Sunday, November 29, 2009
A Facebook Group to draft Stacy Leeds for Cherokee Nation Chief has sprung up. Many believe it's time to relieve Chad "Our Slaves Were Treated Well" Smith. Join in the group to show Stacy that she is needed.
Just who is Stacy Leeds?
Stacy Leeds serves as Professor of Law at the University of Kansas School of Law and directs KU’s Tribal Law and Government Center. She also serves as adjunct faculty for the School of Business at Haskell Indian Nations University.
She has published numerous law reviews, book chapters and essays. Her forthcoming book American Indian Property will be published by Carolina Academic Press later this year.
Leeds has served on several tribal courts including: Prairie Band Potawatomi District Court, Supreme Court for the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, Kaw Nation Supreme Court, Cherokee Nation Supreme Court, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Court of Appeals, and a Special Judge for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation District Court.
Our friend JOHN CORNSILK says:
Stacy is the Leader we Cherokee People need, because of her commitment to the Cherokee and their law. To learn this is so, one simply needs to read her rulings and opinions while sitting as judge on the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) Supreme Court, three in particular, first the Lucy Allen Freedmen case at http://www.cornsilks.com/allendecision.html and the case of the forcing up on the Cherokee people the 99 revised Constitution of the CNO at http://www.cornsilks.com/99con.pdf and the third case of the Court appointed by Smith, actually sanctioning crime http://www.cornsilks.com/leedsdissent.pdf don't be discourage by legal aspect of the documents they are simply written and quite easy to understand. WE NEED STACY AS CHIEF IN 2011!!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Here's some from Chairman Ramos' article:
Most Americans probably have heard of Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Sacajawea, Squanto and Pocahontas. Getting past what may be the stereotypical image of Native Americans, however, there are many others who have made, and continue to make, lasting contributions to Indian Country and the nation as a whole in every conceivable way.
For example, Ira Hayes, an Akimel O'odham Indian and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community, who was one of five brave Marines immortalized in the famous photograph of the Iwo Jima flag-raising during World War II. Young Navajo, Hopi, Comanche and members of other Indian tribes who served as Code Talkers during World War II contributed by using their tribal languages to transmit messages - a code that was never broken by the enemy.
In athletics, Billy Mills, an Oglala Lakota Sioux, won Olympic gold in 1964 in the 10,000 meter run, breaking the American record set by another Native American, Louis Tewanima (Hopi), at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Tewanima was a teammate of Jim Thorpe. Mills remains the only American in history to win that event. Other Native Americans including Notah Begay III, the only full-blooded American Indian PGA tour player in history, and Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsberry, a member of California's Colorado River Indian Tribes and first-ever Navajo in Major League Baseball history. Earlier this month, Joba Chamberlain, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Nebraska, helped the New York Yankees win the World Series as a starting pitcher. These young Native Americans thrill crowds throughout the U.S. with their incredible skills.
In government, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Northern Cheyenne tribal member and captain of the 1964 Olympic Judo Team, was the first Native American ever to serve in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Nighthorse Campbell is also the only Olympian to ever serve in the U.S. Senate, where he represented Colorado from 1993 - 2005. Larry EchoHawk, a Pawnee, represents Indian interests throughout the U.S. as the new head of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009
They used Indian vs. Indian... The first Temecula Massacre in 1847 :
Thirty to 125 Luiseno Indians are killed at the east end of Pauba Valley, south of Adobe Springs (Los Nogales Road and Camino del Vino), by Lugo's troops and his Cahuilla Indian allies in what will come to be called the Temecula Massacre.
1847 Jan. 25
The Mormon Battalion,commanded by Captain Philip St. George Cooke, arrives in the Temecula Valley on its trek from Santa Fe to San Diego. It meets a party of 150 armed Luiseno Indians who have come to bury the victims of the Temecula Massacre.
1847 Jan. 26
The Luiseno dead are buried in a local burial ground located on Pablo Apis's rancho, near Temecula Creek
The tribe is evicted and moved 1875:
The Temecula Indians are evicted from Little Temecula Rancho land by a San Diego County Sheriff's posse which includes Juan Murrieta and Francisco Zanjuro. The Indians are led to an area in the hills south of the Temecula River, east of the Pala Road, which would eventually become the Pechanga Indian Reservation. (Actually, it's for the Temecula Band of Luiseno Indian)
In 1882, things are looking up for Temecula Indians:
President Chester A. Arthur signs an Executive Order creating a 4,000-acre Pechanga Indian Reservation as a home for the Luiseno Indians of Temecula. Paulina Hunter receives an alottment of 20 acres as head of household. Vaunted Pechanga elder Antonio Ashman remembers her and her family, and swears to that fact under oath.
