Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Book on Jack Abramoff by Susan Bradford Shows Relationship to IETAN and Tribal Membership FRAUD

New Book on Abramoff Investigation Gets to the Bottom of Tribal Membership Fraud

Membership disputes have plagued Indian Country for decades now. We have helplessly watched as people who do not trace to Indian tribes falsely claim Native ancestry while our own people are being systematically disenrolled and persecuted on our own reservations. The problem has not only touched the Pechanga tribe, but tribes across the nation. A recently released book written by investigative journalist Susan Bradford reveals that other tribes represented by Ietan Consulting, including the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, have experienced membership disputes similar to ours and that the principals of the lobbying firm facilitated the take over of individuals of questionable tribal legitimacy.

Bradford's Lynched: The Shocking Story of How the Political Establishment Manufactured a Scandal to Have Republican Super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff Removed from Power is a must-read for all Natives, especially those concerned with protecting their heritage and restoring integrity to their reservations. While giving particular attention on the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, which gave birth to the Abramoff scandal, the author documents that tribal governments across the nations were seized by those who do not belong and who are not even Indian.  Pechanga has an adopted member, Russell "Butch" Murphy who worked to eliminate 25% of blood members and keep hundreds OUT of the tribe.

We, in Indian Country, were apparently fed a steady dose of propaganda about the Abramoff investigation – namely that the lobbyist at the center of the scandal, Jack Abramoff, was shaking tribes down for money and defrauding his clients. Larry Rosenthal of Ietan helped fan the flames of discontent against Abramoff, who was apparently championing the interests of Indians and therefore, challenging the status quo. Bradford makes a compelling case for Abramoff's innocence, providing strong evidence that he was essentially set up in an invented scandal which was sold to the American people through the media, with Rosenthal's assistance. You can read about the set up and what really happened to Abramoff in the book.

Suffice to say, the scandal originated at the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, which is experiencing membership issues which mirror our own at Pechanga. In Lynched, Bradford meticulously documents how people who do not belong to this tribe took over the Saginaw Chippewa's government and its casino through fraud and deception. What is fascinating about her account is that she captures all the maneuvering and sleight of hand that facilitated the take over.

During the tribe's hotly contested election of 1999, Rosenthal helped organize a coup d'etat which removed the Chief, Kevin Chamberlain, who was trying to clean up the membership rolls. He was essentially following court orders to ensure that the tribe held a legitimate election at a time when fictitious Indians were running as candidates and casting their ballots.
As Bradford documents in her book, the take over of Indian Country by fictitious Indians began in the 1970's around the time in which federally recognized tribes were anticipating their multi-million dollar settlements from the Indian Claims Commission. Miraculously non-Indians, many of them Caucasian, made bee-lines for Indian tribes and their governments. President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty was then underway, and lawyers were dispatched to tribes, who helped sign fictitious Indians onto the tribal membership rolls so that they could receive federal benefits and eventually per cap payments.

The settlement money served as the seed capital for gaming, and ultimately casinos, which have generated tremendous wealth for Indian Country. Many of these newcomers were backed by the federal government who wanted the fictitious Indians to oversee the profit-generating gaming businesses. In the case of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, gaming was spearheaded by a woman by the name of Josephine, whom public records identify as “white.” Eventually she and her family would add people onto the membership rolls and seize control the government and casino, with the assistance of attorneys and their allies on Capitol Hill.

We have all experienced the pervasive influence of nepotism on Indian reservations. On this particular reservation, one of Rosenthal's chief contacts was Bernie Sprague, who later testified against Abramoff in Sen. John McCain's hearings. While Sprague apparently does trace to the tribe, he married into Josephine's family and was therefore afforded privileges reserved for them.
Once Josephine, her family, and allies staked claim on the tribal government, they rewrote the Constitution to solidify their power and control of the tribe's businesses and revenue. In a pattern all too familiar to us, they then proceeded to add more individuals onto the membership rolls, who would then vote for them to keep them in office in perpetuity and who would also receive per cap, even though many are not even Indian. The lengths that some of them went to acquire membership is truly extraordinary. For example, Josephine's mother, Beatrice, apparently assumed the identify of an Indian male, Jesse Davis, and then altered his birth certificate by changing his name to hers, and reassigning the gender on his paperwork to female. Many official records were altered to give these intruders a paper trail of legitimacy.

