Peter Surowski of the TEMECULA PATCH gets the story RIGHT. Protestors were NOT JUST PROTESTING the despicable actions of Pechanga but were stand for ALL whose civil rights were violated by tribes: Redding Rancheria, Snoqualmie, Enterprise, Laytonville Rancheria, Robinson Rancheria, the ONEIDA Tribal Nation, the Cherokee and Creek Freedmen among many.....
Disenrolled members of Indian tribes protested during a leadership meeting at the casino in Temecula today.
Several dozen people held signs criticizing tribal leaders in front of Pechanga Resort and Casino as Indian officials from across the country came together for the Native Leadership Forum.
The protesters were kicked out of their tribes unjustly, they said.
“The government is more like a dictatorship,” said Desiree Mojado, a Los Angeles resident who was disenrolled from the Pechanga tribe. “They do whatever they want over the people’s vote.”
She attended the event with her two children and four grandchildren who still live on the reservation.
Despite living on Pechanga land, they are barred from voting or getting any services, she said. “They have no rights.”
She descends from Paulina Hunter, who was a member of the Pechanga tribe, she said.
Though Hunter died in the late 1800s, the tribe’s Enrollment Committee deemed in 2006 she was not a Pechanga Indian. That means her descendants, including about 100 families, were kicked out of the tribe. OP: DESPITE evidence to the contrary, provide by PECHANGA's own expert and SWORN testimony taken in the LUISENO language from people who were alive and KNEW Paulina Hunter.
Mojado’s family was one of those, she said. This means they get no voting rights, health care or “per capita” money from the tribe.
“When money comes into play, it becomes a power struggle,” she said.
Her cousin, Kent Appel, of Murrieta, was also disenrolled.
Though each member stands to benefit from being in the tribe – he declined to say how much the per capita payment totals – the money is not the reason they fight.
“When you start to focus on the money, you lose the fact that it’s more than that,” he said. “It robs you of your culture.”
His family still has land on the reservation, and one road, called “Hunter Lane,” bears his ancestor’s name.
The enrollment committee’s decision to kick his family out was arbitrary and unfair, he said. “They ignored every piece of evidence,” he said.
To read more about the Hunter family’s disenrollment, click here.
Some families have it worse. The descendants of Petra Tosbol were banished from the reservation two years ago.
Petra was a Pechanga Indian, and her descendants still have property on the reservation, said Michael Anthony Rios, a Beaumont resident who said he is Petra’s great-great-great-great-great grandson.
“We still have land on it, we just can’t go on it,” Rios said of the reservation. “They never did give us a reason.”
Former Pechangas were not the only Indians protesting. Carolyn Lubenau, who said she was disenrolled from the Snoqualmie tribe, came from Washington to join the demonstration.
Her disenrollment came after some of her relatives won an election to their tribal council. The incumbent council members butted heads with her relatives, so they disenrolled her family before they could take office.
The family took that act to federal court and won, but the court can do nothing to enforce the decision because the tribe has sovereign immunity, she said.
To see the court’s decision on the case, click on the photo gallery above.
A spokesperson for the Pechanga tribe was unavailable for comment before this story’s publication