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Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Tribal Disenrollments and the Beginning of the End of Sovereignty

This is a repost of my 2008 article:

In the 21st .Century, who would have thought that the Indian Wars would begin anew? This is not the war of racist whites who wanted to move west no matter who was hurt. This time, it's greedy Indians who want more money, no matter which tribal members they hurt. The 21st century Indian War is now Indian vs. Indian. Tribes such as Pechanga of Temecula, Redding Rancheria, Jamul of San Diego, Enterprise Rancheria are violating their members civil rights, eliminating them from tribal rolls and denying them their part of the tribe. And because of California Tribe's use of sovereignty, it can be "we just don't like you" or "we don't believe the evidence" (are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?), In California's Indian Country, wealthy casino tribes are gorging themselves with cash, the fruits of their casino, thanks to laws passed by the citizens of California. Prop 1A and Prop. 5 were passed overwhelmingly, thanks to ads that promised not to expand gaming and to help tribes with self reliance.


To the California populace, this meant that tribes would be able to take care of their own membership. Those living in poverty would be brought forth; non gaming tribes would benefit from a fund that gaming tribes would contribute to. A 'lifting of all boats' if you will. What has happened in that time has in fact helped some tribes. San Manuel of San Bernardino has developed their reservation from dirt poor to one of the wealthiest in the state and tribal members are definitely in the top 1/10th of income earners in California. And they are taking care of their people. Their population is limited, with fewer than 200 members. Morongo of Cabazon is another example of good governing. Sadly, some tribes could not stand to share their good fortune. Visions of more money, or living at San Manuel standards blinded some with greed and envy. The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians is one such tribe. Blessed with an excellent location near a freeway and with easy access and a growing population, the Pechanga Resort and Casino was successful and thriving. With just over 1,000 adult members, the tribe was, by 2004 able to provide their members with a monthly per capita check of $15,000 and quarterly bonuses. Additionally, the tribe provided health care via Blue Shield, Dental, Eye and extra benefits for elders. Also included was educational assistance including college scholarships for which all was needed was a C average. Even John Kerry and G. W. Bush could have kept a scholarship.
But that wasn't enough for a splinter group of band members, the Concerned Pechanga People. This group of extremists made threatening advances on tribal enrollment committee members, storming offices demanding that people be disenrolled. The disenrollment process was initiated in a Salem-witch-trial like atmosphere. Letters saying, "I think that family should be investigated" and "there is a person from OHIO that had the same name, we think it was their ancestor. Never mind that one of the ancestors under investigation had land on the reservation for well over 100 years, given to them from President McKinley. The process has been recounted in the article from Harpers "A Paper Trail of Tears" detailing the ouster of the family of the original headman of the Pechangas, Pablo Apis. The evidence for Paulina Hunter's family is detailed in "Without a Tribe" an investigative report from KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. The investigation went on for months and as recounted in the piece, Pechanga refused to speak to KNBC until the day before the airing.
Comically, Pechanga had to buy a 30 second spot during February sweeps (a bit more costly) to tell their story. In watching the report, it was clear that Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro was caught in a lie, and he was called on it by anchor Colleen Williams. The report featured noted anthropologist, Dr. John Johnson, curator of the Natural History Museum in Santa Barbara, and an expert in his field, possibly without equal. What is the significance of Dr. Johnson? Well, the Pechanga tribe hired him to research Paulina Hunter's ancestry. They went for the best and he found the truth about Paulina; she was indeed Pechanga, "100%" he said. Now keep in mind that this gentlemen has worked with California Mission Indians for decades, heavily researching Las Padrones, the historical record of the priests of Mission San Luis Rey (from which Luiseno comes)
Some authors, who are concerned that sovereignty issues outweigh any damage to families of disenrolled, ask the question: Are they violating tribal law or US law, because US law wouldn't apply to a sovereign nation. Well the answer is: They are violating tribal law. Pechanga's constitution requires open enrollment every January with specific requirements for enrollment. There is no blood quantum required; the requirement is lineal descent from an original Pechanga person.
Pechanga has a moratorium in place which has kept new members from joining the tribe. The moratorium is not authorized in the constitution. There was a petition brought forth to the tribe, it was ruled valid and voted upon. The moratorium, unconstitutionally, was passed. The Tribal Council explained that "the people have spoken" and it's now law until repealed. Later, when a petition was brought forth to end all disenrollment, it was ruled valid and voted upon, after the question of the Hunter family's disenrollment process was brought up, Chairman Macarro said, "all means all".
The people voted to end all disenrollments. The will of the people was spoken. Months later, the tribe was sent a letter saying that the Hunter family disenrollment couldn't be stopped by a vote of the people; they had to right to vote on enrollment matters. Okay so the people had a right to STOP new members coming in, but not to stop lifelong members from going out?   I think this answers the question of violations of law.
This is sovereignty that is wielded like a club, to beat down the weak, not for the good of the members, but to their detriment.   These websites and blogs can help answer questions, and there will be more articles like this one
 
http://airro.org/
http://tribalcorruption.com/

7 comments:

Luiseno said...