One of the key legislators who worked with the newly minted tribal elite to facilitate their take over was Congressman Dale Kildee, who helped these newcomers rewrite the Constitution and direct the ICC's settlement money to the Tribal Council while rolling back federal oversight of that money. Gaming was imminent in Indian Country in 1986. At the time, Rosenthal was working for Kildee in the House Resources Committee, where he helped draft multi-million dollar settlements for Indian tribes. Rosenthal was also the inspiration behind the Congressional Native-American Caucus, which Kildee chairs. Before embarking on a career as a lobbyist, Rosenthal joined the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), which established an independent federal regulatory agency over gaming.

During the hotly contested election of 1999 on the Saginaw Chippewa's Mt. Pleasant reservation, the descendants of the original, founding tribal members led by Chief Kevin Chamberlain attempted to remove the fictitious Indians from their reservation and restore legitimacy to their tribe. However, Sprague reached out to his friends in Washington, DC to topple Chamberlain. At the top of his list was Rosenthal, who had a direct channel into the Bureau of Indian Affairs through his roommate Holly Cook, whose boss, Lynn Cutler, managed Indian Affairs at the White House and was directly answerable to Kevin Gover, who was in charge of the BIA. As you all know, Cook is married to our tribal chairman, Mark Maccarro, who was the recent target of a recall attempt.
Rosenthal successfully enlisted Gover to intervene in the election to overthrow Chamberlain and seat the candidates which were drawn from the cadre of elites. A U.S. District Court sought a preliminary injunction against Gover on grounds that his intervention on behalf of the Peters Council was “arbitrary, capricious, and illegal.” Since another tribal election was imminent, the Department of Interior allowed the new Council to serve out its term.  After his successful intervention in this election, Rosenthal was retained as lobbyist of the tribe.

Bradford writes her in book:

When asked why the Department of Interior ultimately decided to recognize the Peters Council as the legitimate leaders of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe, Gover said, “We started looking at the case and talking to both sides...We didn't get satisfactory explanations from the Chamberlain Council with respect to membership issues and whether the right people had voted in elections. What they were saying is that ineligible people voted....(The BIA) can't resolve membership issues...It's not our problem to get people off the rolls.”
When informed that the Chamberlain Administration was trying to remove people from the tribe who did not legitimately qualify for membership, Gover said: “If the tribe was spending money for the support of non-Indian persons, then that (is) illegal. On the other hand, if they chose on their own to give that money to a non-Indian, the United States has no role and no say in how they use that property. We don't care if they are not Indians from our perspective...The tribe needs to remove them from the reservation, but getting the BIA involved is unlikely as the United States doesn't use its power in that way. There was a time when the United States dictated the day-to-day life of the reservation, but now Indian tribes are free to make their own mistakes. The United States is not a guarantor....”

After Gover recognized the Peters Council, 11 police departments were enlisted to remove Chamberlain from power. Over ten law enforcement agencies were also summoned, and the Michigan Agency, BIA, and FBI all had personnel on the ground at the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe to back the Peters Council. Tribal members even remembered seeing a state police helicopter flying over the federal reservation during the take over. “That's how big of a threat they perceived my son to be and how powerful his opposition really was,” Cathy (Chamberlain, the Chief's mother) said.

