Thursday, July 14, 2011

Congressional Panel Looks to Reverse Supreme Court On Land/Trust Issue; Avoids Civil Rights Issues

Legislation seeking to expand the federal government's authority to place land into trust for Indian tribes drew a mixture of praise and criticism Tuesday, as the contentious plan came before a congressional panel.    Read the Press Enterprise story

Supporters argue that action is needed to end unequal treatment of tribes under current law. Opponents say the legislation ignores the concerns of non-Indians -- including Inland Southern California residents -- living near reservations. And, they say, it would pave the way toward unchecked proliferation of Indian gaming operations, particularly in California.

Debate over the U.S. Interior Department's power to take land into trust follows a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision that the agency does not have the authority to do so for tribes that were not federally recognized in 1934, when the landmark Indian Reorganization Act was passed.    Do we really want the BIA to have more power?

"This decision creates two classes of Indian tribes -- those that can have land in trust and those that cannot," Rep. Tom Cole told members of the House subcommittee on Indian affairs. "This two-class system is unacceptable."

Cole, R-Okla., authored one of two pending bills that would effectively reverse the Supreme Court and give the Interior Department power to take land into trust for tribes, regardless of when they became federally recognized. His version exempts land in Alaska from that authority, while the other version, introduced by Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., applies to all federally recognized tribes.

Rep. Joe Baca, D-Rialto, (who gets a lot of money from tribes, and who fails to respond to Indians whose rights are violated.) is among 27 co-sponsors of the latter bill.

Broad Interior Department authority to place land into trust ignores concerns held by local communities affected by the expansion of reservations and gaming operations, critics say.

"Congress must deal wholly and fully with the impacts caused in states and local areas populated with communities of non-Indian citizens who will directly and financially suffer the impacts of federally created gaming," said Cheryl Schmit, director of Stand Up For California, a statewide group that focuses on gambling issues.

Supporters of the legislation note that 95 percent of the roughly 2,000 pending requests from tribes to have land taken into trust on their behalf are for non-gaming purposes. Schmit argued that tribes often change their stated plans for land once it is safely in trust, often to further their gaming operations.   WE discuss that issue HERE  where John Macarro said:   , "Once the land is placed in trust, a tribe has complete zoning and planning authority over it and can change land uses just as a county or city can change or update its general plan or zoning designations

Currently, there are 78 tribal groups seeking federal recognition in California, including 11 in the Southern part of the state, Schmit said. Additionally, there are 135 pending requests for land in the state to be placed into trust for recognized tribes.

Locally, the Soboba Band of LuiseƱo Indians is moving forward with a 535-acre project to include a new hotel and parking facility.

San Jacinto resident Jerry Uecker, who was at Tuesday's hearing but did not testify, said he is concerned about what the project will mean for the 1,200 people who live in three small communities adjacent to the land in question.

"The life they'd hoped for is at risk," he said.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Soboba leaders maintained that the project would not lead to expanded gaming, increase crime or hinder access to emergency services to the non-Indian residents in the area.
The proposed legislation would not affect the Riverside County tribe, since it was recognized prior to 1934.

Once land is into trust, tribes, including those like Pechanga, which practices apartheid on their reservation, can do what they want.


smokeybear said...


Luiseno said...

There were several statements stated as "fact" in the letter that was provided to the enrollment committee that started the disenrollment process. This "information" was said tobe enough to start the disenrollment proces going.

1). They stated as a "fact" that a search of the public record revealed that Paulina Hunter never lived on the reservation, and that she was not on any of the reservation census records.
This statement is so silly and foolish I dont understand why the enrollment commettee even gave it any weight at all. As a search of the public record revealed to the committee that she not only lived on the reservation, but that she was on all the census records until her death, recorded as a Temecula/Pechanga indian.

2) Also stated as "fact" that public records found no evidence that Paulina Hunter had no Indian ancestry, much less Pechanga Temecula Indian ancestry (they stated that she was some white woman from Ohio) has also been PROVEN as WRONG, not only by certified documents showing her on the Indian census rolls for Temecula Pechanga for many years from 1893 until her death in 1899, but by deposition given by Dolores Tortuga and Jose David Rodriguez in 1915 that they knew her as a member of the tribe. I wont even addrsss that the person THEY hired, they hired not us, also came to the conclusion that she was 100% Temecula/Pechanga indian.

3). The deposition given by one of the oldest members of the Pechanga tribe Antonio Ashman in 1979 that he knew Paulina Hunter to be a member of the Band should not be taken lightly. As our chairman stated so well in the tribal meeting on June 2005 we should listen to elders when they say something, and when someone as old and respected like Antonio Ashman speaks we should listen (our chairmans own words).

The CPP repeatedly state that it is oral tradition of tribal recognation not written documents (of which we have provided in abundance), they say oral unless the person who gives the oral statement is dead or disagrees with there own stand.

The Hunter Family has been members of the Pechanga Band from its very beginings, even before they were forced to relocate to the area known as Pechanga. We were members in the Origional Temecula Village before the relocation to the area known as Pechanga (this is easly verified from official certified documents on file). It has only been recently that the Hunter family has been put into question by a very small minority in the tribe. You might ask me if its a very few why hasn't the rest of the tribe put a stop to it. Well they did try a little over a year ago, in the largest gathering of our tribe in history they voted to STOP the disenrollment of the Hunter Family and to remove the disenrollment process from tribal law. Well this so shocked the small minority who had been trying to wrest control of the tribe from its members that they cancled all meetings for the next few months, and in secret behind closed and locked doors decided to overthrow the Tribes vote and continue with the disenrollment process. Once they had the Hunter family out they now have pretty much insured there control and takeover of the tribe as they further pad tribe membership with those new members whom they secretly enroll who will agree with there agenda.

How can they disenroll the Hunters when there was no disenrollment process in Tribal law? It was almost a year after the Tribe voted to end all disenrollment processes, and remove it from Tribal law that we were disenrolled.

It seems to me that since there was no disenrollment proces in Tribal law, and it was voted to make it illegal to disenroll anyone (the disenrollment of the Hunters coming almost a year after this was passed into Tribal law) that this would make there disenrollment ILLEGAL.

Luiseno said...

"In a statement issued Tuesday, Soboba leaders maintained that the project would not lead to expanded gaming "

So what are they going to put into this 535-acre project if not gaming? I know the hotel will take up a large portion, but "it will lead to no expanded gaming"?

Maybe they will fill it with gum machines.

smokeybear said...