Dear Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro,
For over a decade, you have been in the lead of the tribal council. During that time you have helmed the disenrollment of 25% of your membership, which would equate to 8,000,000 Californians, making you one of the most egregious perpetrators of "paper genocide" in the the history of the United States. You have sent many back into poverty, and forced the state of California to cover the health care expenses YOU promised would no longer be an issue when you pleaded for Californians to approve casino gaming.
What makes you proud to be the chairman? That you have made the tribe weaker? You were quoted in 2004 saying, “I believe that our tribal members know the fairness and diligence I try to bring to all of our issues." Where sir, was the diligence in creating fairness on the Enrollment Committee? Why “sir”, did you allow the committee to bring families up for review out of order, instead of the order they came in? Why did you allow Enrollment Committee members, Frances Miranda, Ihrene Scearse, and Ruth Masiel to sit in judgement of other families, when it was THEIR OWN families who brought up the charges that led to disenrollments.
Why “sir”, did you, during your terms in office, not uphold the constitution and bylaws when you allowed an illegal moratorium on membership when the Pechanga constitution and bylaws says open enrollment is every January? How “sir”, can you say you bring fairness and diligence when you did not follow tribal law and in fact skirted the new law that the tribe passed to “halt all disenrollments”? All "currently enrolled" members were covered in the July 2005 petition halting disenrollments. Why “sir”, did you not follow tribal law?
Where “sir”, was the fairness when you denied Hunters their civil rights by not allowing members to have an attorney with them to defend their positions? Were you proud to have our female elders subjected to pat-down searches by your security force? Where “sir”, was the fairness when you would not even allow writing implements for those who came before the Enrollment Committee, and in their appeal to the Tribal Council? Or to see the evidence against them. Was it because there was no credible evidence and the decison was pre-ordained?"
Why “sir”, did you not respond to the questions as to your Enrollment Committee member sleeping through the Hunter family’s hearings? Why “sir”, did you allow hearings to be held when one of the council was late? Couldn’t you even wait for him to hear the appeal, or, did you KNOW, it didn’t matter, as his mind was made up? Why “sir”, did you not respond to the obvious bias of one of your Enrollment Committee members in telling Hunter family that they were going to be out no matter what evidence they had?
Why “sir”, did you consolidate cases? Why was each member not allowed to present his or her own case for appeal? Where is the fairness you said you would bring? Was a half hour per member, to appeal their own position, too much to ask?
Why “sir”, was the Enrollment committee allowed to use evidence biased against the Hunter family in their decision, when it was not presented to the family so they could address it in their appeal? Why would the word of a convicted child molester be considered valid, versus the most respected authority on California Mission Indians, that Pechanga, not the Hunters chose to research Paulina Hunter? Why was "hearsay" testimony, that wasn't even notarized, turned in by the CPP given more credibility than five other notarized depositions from other current tribal elders not from CPP families that affirmed our membership?
Why "sir", during the shameful period that you and the tribal council were working to disenroll two large families, did you not hold monthly meetings, as was the custom? What were you trying to keep from the tribe? Do you only believe in custom and tradition when it suits YOUR purpose?
Will you, Mr. Chairman take credit for the erosion of Tribal Sovereignty in California? There is still time to reverse this terrible injustice. Lead the tribe back to peace. Your ancestor Martin Berdugo called mine “Aunt”. Antonio Ashman SWORE to this. Bring the tribal family back together. Be the leader in Indian Country, not the follower of a corrupt organization like the CPP.
Re-posted from a 2007 letter to Chairman Mark Macarro by request.