The tribe lives in peace for decades, working together, Hunter Family members build on their property, help bring in a health clinic, work on the council, the water board. Masiel Family on the other hand, start building... RAP SHEETS. And then, the casino opens and things change dramatically:
Here's a history of how the Pechanga Casino has brought corruption to a head:
1. In December 2001, Yolanda McCarter (niece of Irene Scearce and Ruth Masiel) submitted a letter to Enrollment Committee demanding the Committee research several families including ours. The request stated that "this (be) straightened up before the next election in July."
2. In June 2002, Enrollment Committee Chairperson Mary Magee, sister of Gloria Wright, is removed from the Committee for divulging confidential information. A petition is justified to amend the Disenrollment Procedures. A vote to approve or deny the petition is set for July 2002.
(Petition is not brought forth until February 2003.)
The newly built Pechanga Resort and Casino is opened. This is a permanent structure which replaced the original Casino structures which were in modular and sprung structure.
In October 2002, 2 new members are elected to Enrollment Committee to bring membership up to required 10 members. (A member retired from Committee in September 2002). Olivia Walls is elected Committee Chair, and we request an audit of Enrollment Committee activities for the previous years and advice from our legal counsel at California Indian Legal Services on how to address wrong-doings by Committee and Committee members. Our legal counsel is told by John Macarro (shorter, younger brother of Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro) not to take any action to assist the Committee or answer our questions regarding the wrong-doings.
3. November 12, 2002, members of the Enrollment Committee, acting without a quorum and outside the Committee's procedures, serve several other Committee members with disenrollment summonses. The Committee members who took the action were- Irene Scearce, Ruth Masiel, Frances Miranda, Margaret Duncan, and Bobbi Lamere. Those served include John Gomez, Theresa Spears, Olivia Walls, and Sandra Garbani.
4. On December 10, 2002, Concerned Pechanga People submit documents to the Enrollment Committee questioning the lineal descent of several families including the Manuela Miranda descendents, Paulina Hunter descendents, and Garbani descendents. This action was taken a month after the above action. The Concerned Pechanga people are immediate family and friends of Committee members who initiated the November 12, 2002 action. (See list of Pechanga Enrollment Committee members, Splinter Group and Concerned Pechanga people).
5. Between December 10, 2002 and February 23, 2003, Concerned Pechanga people make visits to Enrollment Committee and send out flyers to Tribal members urging disenrollment actions be taken against the 3 families they have targeted. The Enrollment Committee does not move forward due to a split as to how to proceed and what constitutes "factual" information related to enrollment.
6. The Concerned Pechanga people move to have Pechanga Development Corporation Elections post-poned until disenrollment occurs. After the PDC elections have been put off for over a month, elections are finally held and Jennie Miranda is voted out of office. She is replaced by a member of the Hunter family. She and members of her family make statements about getting revenge on the Hunters and Manuela people.
7. February 18, 2003, members of the Enrollment Committee, acting without a quorum and outside the Committee's procedures serve several other Committee members with disenrollment summonses. The Committee members who took the action were- Irene Scearce, Ruth Masiel, Frances Miranda, Margaret Duncan, and Bobbi Lamere. Those served include John Gomez, Theresa Spears, Olivia Walls, and Sandra Garbani.
8. From February 24, 2003 to March 18, 2003 Committee is locked out while the Tribal Council reviews actions and concerns of Enrollment Committee Chair.
9. March 7, 2003 letter from Tribal Council nullifying the February 18, 2003 action taken by Committee members to initiate the disenrollment process against several other Enrollment Committee members. Enrollment Committee members removed from committee and Enrollment Committee reconstituted.
10. March 18, 2003, Enrollment Committee now consisting of Bobbi Lamere, Margaret Duncan, and Lori Vasquez reconvene. Committee drafts letters of rescission and send to Committee members who were targeted by February 18, 2003 action.
11. Between March 18, 2003 and June 1, 2003, Concerned Pechanga people meet with the Enrollment Committee to provide additional information against the 3 families targeted and to push the Leyva/Basquez review before the review of any other family. The information questioning the Leyva/Basquez family (which includes Jennie Miranda, Irene Scearce, and Ruth Masiel) was received well after the information questioning the Manuela descendents and the other families. Procedurally, the Manuela descendents and other families should have been reviewed prior to the Leyva/Basquez family and/or the Candelaria Flores review. However, the Enrollment Committee consisted of members- Bobbi Lamere and Margaret Duncan- who acted with and for the Concerned Pechanga people. Even though the Manuela descendents provided information to the Enrollment Committee as early as December 17, 2003 refuting the allegations made by the Concerned Pechanga people, those working with, for, or were/are a part of the Concerned Pechanga people were pushed ahead of us in the review process. This was done to stack the Committee and guarantee our disenrollment.