“What Gover did was a shock to us,” (outgoing Chief) Kevin Chamberlain said. “We were following a court order to fix enrollment and lay a foundation for a legitimate government. We weren't trying to stay in office. We were basically trying to ensure that the election results were valid. We had a plan, but then Gover intervened. The next day, the office was barricaded, the locks were changed, and we couldn't get into our offices. The federal government abnegated all responsibility. Gover informed us that the BIA cannot remove people from the rolls and said that fraud in the membership office is purely an internal matter. Yet, Gover decided to remove me before I could fix the membership issues which have confounded our tribe for over a decade now. He said that the federal government cannot be a guarantor nor determine who may or may not qualify for membership – yet ironically, Gover backed a slate of candidates that our founding Constitution states cannot legitimately qualify for membership or serve in our government. Gover justified his actions by saying that he needed a functioning Tribal Council in place for day-to-day relations between the tribe and federal government.”

....And all with the help of Rosenthal, who has represented the interests of the non-Indian elites within the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (minus Abramoff's brief tenure as the tribe's lobbyist) ever since. Apparently a network of attorneys, Native organizations, legislators, and agency officials have supported his efforts to keep the corrupt power structure in place, allowing non-Indians to take over tribes and their businesses while disenrolling those who legitimately belong. Consider also that an attorney who worked with Rosenthal to lobby Gover and help remove Chamberlain (Henry Buffalo) is also a tribal judge at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota, which controls the very lucrative Mystic Lake Casino. The Shaopkee is experiencing similar membership disputes and government corruption which are deeply entrenched within the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe and our own reservation. That the corrupt status quo is allowed to continue unabated is no accident.

To learn more about organizations and individuals behind the take over of Indian Country and membership disputes, please read Bradford's book. For more information and to order the book, please visit her web site:

Susan Bradford is on TWITTER  @susanbradford

The trail runs deep into our political sphere.    Those very people we elect to help us, have actually harmed more native Americans.


Anonymous said...

Someone also needs to write a book chronically the criminal and Scandalous takeover of the Pechanga Tribe. Perhaps begin with the recognition by the US Government and real Pechanga members of Paulina Hunter as a genuine Pechanga Indian. Include the fraud by the fake Pechanga member who worked at the BIA and doctored official United States Archives. Show the facts and history of the 'Splinter Group' who could not prove Pechanga descent and so tried to take over the tribe. There is so much evidence but perhaps it needs to be told chronilogically. I'm sure it would be a very successful book. Perhaps a movie? Mark Macarro played by Joe Pecci with a wig.

Anonymous said...

Why not do some of that yourself? Why is it always "somebody should"?

The information is available.

Anonymous said...

So we now have a book and maybe a movie in the book or movie will be a success without just ending!
Where do we turn for our just ending!!
Can we not find an attorney who if not simply honest and couragous for a worthy cause, would not want to create his own notoriety for breaking up the scandalous ring that is once again without concern or regard splintering the Indian nation while raping them of their rightful honor and commerce?? Would the promise of a movie role help? Where are our people who fight for justice??? The script has been prepared, easily read, who will take the roles??

Mary Riley said...

I will gladly play the part of myself, the angry Indian Woman with the bald head (from chemo)!

Anonymous said...

There aren't even enough of the VICTIMS fighting for themselves. WHY should someone else fight for YOU?

Paul said...

So, the acts at Saginaw became a "how to" primer on disenrollment?

No wonder so many tribes use similar language in their disenrollment records and statements.

So HOLLY MACARRO put the bug in Mark's ear? Was she close with Masiel family?

PHunter said...

Good timing for all of us with a new Congress, new staffers to show this book to.

Thank you Susan Bradford, for putting the spotlight on the roaches

Anonymous said...

"Why not do some of that yourself? Why is it always "somebody should"?"
Ok, anonymous. When do we start?

