the Native American Caucus consists of tribal representatives from some of the most egregious rights violators in Indian Country. They have a vested interest in ensuring that the ICRA is not enforced in the State or California Indian Country.

So, while thousands will attend and participate in Native American Day festivities throughout the State in memory of our ancestors, don’t forget the California Indians living in the here and now.
Like their ancestors, today’s California Indians face threats on our way of life that, if left unchecked, could also threaten our very existence.

Please take the time to learn more about the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the growing number of civil rights abuses in California Indian Country by visiting the following sites:


Let us work towards a resolution to the ever growing problem of rights abuses in California Indian Country, so that one day, all California Indians can proudly participate in the Native American Day festivities to come.

Thank you for your time, and Happy Native American Day!

John Gomez Jr.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hunter Descendent Mark Lucero on Pechanga's Moratorium and Finding his Way

Brian Frank has video of Paulina Hunter ancestor Mark Lucero's story. Pechanga is keeping many rightful members out of the tribe and as many know have used their own form of ethnic cleansing to purge their rolls.

See the video HERE

Brian Frank: California's Tribal Cleansing

Brian is working on a PBS project on Tribal Cleansing in California. Ethnic cleansing the Pechanga way in the story below and at this LINK

As California Tribes Continue To Purge Members, Dissidents Struggle To Get An Audience
by Brian Frank

TEMECULA, Calif. — John Gomez Jr. occasionally reads to his sons in Luiseño, a language native to Southern California but now virtually extinct. One of his relatives, who was a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians here about 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles, helped to compile a book of stories intended to preserve the vocabulary, if not the grammar and syntax.

Gomez's sons proudly wear their long brown hair free, letting it spill over their shoulders in the manner of their ancestors. Gomez wants them to grow up hearing these creation stories, tied forever to natural landmarks around Temecula even if much of the land has been covered with strip malls and gas stations. Gomez tells them about Toad, who inadvertently brought death into the world, and about other prominent figures from the creation stories. And he tells them who they were named after: the name of one of his sons translates to King of the Coyotes.

But for all his knowledge about their cultural heritage, Gomez has difficulty explaining to his boys why they cannot attend the tribal school set up specifically to teach it to them. In 2004, the Pechanga Band kicked out Gomez and much of his extended family—some 130 adults total, along with their children—stripping them of their citizenship in the tribe.


Friday, September 18, 2009

San Jacinto City Council OPPOSES Soboba Expansion

The San Jacinto City Council unanimously approved a resolution tonight opposing the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians' proposal to add almost 535 acres of land to the reservation adjacent to the city for a hotel-casino project.

Four council members previously said they opposed the project proposed near residential neighborhoods. But at tonight's meeting, for the first time, Councilman Steve Di Memmo sided with his colleagues. Previously, he said he needed more time to study the issue.

CA Senators OPPOSE granting Non Reservation land for Casinos

Five U.S. senators, including Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California, are calling for more scrutiny of granting Indian tribes non-reservation land that could be turned into gaming sites.

That would include the proposal to build a mega-casino on Point Molate in Richmond, where a former Navy site would be granted to the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians.

The senators, a group that also includes John Kyl of Arizona and Harry Reid and John Ensign of Nevada, sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that called transferring lands for gaming “an abuse of the land into trust process" that "violates the spirit of the (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act).”

The letter says casinos are springing up on land that could be used for schools or housing without taking into consideration the needs and concerns of local communities.

In the case of the Point Molate proposal, the tribe, which is part of the Guidiville Rancheria Tribe, does not have a reservation and can request to have land deeded as such by the federal government.

To make the casino happen, the land will be transferred from the city of Richmond to the developers to the federal government, which will put it in trust for the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians. That means the tribe has control of the land, but the federal government would own it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Temecula Chief Pablo Apish's Newest Descendent Arrives!

John Gomez Jr, friend and contributor to Original Pechanga's Blog and his wife Jennifer are proud to announce that Gabriella Casilda Yawaywish is in the house. She checked in at 8:08 this morning and is 7lbs 6oz and 19 inches long

Gabriella is a 7th Generation descendant of Temecula Chief Pablo Apish. Named after Pablo's wife, Casilda, who was one of the tribal members evicted from the Temecula Indian Village in 1875. Vaunted elder Antonio Ashman has told the story of the eviction.

Congratulations to Jennifer and John for the new child of Pechanga.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Harvard Professor Says Cherokee Freedmen issue is a MORAL one

Interesting that Professor Ogletree was limited to not discussing the case, or even inviting some of the plaintiffs in the case to give their remarks. Reportedly, Chad Smith could show a video and give both legal and political arguments.

How one-sidedly staged can one event be?

Whether descendants of former slaves once owned by Cherokee Indians have citizenship rights in the tribe is a moral issue.

Professor Charles Ogletree Jr. and Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith discussed the freedmen issue Thursday at the Federal Bar Association's Annual Meeting and Convention in Oklahoma City.

Cherokee voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in March 2007 that would remove about 2,800 freedmen from the tribe's rolls. That eliminated their eligibility for medical and other tribal services.Smith says tribal members have a sovereign right to determine eligibility for citizenship in the tribe.