12. On or about June 1, 2003, the Garbani and Leyva/Basquez families were cleared. Ruth Masiel, Irene Scearce, and Sandra Garbani returned to the Enrollment Committee.
13. Between June 1, 2003 and September 23, 2003, the Manuela descendents provided the Enrollment Committee with additional documents proving lineal descent and refuting the allegations made by the Concerned Pechanga.
14. On September 23, 2003, the Enrollment Committee clears the Candelaria Flores family. Frances Miranda returns to the Committee as a result of this decision. We were once again passed over for review so that a member working with, for, or is/was a part of the Concerned Pechanga people could be put back on the Committee. Frances Miranda's father, Richard Miranda, was a member of our family. The years before he passed away, she was receiving his per capita check as she was "taking care of him". Once he passed away and she was no longer receiving 2 per capita checks, the Splinter Group initiated their disenrollment action against the targeted families.
15. On October 21, 2003, Jennie Miranda provides the Enrollment Committee with a letter regarding the lineage of Pablo Apish. Demands that the Manuela descendents be disenrolled. On October 23, 2003, the Enrollment Committee sends summonses to all adult members who are lineally descended from Manuela Miranda.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
California Politicians Benefit From $200 Million Stolen From Pechanga Tribal Members Eradicated by Mark Macarro and Tribal Council
According to this article, Politicians are the beneficiaries, with over $44,000,000 last year. THANK YOU POLITICIANS for not standing up for those who are victims of gross civil rights violations. It's easy to ignore when you get the money that rightfully should go to tribal members.
A handful of wealthy California gaming tribes - which together gave nearly $130 million to political causes in 2008 - rank as the nation's largest special-interest donors to campaigns, according to a study released Monday.
Four of the state's Indian gaming interests made the top 10 list of donors, which also included public employee unions and business groups, according to the report by the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, two of the nation's leading watchdog groups.
The study underscores the power of California's tribal gaming industry - particularly its successful campaign in February 2008 to approve ballot measures that allowed four tribes to install 17,000 new slot machines. OP: What is not said here is that tribes like PECHANGA tried to keep the citizens of California from voting on it.
Political experts said the tribes are likely to flex their political muscle in next year's statewide election, when voters will choose a governor and decide measures to reform state government. The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians of Temecula donated $44 million to campaigns last year, most of them at the state level, putting it at No. 2 on the national list of largest political donors behind the National Education Association.
It shows that we are being noticed in the blogging world and thanks to all our readers for your continued support.
We do get recognition from our friends at HOT AIR where we participate in the daily blog show. Please share our site with your friends and please, take a look at the blog links above. It's all about shameless blog promotion!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Aftermath of a Pechanga Beating: One Year Later, Victim of Abuse From Pechanga Security Guards Still Suffers
"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."
We contacted Richard's wife to see how they were doing and her reply:
Yes it has been over a year. A year of hell to be exact. Richard suffered from concussion from the incident, which left him with frontal lobe disorder. The Psychoneuroligst said this kind of injury can lead to Alzheimer disease.
I have been stressed to the max and am seeing a shrink, taking zolof and on and on it goes. The stress went to my mouth and have had very bad problems with bleeding gums and sores. Is painful and irritating.
See the link above or click on the picture on the left to read the story with additional links. We hope the next year brings better health to the Swan family. Is it safer to NOT GO to Pechanga?
Friday, November 20, 2009
El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Patrick Riley has ruled that the Shingle Springs band waived its sovereign immunity when the tribe entered into contracts and a loan with Sharp Image to provide slot machines for the tribe’s casino.
Red Hawk Casino is on the Shingle Springs Rancheria.
Tribes should be held liable for not living up to their contracts. Each crack in this dam will mean that it will bust. When tribes like Redding Rancheria, Picayune and Pechanga wield sovereignty like a club, it hurts other tribes.
Recession/Bad Publicity Hurting CA Tribal Casinos like Pechanga, Which Cheated Their Tribal Members.
The recession is hitting CA tribal casinos, with 2008 win well below 2007 and 2009 looking even worse.
The LA TIMES has a story up.
"We have the same amount of people and they come in as frequently, but they are just spending less," said Mike Hiles, a tribal information officer for the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, which operates a casino with 2,000 slot machines, 20 gaming tables and two restaurants in San Jacinto."
Violence at the Soboba Reservation could be keeping the bigger money players away too. Who wants to run the risk of being shot while at the casino? Now, learning that the tribal chair is an "alleged" tax cheat.....
After years of growth, the first major layoff at a California Indian casino came in August 2008 when the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula laid off 368 workers. Three months later, the Morongo Casino laid off 95 people because of the slumping economy. Despite an agreement negotiated with the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would allow California's tribes to operate 62,000 slot machines, the tribal casinos currently operate 58,000 machines.