You are also right about not enough fighting for our rights. When rumor came down about the Stop Disenrollment Petition being overturned I told quite a few people we have to fight against that. Maybe picket the Casino. Maybe claim we are the REAL leadership and try to take over the Tribal Offices. When people shot at Bobbi Lemeires house I said the Feds need to be called in to investigate this. Well, I was told by some fellow members, 'We don't want to make the Tribal Leadership mad. Ha! And John Gomez talks all this postive talk about the great plans he has but I haven't heard one think about these, so called, 'Plans'. And when he has family meetings may we get word of it, sometimes the day before, or sometimes not at all.

Anonymous said...

The majority of family that I know continue to fight, whether it is individual ideas or a "community" effort, just because everyone isn't aware what the others are doing does not mean nothing is being done, quite the opposite actually. There are many people making an effort and some are friends and family that are helping from the "outside" of the tribe.

injunjoe said...

Well, Well...Now we know why Mark Macarro divorced Betty and married Holly he could get a free copy of Holly's "Handbook" on how to disenroll large families of legitimate Tribal Members in order to get their per cap payment and assure his vote as Tribal Chair year after year.

Anonymous said...

Injun Joe has it right.

stand your ground said...

This book points out the compliance and corruption among members of Congress and IETAN.

IETAN member Holly Cook Macarro and Pechanga's Mark Macarro have clearly used the blueprints of

Patricia said...

It is ironic no one wants to acknowledge corruption among our Governing Nation of the United States, notice Indian Country or Indianz com never mentionthe Susan Bradford book Lynched? Yet Indianz com has a Specifid Column for Jack Abramoff. If we have to fight for our Rights, why is no one acknowledging this book? Saginaw Chippewa Tribe had Indians crawling out of the Woodwork when Gaming happened on the Rez, did your takeover by non-Indian happens then? Spread the news, her book is a perfect example of how Indians are dupped by their own People.

Anonymous said...

One of many questions need to be answered!

Why did IETAN, personally deliver a suspected murderer to "The Man" in the Whitehouse?
There is an actual photo of The President of the United States, and this quilty Indian!
Whispering softly in "The Man's" ear, asking of him to "respect our sovereignty", a murderer's sovereignty - to go out an murder again, or assault again?!?
The statute of limitation never runs out of time for capitol murder in the first.
He committed an act with a specific motive! MURDER!!
There should be 4 named charges against this individual.
Murder in the first!
Why didn't whitehouse security, stop this individual from coming close or in contact with the President of the United States
Where was whitehouse security?
The two that snuck in the whitehouse last year, were heavily scrutinizied, getting past security.
This murderer, beat his wife to death, figured he'd be questioned, proceeded to torch the residence, with a 16yr.old young lady (his sister-in-law) was sleeping, his baby boy @ 6 months old, sleeping then his wife had been killed earlier, before he'd torched this residence with his family, dying while he went back to party!

Aurene Martin did you personally deliver a murder to "The President of The United States"?
What was your motive?

Anonymous said...

Please make a Movie of this book, at least we don't have to have more New Indians crawling out of the Woodwork whom claim they are Native American to commit more Fraud against us, we see the United States Government or the Internal Revenue Service don't make them pay.

Patricia said...

Patricia says Susan should have her book made into a movie. We, our problems are still here.

Patricia said...

May I ask why your Website don't Link to Indianz. com or Indian Country, how can you get your concerns out there? We are in the book, advertise it, how can we tell the United States Government we are here, we have issues, join us, tell everyone you know, we do have problems, Jack, Susan put it out on the line, start speaking up for what is right, who is a true Indian? Instead of sitting back, speak Perchanga, help us the Saginaw Chippewa, Indianz. com or Indian Country don't want to hear us! Yet if you go on they have a specific Column for Jack Abramoff yet won't advertise the Susan Bradford book Lynched.

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous,our Tribal Police covered murder 1984, they did not want to hear any Fire Fighter, each death was never investigated fuuther.

SagChip39ers said...

visit Saginaw Chippewa 39ers website, help us solve the Indian Membership, who was crawling out of the woodwork for money