But Ogletree says everyone loses when groups narrowly define citizenship. He says defining citizenship by blood ancestry may not be the best way.

Norman attorney Jon Velie said freedmen were entitled to Cherokee citizenship under the 1866 treaty.

“As a matter of law, the freedmen are citizens,” he said.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Snoqualmie Tribe: Ineptitude, Dissolution and Terminations Abound

The Snoqualmie Tribe is in the press looking stupid and ineffective again. The Worthless BIA is going to get involved! Doesn't that just give you the warm fuzzies?

Locks and heavy chains sealed the administrative offices of the Snoquamie Tribe, and the tribe’s retail store, Paddle, in downtown Snoqualmie last week after a dispute between rival halves of the tribal council paralyzed the tribe’s government.

Tribal Administrator Matt Mattson told the Record that he ordered the offices closed Monday, Aug. 30, three days after the elders of the tribe called for the tribal council to be dissolved and new elections held. Mattson said he was receiving conflicting resolutions from competing quorums of the council, and made the decision after consulting legal counsel for the tribe and the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. The nine-member council includes alternates that allow it to form multiple quorums, or majority votes.

Tribal services continue to function, and Snoqualmie Casino remains open. SHUT IT DOWN

See the rest of the story HERE and more HERE

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mooretown Rancheria Disenrollments = Chairwoman Darlene Cummings SHAME


Here is a letter for a terminated member of the Mooretown Rancheria to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She describes her history and what happened. This is an excellent example of how the individual Indian has to fight back. One letter, one fax, one phone call at a time.

Thank you, Lois, for standing up for you family and the history of Mooretown, when tribal leaders try to destroy its history, along with its reputation.

Lois Edwards Letter

PLEASE help support those like Lois Edwards by sharing her story with your friends and by sending this URL: http://originalpechanga.blogspot.com to them so they can do the same.

The Mooretown Rancheria Disenrollments = Disowning Families and Revising History

Mooretown Rancheria members are fighting to be recognized as lineal descendants, entitling each of them to thousands of dollars in revenue from Feather Falls Casino.

More than a year ago, the tribal council reclassified 40 members as non-lineal after a genealogical survey by a hired anthropologist found that they were the relatives of Ina Jackson and her first husband, Frank Martin.

After Martin died, she remarried Robert Jackson and they had children, whose descendants are classified as non-lineal members.

Non-lineal members are still eligible for housing, medical care and education, said tribal council member Susan Tiesing.

The decision to reclassify the members was to protect the integrity of the constitution, Tiesing said.

The constitution identifies Robert Jackson, Katie Archuleta and Fred Taylor as distributees of Mooretown Rancheria, Tiesing said. Ina Jackson is listed as "wife," which is part of the conflict.

There are 153 adult lineal members of the tribe and 646 adult non-lineal members, according to a Mooretown Rancheria press release.

Saturday afternoon, Jon Velie, an attorney from Norman, Okla., representing the reclassified members, gave a presentation updating around 70 American Indians and supporters about the status of the battle to regain lineal classification for the 40 members.

"Mooretown is not a kingdom, it is a democracy," Velie said. "This puts the tribe and casino in a position of odds with members."

Velie said he is working with the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to classify Jackson's descendants as lineal.

Velie said the report from the anthropologist hired by the tribal council doesn't fulfill its goals, omits evidence and imposes modern feminist views on a couple living in the 1950s.

"(The anthropologist) tries to portray (Ina) Jackson as only marginally involved," he said. "(Robert and Ina) acted as a unit. They shared what they had."

Debbie Olney, a reclassified descendent of Ina Jackson, said the change in the constitution sets a dangerous precedent.

"It's not just us," she said. "It's going to go with the next family."

Lineal members received around $40,000 from the rancheria in 2004, Olney said.

The government needs to regulate American Indian affairs because the tribal council runs the casino, leaving room for corruption, she said.

"They are saying Ina is just a wife, and that's crazy," Olney said.

Archuleta descendent Darlene Cummings was the tribal chairwoman who helped reorganize the tribe and draft the constitution. The biggest problem with the council is that it doesn't keep all the Mooretown Rancheria members involved and informed.

"It just seems like it's family against family," she said. "There's so much politics and greed."

Tiesing said the tribal council has hired legal counsel to respond to the reclassified members' complaint.

The anthropologist hired to do the genealogical survey is an expert in American Indians and is highly recognized and respected.

Tiesing said the children Jackson had with Martin never grew up or lived in the Feather Falls area, and don't have any ties with the descendants from her first marriage.

"We are trying to remain peaceful through this," she said. "I know it's an emotional issue. It's difficult for us to understand."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

BIA Superintendant James Fletcher to Resign; Career marked by Tribal Disenrollments

Sources report that James Fletcher, Superintendant of the BIA's Riverside office will be leaving. Reportedly he will take a job with Pechanga, which makes one wonder: hmmmmm. WHY?

Fletcher's term has been tarnished by disenrollments at Pechanga, of two large families, denying them their civil rights. Similarly, the San Pasqual tribe terminated Indians. Also, the Duroville waste dump festered for YEARS before he got involved.

Might a more effective person be better?