Pechanga is the tribe that has treated their own people terribly, forcing many back into poverty and onto state health care and welfare rolls. They terminated 25% of their tribe so that those remaining could increase their take from gambling profits. Pechanga's workforce is down almost 800 from their high point. Customers may be responding to the bad publicity, if Pechanga would cheat their own, maybe they'd cheat customers too. Additionally, car jacking at the casino and thuggish behavior from tribal members would also play a part. Their nightclub Silk was closed due to alcohol related problems and tribal thugs. It's better to go to a different casino where there's no threat to safety.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Will this make the Riverside Press Enterprise? Will the tribe strip Masiel of his $360,000 per year per capita? Will California be able to place a lien on that money to pay for his incarceration? Will he be disenrolled for actions hurting the Pechanga Tribe?
A Pechanga tribal member and parolee who fired into a group in anger over an unpaid debt pleaded guilty today to assault with a semiautomatic firearm and other felonies and was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison.
Robert Martin Masiel, who lives on the Soboba Indian Reservation, also pleaded guilty to four counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and one count each of possession of controlled substances and attempting to smuggle crystal methamphetamine into a correctional facility.
He also admitted violating parole.
The last two counts were connected to older cases that Masiel had pending.
”It’s wonderful that he was willing to take responsibility,” said Deputy District Attorney Edward Jensen, who added that ”16 years and four months is a long time.”
See the SWRNN ARTICLE
The Oklahoma Cherokee Nation to Support CA Rep. Dianne Watson's Opponent after her support of the Cherokee Freedmen's Civil Rights
The Cherokee Nation is supporting the primary opponent of a California congresswoman who has been at odds with the tribe over its stance on the descendants of freedmen.
The tribe’s Executive Finance Subcommittee voted Tuesday night to send a $2,400 campaign donation to Democrat Felton Newell and a $5,000 donation to a political action committee called New Leadership PAC for Newell. Newell is challenging Rep. Dianne Watson in the Democratic primary for California’s 33rd Congressional District, set for June 8.
During the meeting, the subcommittee also voted to send campaign contributions to other politicians and political action committees.
Watson has been the tribe’s most vocal critic after tribal voters approved a measure in 2007 that limited tribal membership to those who had ancestors with a blood quantum on the Dawes Rolls.
At least two court cases on the issue, one brought by a freedmen descendant and the other brought by the Cherokee Nation against freedmen descendants who had their membership approved after a court decision, are still pending.
More on the Cherokee Freedmen HERE
From the FT.com
A looming default by the Native American tribe that owns the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut is stirring a debate over whether holders of billions of dollars of tribal debt can pursue their claims as creditors under US laws.
Federally recognised tribes operate as sovereign nations, and hundreds of them have turned to gaming for revenue, financing casino projects with debt including more than $5bn in high-yield bonds, according to Barclays Capital.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns Foxwoods, warned this week that it probably would not make a full interest payment on $500m of notes, which would result in a default on December 16, when a grace period ends.
Smaller tribal casinos have defaulted, but the size of the Foxwoods debt has drawn attention. Analysts are asking whether the tribe will use its special status to take an aggressive stance in dealing with creditors, a development that could affect tribes' access to credit.
"The Mashantucket situation could set a precedent," Moody's Investors Service said. "With casinos such as Foxwoods located on sovereign tribal land potentially out of reach of US bankruptcy law, it remains unclear whether creditors could enforce their rights."
Steven Smith, an attorney at the Dechert law firm, said: "An argument can be made that the tribe is a governmental unit, which could, if determined to be true, bar it from seeking relief under Chapter 11 altogether."
Monday, November 16, 2009
Letter To Eric Holder Asking Department of Justice to Investigate Gross Civil Rights Violations in California Indian Country
The Honorable Eric Holder
United States Attorney General
Department of Justice Building
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Attorney General Holder:
I respectfully submit this letter urging the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to commence a full-scale investigation into the gross civil and human rights violations which have infected California Indian Country
Throughout California Indian Country, tribal officials have taken actions which have denied and/or stripped thousands of California Indians of their membership status and denied them access to federal benefits and programs in the areas of housing, education, health, voting and public works assistance. In some instances, the illegal actions occurred decades ago, however, there has been a marked increase since Indian Gaming was approved and later expanded in California.
Tribal leaders justify their right to systematically deny civil rights and expel their citizens under the guise of tribal sovereignty. Tribal leaders have routinely committed acts to deny Indian individuals due process; equal protection of tribal, state, and federal laws; property interest rights; and voting rights. Theses actions have been carried out in gross violation of laws enacted to guarantee and protect the rights of the individual Indian.