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

Anonymous said...

can't argue against this logic... ironic that we have to wait so long to find a voice... how long do we scream from the mountain top to be heard. LOUD AND CLEAR ENOUGH FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pechagnaredbrother

smokeybear said...

HELL YES, HOW MUCH CLEARER CAN YOU GET? CAN ANYONE TELL ME HOW THAT RAT BASTERD MACARRO PULLED OFF THIS SCAM? IS THE TRIBAL COUNCIL THAT FEEBLE AND WONKEY EYED AS TO ALLOW THESE BOGUS AND ILLEGAL ACTS AGAINST OUR OWN TRIBAL LAW. ISN'T THE CONSTITUTION AND BY LAWS CLEAR ON WHAT SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO MANIFEST ITSELF WHEN, AND IS, IN THE BEST INTEREST OF ITS MEMBERSHIP. DOESN'T THE CONSTITUTION AND BY LAWS FALL UNDER TRIBAL LAW? WHERE ARE THE SAFEGUARDS? THE "MACARRO CARTEL" IS SUCH AN " EVIL INFECTIOUS FESTERING CANCER" OF SUCH MAGNITUDE AT PECHANGA THAT YOU DO, AS WITH ALL CANCERS, REMOVE IT BEFORE IT KILLS THE HOST: PECHANGA BEING THE HOST! PECHANGAS' TRIBAL COUNCIL NEEDS TO TAKE HEED AND CLEAN ITS OWN HOUSE FOR THE GOOD OF ITS MEMBERSHIP BEFORE THE "HAMMER FALLS" ON MARK AND HIS HENCHMEN. THE GOVERNMENT(INDIAN AFFAIRS)AS LAME AS THEY HAVE BEEN, WHEN "NATIVE AMERICAN" ISSUES OF CONCERN OVER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND BLATANT CORRUPTION, HASN'T EVEN ATTEMTED TO ADDRESS THE RIGHTS OF "NATIVE AMERICANS." 1920'S...CHICAGO...MAFIA...AL CAPONE...POLICE AND CITY OFFICIALS PAID OFF ....CORRUPTION ABONDS .....TAX EVASION......PRISON. "MARK ARE YOU LISTENING." MAYBE THE GOVERNMENT(INDIAN AFAIRS) IS STARTING TO TAKE NOTICE WITH THE TAKE DOWN OF THAT CORRUPT TRIBAL COUNCIL? MAYBE THEY FINALLY REALIZE HOW "BROKEN" INDIAN COUNTRY REALLY IS. DECEITFULL AND CORRUPT TRIBAL LEADERS NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR GRIEVIOUS ACTS, THAT THEY HAVE PERPETRATED ON THEIR RESPECTIVE MEMBERSHIPS, THAT THEY WERE SUPPOSE TO PROTECT. MARK MACARRO BEING ONE OF THE WORST OFFENDERS. I ASK YOU, CAN THERE EVER BE TRUE JUSTICE FOR THE NATIVE AMERICAN? WE STILL NEED "ALL NATIVE AMERICANS" ACROSS THE NATION TO STAND WITH US AND SAY "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH," AND HELP TAKE BACK THAT WHICH IS OURS, "OUR BIRTHRIGHT."

Anonymous said...

Enroll the tosobal family now! they belong their and everyone knows it. They have all the proof yhey need! So whats up! they`ve waited long enuogh! Give them a chance they can shure help the tribe in many ways, they also have land too! and a street sign named after them also!

Anonymous said...

The tosobals are alottees but houses were built on the land. if the Tosobals were let in then the the question would be whos on their land.

Anonymous said...

thats probably why they wont enroll them, someones built on teir land and thats why their not enrolled THEIVES!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

No Pechanga tribal meeting this month it is the third Sunday. What questions from the people is the council afraid off.