Sadly, new from the Pechanga Reservation in Temecula is that Norman Pico Sr., Pechanga elder, a longtime member of Pechanga's Gaming Commission and brother of the late tribal chairman Gabriel Pico has passed at age 70.
|Norman Pico Sr.
Mr. Pico had lived in Perris and on the reservation most of his life, family members said.
Mr. Pico is survived by his wife, Deborah; two sons, Randolph and Norman Jr.; a daughter, Kathy; 12 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In 2004, Mr. Pico ran for tribal chairman against the current tribal chair, Mark Macarro, whose council is well known for terminating tribal members to expand the per capita payments of those they allowed to remain in the tribe. Mr. Pico did not support the ouster of families, while Macarro was supported by the CPP, who wanted to remove hundreds from the tribe.
In fact, in Dec. 2002, there was an exchange of emails where Macarro contends the tribe's bylawas were "screwy" and in a subsequent email, Macarro states "I could care less about your heart". "If you want to pop your cork, that's fine by me." An example of the Macarro temper that is well known on the reservation. (and YES, we do have copies of the emails.)
Mr. Pico worked hard to help the tribe move forward, he stood up for what is right. He fought against the wrongs perpetrated by the splinter group, the CPP, that has usurped power over rightful blood Pechanga people.
Norman James Pico Sr., Pechanga Gaming Commissioner, passed quietly away Friday, October 8, 2010, on the Pechanga Indian Reservation in Temecula, California. Born, December 17, 1939 in Arlington, California along with twin brother Gabriel, they were enrolled members in the Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians (often referred to as the Pechanga Band).
Norman was elected Gaming Commissioner and served 10 of his sixteen years in office as chair. The National Indian Gaming Association noted, “Pechanga is one of the top 10 regulated facilities in the United States”. Norman lived in Perris, California and Pechanga most of his life. He attended Perris High School, graduating in 1957.
After high school Norman served in the US Army, as a member of the famous 82nd Airborne Division, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment “Devils in Baggy Pants.” His career included being a journeyman, Operating Engineer Union AFL-CIO local 12.
He retired from the Southern California Gas Company in 1994 as a field locator in the Damage Control Department. Norman, 70, was considered a heavyweight in Pechanga politics and was involved for decades as a tribal council member, Silver Feather (Vice President), the Tribal Water Board and helped draft the tribe’s constitution and bylaws.
He was also involved in Indian Education, and a Board member of Riverside San Bernardino County Indian Health (Executive Board, Finance, Grievance and Retirement committees) and Board member of Indian Child and Family Services.
During the past 15 years, Norman, chaired the Pechanga Pow Wow committee. The 4th of July Pow Wow is considered one of the most publicly attended American Indian gatherings in the country, hosting an estimated 70,000 guests during the three-day event. Norman was initiated into the Golden State Gourd Society and enjoyed participating as a member of the society at Pow Wows and Gourd Society events; he truly cherished and respected the traditions and rich history of the Pow Wow.
Norman is a descendent of several notable Temecula Valley historical figures such as, Luis Flores and Carlos Pico who played football at Carlisle Indian School for “the” Pop Warner; Daniel Pico (Pechanga tribal chair for 25 years), leader of the Southern California Mission Indian Federation; Luis Wolf merchant, magistrate and postmaster of Temecula.
Norman was predeceased by his mother, Evelyn Clarice Pico, Father Carlos J. Pico, and brother Gabriel Pico. Sisters Germaine Arenas, Milless Shores and Marie Russell are still with us.
Norman is survived by his wife of over fifty years, Deborah Pico, and three children; Randolph (Livermore, Ca.), Norman Jr. (Temecula, Ca.) and Kathy (Temecula, Ca.). A fourth child, Daniel, was tragically lost at the age of 17 years.
Randolph is married to Paulette Thomas and has three children, Elias, Cheyenne and Randolph Jr.; Norman Jr. is married to Kristen McKnight and has six children, Sheila, Cody, Megan, Randi, Savanah and Ella; Kathy is married to Harbhajan Saglania with three children, Brittaney (husband Victor) Retana, Brooke, Hardeep and great grandchild Leo Retana, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He will be greatly missed by many for his leadership, guidance, wisdom and love.
The family welcomes the public to attend his ceremony at the Pechanga Indian Reservation Government Center at 2:00 pm on Thursday, October 14, 2010, with a memorial dinner to follow. Evans Brown Mortuary (951) 679-1114.