We can no longer allow those who oppose upholding the civil and voting rights of thousands of California Indians to claim that this is a sovereignty issue that rests solely within the domain of tribal courts and tribal law. Few California Tribes actually have tribal courts. Therefore, in most cases, the tribal government officials responsible for the violations of law are the very same people who pass judgment as to whether or not laws have been violated - they are the judge and jury all rolled into one.
The United States has a trust responsibility to the thousands of California Indians whose civil and voting rights have been infringed upon. And, in recognition of the special status of California Indians, Congress passed California Enrollment Act of 1928 in which certain rights were guaranteed to California Indians and their lineal descendents. 25 U.S.C. § 651.
Unfortunately, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has failed to exercise this responsibility and has allowed tribal leaders to continue to commit violations unabated. Therefore, I believe that the DOJ has the legal and moral responsibility to investigate and prosecute such violations of basic rights.
I therefore urge you to direct the DOJ Civil Rights Division to initiate an investigation into the gross rights violations described above. In addition, I trust that any investigation would not be short-circuited by those who would claim tribal sovereignty as a justification for inaction.
If the person implicated for criminal acts while serving as tribal officials are actually found guilty of racketeering or embezzlement while they were tribal officials, their is no tribal sovereign immunity for those crimes.
If the dis-enrollments and moratorium can be directly tied to racketeering by criminals who have a strangle-hold on the tribal government, then federal intervention may be warranted for both the dis-enrollments and the moratorium? Don't know for sure, but it looks like racketeering, embezzlement, and fraud should be investigated.
It would mean that every official act made by suspect government oficials was also suspect, including state gambling compacts, dis-enrollments and the moratorium, land into trust, BIA contracts, etc.
OP: It would seem like the Justice Department would take an interest in a tribal council that manipulates an enrollment committee to secure the outcome they desire: Getting families disenrolled to increase their own per capita payments. This is theft of government funds.
1. Refusing to follow the Tribal Constitution so that open enrollment doesn't allow in rightful members.
2. Refusing to follow the will of the people by stopping all disenrollments which was voted on after a petition was declared valid.
3. Allowing the enrollment committee to admit the family members of Bobbi LeMere to secure her vote against the Hunter family. This would be "against" the "valid" moratorium. Why were LeMere's family allowed in?
What's YOUR opinion?
Saturday, November 14, 2009
A judge today raised bail to $3 million for a 43-year-old Pechanga tribal member who did not show up in time for a hearing in his attempted murder case.
Robert Martin Masiel, who lives on the Soboba Indian Reservation, had been out on $1 million bail and was due to appear in court today for a felony settlement conference.
At his last hearing on Oct. 30, his lawyer indicated there could be a plea agreement in the offing and the matter was held over until today, according to court records.
This afternoon, a new private attorney, Michael Mack, and Masiel's other lawyer, Karen Lockhart, indicated that Masiel was "incapacitated" and thus could not appear, according to the posted court record of what transpired.
Riverside Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer ordered the defendant's bond forfeited and issued a failure-to-appear warrant. About an hour later, the judge quashed the bench warrant but kept bail at $3 million. He also set a hearing for Tuesday.
Masiel allegedly fired two shots into a group of four people -- one of whom was 14 years old -- in San Jacinto on Sept. 30, 2008.
According to sheriff's Detective Steven Fredericks, Masiel was angry over a debt owed him by one of the men.
Rudy Saucedo told investigators he owed Masiel $200 from two years before. But when Masiel asked for the money that day, he told the defendant he had just been released from county jail and would not have the money for a couple of months, according to court papers.
The shooting occurred in the backyard of the home of another man, whose property the group was helping to clean.
Masiel allegedly said, "This is for the money you owe me," then fired two shots in the direction of the group.
OP: $350,000 earner Masiel worried about $200 he was owed. It was the principle of the matter? Of course, he thinks nothing of taken money stolen from honorable tribal members his family ensured were eradicated from the Pechanga Tribe.
AND HUGE SURPRISE... The Press Enterprise didn't report that an "alleged" attempted murderer didn't appear in court!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
WHY would they want to change the bylaws when they don't FOLLOW them anyway? The Pechanga Tribal Constitution says OPEN enrollment in January. They haven't done that in a DECADE. Why would they CONSIDER putting Gloria Wright on the committee when her sister was removed for violating confidentiality laws?
And a discussion of the "INCIDENT" at the Pechanga school. Remember the last incident, where Hunter children were forcibly removed while tribal rangers stood by?
Will OTHER BUSINESS include a re-opening of some issues about NON-Pechanga blood members? Stay tuned.
Agenda Gen Mem November 15 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
On this Veteran’s Day, I want to remember my father, Felipe Cuevas, born July 13, 1928. He was the son of Phillip and Olive Cuevas. Olive was the daughter of Mary Ann Miller, who, in turn, was the daughter of Paulina Hunter of Pechanga. Paulina was the matriarch of the Hunter Clan who was given her 20 acres of land on the Pechanga Reservation as the head of the Family.
My father grew up in Los Angeles, a graduate of Roosevelt High School and the oldest of five children, all of whom served in our military. He entered the U.S. Army in 1948 and served in many capacities, primarily as a drill instructor. He was stationed in Germany, where his wife Alice bore a son, as well as Korea, Ft. Ord, CA, Ft. Lewis, WA where I was born, and Ft. Benning, GA. At all of these posts he trained young men to serve our country. He served two tours in Vietnam, once an advisor with a South Vietnamese Army Battalion, both tours were near the end of his career.
He always taught us about our family roots at Pechanga, having helped to build the cabin on Hunter Lane in 1957 with his cousins and uncles. My first time on the reservation was when he served his first tour in Vietnam in 1966. My Aunt Tillie and Uncle Bars took my brother and me to spend time at the cabin. That was when you could still hunt on the rez, for rabbit and dove. He was proud to be Pechanga and he was happy that family members were able to bring us to the reservation while he was in Southeast Asia.
As it is Veteran’s Day, I’m proud to write about one of his achievements. This Pechanga warrior was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device (valor). Since my scanner is down, I’ll re-type the citation here, but will have a copy linked as soon as I can, so there can be no "Rathergate" claims. Here's what the citation says:
Date action: 3 July 1967
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force: Sergeant First Class Cuevas distinguished himself by heroic action on 3 July 1967 while serving as Light Weapons Infantry Advisor to the 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. On that date, the Viet Cong opened fire on the battalion headquarters compound with machinegun, small arms and 82mm mortar fire. Eight Vietnamese soldiers and dependents were seriously wounded during the initial phase of the attack and an aerial evacuation was requested. Sergeant Cuevas voluntarily proceeded to the helicopter landing area. Sergeant Cuevas remained in the exposed area assisting in sorting the wounded and determining priority for evacuation. Only when all wounded personnel were safely aboard an aircraft and airborne did Sergeant Cuevas return to a safe position. As result of Sergeant Cuevas’s prompt and courageous efforts, the rapid and efficient evacuation of all wounded was accomplished. Sergeant First Class Cuevas’ heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.
NEIL N. SNYDER, JR.
My father was also awarded the Bronze Star. You don’t “win” these by the way. But he was proud of his service, proud that he was able to make young men ready to defend themselves and our country. He served 23 years in the Army.
Sadly, he was never able to enjoy the largesse that came with the successful opening of the Pechanga Resort and Casino, which brought much needed funds to the reservation and our people. Conversely, he also was never able to feel the sting of seeing his birthright ripped from his family, which now includes five grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren by a "disenrollment" committee that included: Ruth Masiel, Ihrene Scearce, Frances Miranda and Bobbi LeMere. Pechanga proudly displays his name as a Pechanga Veteran on their website, along with his brother and sisters, yet now, they also say, HE IS NOT PECHANGA. On July 13, 2006, on what would have been his 78th birthday, the Pechanga Tribal Council heard our family’s appeal of our unconstitutional disenrollment and later did not allow our appeal. Much of that story is written here on this blog.
My father always encouraged my brother and me to do our best, to do what is right and THAT is why we continue to fight for our rights and against the evil that has been done to our family.
Dad, thank you for all that you gave to your family and to your country. I am proud to be your son. It is shameful that Pechanga doesn't reward your memory by following the rule of law and the will of the people.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Is Pechanga’s Rationing of Tribal Healthcare A Harbinger of Pelosicare? Was Pechanga's Disenrollment Committee The Tribes "Death Squad'?
At the end of September, Mark Trahant wrote an article on taxing The logic of Tribal Health care. He mixes the Indian Health Service care which is rationed vs some tribes Health Care.
Trahant: The Indian health system’s funding is so low that many patients are counted as part of the uninsured population in government data. OP: Doesn’t that make us all feel more comfortable about Pelosi’s government option?
The Senate Finance Committee’s health reform concept paper put it this way: “The IHS itself has stated that its funding does not allow it to provide all the needed care for eligible Indians. As a result, some services are ‘rationed,’ with the most critical care given first. … The reality of this under-funding is that money for contract health services does not last the entire year, forcing IHS to limit services to circumstances involving a ‘loss of life or limb’ circumstance. This predicament is so common in Indian Country that many tribal members fear that if they need care after June, they will be forced to go without.”
Many tribes have stepped up and contributed their own money to improve health care in Indian country. This ranges from paying extraordinary medical bills for tribal members to purchasing health insurance. OP: This is NOT designed to improve health care in Indian country. It’s to take care of their own tribal members and dependents. The effect on improving health care is secondary and incidental
Trahant: Hurrah. But this is where this story takes a strange twist: The government’s response to those innovative approaches is to treat this generosity as a taxable event. The IRS wants 1099 forms sent to individual members. (Perhaps a tax bill should be sent to the U.S. government instead.) OP: The tribes that are doing this are primarily gaming tribes who are rolling in cash. Pechanga currently pays its members $30,000 per month. Health coverage is in ADDITION to that. They are able to do this because they have eliminated or “rationed” 25% of their tribal members and are keeping hundreds out of the tribe.
The Pechanga Tribe Band of Luiseño Indians in California studied its heath care needs for two years, and then enacted a mandatory group coverage policy for tribal members. “This has led to measurable improvement in the physical health of our tribe. Earlier this year, we opened a new exercise facility that contributes to and facilitates the health and wellness of our tribal citizens,” testified Mark Macarro, the band’s chairman, before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Sept. 18.
However, the IRS asked the tribe to demonstrate how the program was “need” based – or it would consider these taxable benefits. OP: Hunters were involved in the development of health insurance for Pechanga members AND were responsible for a health clinic being built on the reservation, NOW they don't qualify for either. There was a need for coverage for the 230 tribal members and another 250 dependents that were terminated! Factors in the tribe felt that others shouldn’t receive their rightful benefits.
“It appears to us that the IRS is interpreting ‘need’ as meaning only ‘financial’ need,” Macarro said. “From our perspective, this makes absolutely no sense. The Pechanga government has stepped in where the federal government has fallen short for our people. … Pechanga has decided not to wait on the federal government to fulfill its trust obligation to our people.” The basic issue is how the IRS interprets its “general welfare” exclusion. Sarah Ingram, the IRS commissioner for Tax Exempt and Government Entities, said there is a difference in the law between those who work for tribes as employers and tribal members. “Where there is no employer involved, the (tax) Code contains no provision that would allow a tribal member who is not a tribal employee to exclude the value of tribally-provided health care coverage.”
OP: There is NO financial need for the tribe to pay for members health care. Not with the $360,000 they are making now that the have cut blood members and relatives from the tribe.
Trahant: There are two ways to fix this mess. Congress could clarify the law (the route the IRS would prefer). Or a “revenue ruling” could easily fix this problem administratively, testified Scott Taylor, a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He cited other examples of such a governmental exclusion, including the Veterans Administration and Medicare. Taylor is an expert and was a professor-in-residence with the IRS.
Those who decry the under-funding of Indian health could come up with real appropriations and make the system whole.
OP: Exactly. Gaming tribes should be able to pay for health care for tribal members, said members can pay taxes on that health care to their dependents. Tribes who follow their tribal law should be held up as good examples, tribes like Pechanga which don’t should be handled separately, like a true sovereign nation. Don't lump the rich tribes in with the poor. And remember, Pechanga, via their unlawful moratorium and disenrollments, have foisted the health coverage of many onto the states, and they've created MORE poor people.
Friday, November 6, 2009
We have a couple of commenters who bemoan the fact that there aren't many stories or comments on the unconstitutional Pechanga Tribe of Temecula, CA's moratorium of new members.
The moratorium has been in place for 12 years now and it was created to "give the enrollment committee" time to catch up. We ask: How is that "catch up" going? Can the enrollment committee be so INEPT that they can't look at the applications and see who rightfully belongs?
Below is a story we posted in December of 2008 describing one family. We will post it again in its entirety and would LOVE to read comments from those in the moratorium. Tell us YOUR story, what family you belong to, how many are in your family that SHOULD be in the Pechanga tribe. Let's HEAR FROM YOU.
From December 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.
Robert Salgado has been relieved of his duties as head of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, according to a written statement released Tuesday by the tribe.
Tribal liaison Mike Hiles said the tribe would have no additional comment, but said in the e-mailed message, “Effective today, the Tribal Council of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians has placed Robert Salgado Sr. on administrative leave pending resolution of the allegations against him, during which time Mr. Salgado is not authorized to conduct business or represent the tribe in any capacity. The decision was made by the Tribal Council of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians in a closed session today.”
Salgado was arrested by FBI agents last week on a 36-count federal grand jury indictment accusing him of soliciting and taking bribes from four companies doing business with the tribe.
In a news release announcing the indictment, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jill T. Feeney and Brian E. Klein of the Major Frauds Division said, “As the elected chairman of the Tribal Council of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, Salgado exercised substantial influence over the business dealings of the tribe and he had the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the Soboba band.”
Bribery is a crime for officials in tribes that have received $10,000 in federal assistance during the year in which the offenses are alleged to have been committed.
Six counts of the indictment involve filing income tax returns that substantially understated Salgado’s income.
Though the returns gave income amounts ranging from about $146,000 to more than $200,000, his actual income was “substantially higher,” according to the indictment.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro on Nancy Pelosi: She knows the trust responsibility of the Unites States
“To the recollection of many participants, no sitting speaker of the House has ever convened an issues meeting with tribal leadership,'' Macarro said. “Clearly, Speaker Pelosi understands the trust responsibility of the United States with tribes and regards it with the utmost seriousness.”
Macarro FAILED to uphold this basic tenet of Pechanga law:
"IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF ALL ELECTED OFFICIALS OF THE BAND TO UPHOLD AND ENFORCE THE CONSTITUTION, BYLAWS, AND ORDINANCES OF THE TEMECULA BAND OF LUISENO MISSION INDIANS; AND ALSO, TO UPHOLD THE INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS OF EACH MEMBER WITHOUT MALICE OR PREJUDICE."
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Please watch the video and SHARE it on your Facebook and MySpace pages for additional viewer reach. You can also click Yahoo's BUZZ UP for extra promotional value to this piece.
The Muskogee Area Office of the BIA, according to a confidential source, is under close scrutiny by Department of Interior investigators. Under conditions of anonymity, a source in tribal government stated that Jeanette Hannah, MOA director has been placed on administrative leave pending results of the internal investigation.
The source also stated that another employee with the last name of Sullivan was also placed on administrative leave.
A number of BIA employees are being brought into Muskogee, some from as far away as Phoenix, to give information about Hannah's administration and behavior, which some have described as dictatorial and capricious.
Charles Head, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma member and BIA employee, has been appointed as acting director, the source said, and added that all of the cameras have been turned off in the federal building so that Hannah will not know who is coming in to give evidence, which may incriminate her as the investigation broadens.
The source stated that one area of concern for the investigators will be budgetary discrepancies that may indicate corruption that could touch area tribal governments that have benefited from decisions Hannah has made over the past few years. Hannah is a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
UPDATE: The chairman of the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians has pleaded not guilty to accepting more than $250,000 in bribes from tribal vendors.
Soboba Chairman Robert Salgado entered the plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
Salgado is charged in a 36-count indictment with conspiracy, bribery and filing a false tax return. Prosecutors say Salgado accepted bribes from vendors who had business contracts with the tribe, which is based in Riverside County.
Proving that NO amount of money is enough the chairman of Soboba, who made over $280,000 in 2006 (according the the indictment)AND over $1.1 MILLION from 2001-2006 tax years is indicted for solicitation of bribery.
LATIMES reports Robert Salgado, the long-serving, colorful and often controversial leader of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, was arrested by FBI agents Friday on charges that he accepted more than $250,000 in bribes from vendors and hid his income from the Internal Revenue Service.
Salgado, 67, surrendered to authorities after being told that he had been charged in a 36-count indictment by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles.
"The indictment alleges a long-running scheme in which Mr. Salgado lined his pockets with money from companies hoping to do business with the tribe," said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.
According to the indictment, Salgado took bribes from four vendors. One ran a valet parking service, two had construction projects at the casino and another was involved in real estate purchases for the tribe. The documents allege that he told the vendors that if they wanted to keep their contracts or get new ones with the tribe, they needed to pay him first -- and that sometimes he made them pay his credit cards and personal expenses as well. Vendors were told to make checks payable to R.J. Woods Service, prosecutors said.
This now begs the question: WHEN is the Pechanga indictments DUE?
Monday, November 2, 2009
The event takes place in the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium at the Department of the Interior from 9am to 5:20pm. The building is located at 1849 C. Street, NW, in Washington, D.C.
Obama is tentatively scheduled to be at the meeting until 10:40am, according to the White House. This part of the conference is describe as an "interactive discussion" with the president. Numerous requests by Native Americans stung by terminations and "disenrollments" to attend did not receive responses from the White House.
Other administration officials expected to attend are: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, HUD Deputy Secretary Ronald Sims, DHS Deputy Secretary Jane Lute, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, and Indian Health Service Director Dr. Yvette Robideaux
The tentative schedule follows:
9:00–9:30 - Welcome and Opening Remarks
9:30–10:40 - Interactive Discussion with President Obama
10:45-12:15 - Interactive Discussion with Administration Officials
12:15–1:45 - Lunch
1:45-3:00 - Interactive Discussion with Administration Officials
3:15-4:45 - Interactive Discussion with Administration Officials
4:45-5:20 - Closing Remarks