Friday, December 30, 2011

Ex Pechanga Ranger Pleads NOT GUILTY to Possession of Child Pornography; Pechanga's Own Sex Offenders Okay to Work.

An ex-police officer allegedly caught with sexually explicit images of children on his home computer today pleaded not guilty to possession of child pornography.

Hector Jesus Zamora, 42, who worked for Pechanga, which has their own sex offenders on the rangers, could face a year in jail if convicted of the felony, for which he was arrested on Nov. 1.To read about the arrest, click here. (That's it?)

The defendant appeared with his attorney today before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan, who set a felony settlement conference in the case for Jan. 31. Zamora remains free on $5,000 bail.

According to the District Attorney's Office, members of the sheriff's Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) team allegedly located two-dozen explicit pictures, some of them depicting underage girls, on his desktop.

The Federal Government's Spineless Morality on Tribal Sovereignty.

The Obama Administration's Bureau of Indian Affairs seems to suffer from "spineless morality".   They turn a blind eye to civil rights violations by native American tribes at every opportunity.   

They are okay with tribes cutting 25% of their membership, but are going bullistic over perceived civil rights violations such as requiring ID to vote ( a 15th amendment right), while having no problems requiring ID to purchase weapons (a second amendment right).

The spinlessless call on "sovereignty rights" to allow tribes to violate 1st, 14th, 15th and ex post facto laws.

As Abraham Lincoln said:  "No one has the right to choose to do what is wrong!"    Yet our BIA, our representatives and our executive branch are allowing just that.    When is it WRONG?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Worthless BIA to Stay Out of Chukchansi Election Debacle. DO we Need Jimmy Carter, or Just Get Rid of the BIA's CA Division?

The Fresno Bee reports that the BIA will again stick their head in the sand or another oriface and stay out of the Chukchansi dispute.   Should we eliminate the BIA in CA?

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs says it will stay out of the fight over leadership of the tribal council for the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians, despite a request for the agency to intervene.

The agency's Sacramento office received the request Tuesday from the new tribal council to recognize it as the tribe's official government, said Troy Burdick, superintendent of the Central California Agency, BIA.

However, Burdick said, the contested Dec. 3 election is an internal matter, and he does not anticipate the BIA intervening.

Members of the old and new tribal council could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. The new council's attorney also could not be reached for comment.

Tribal members voted earlier this month to replace the current tribal council headed by chairman Reggie Lewis with a new majority opposed to the tribe's disenrollment practices -- in which the tribe removes members based upon bloodlines.

Read more here:

Chukchansi Disgrace has Made Print Media, National Radio and Now, Television

Those tribal council members of Chukchansi have been having their disgraceful actions shared all over the media, the New York Times, National Review, Fresno Bee and now, ABC. Too bad they don't do anything good. The destruction of their tribe is painful to watch


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Luwana Quitiquit, Activist On Indian Civil Rights, Has Died. Robinson Rancheria Disenrolled Her Family.

In the days before the Christmas holiday, Luwana Quitiquit was tired.
The 70-year-old Quitiquit, a respected local Pomo elder and basket weaver, artist and activist, had been the lead plaintiff in a case filed against Robinson Rancheria, whose council was trying to evict her and several others from their homes on the reservation.

It was the latest assault on Quitiquit and her family, who in 2008 were disenrolled by the tribe. Also disenrolled at that time was her mother, who was posthumously removed from the tribe’s rolls.

Quitiquit, who had formerly served on the Robinson Rancheria tribal council, told Lake County News at the time that the move to force her family out of the tribe was purely political and retaliatory.

“I'm ready to fight,” she said in a December 2008 interview. “They're not going to make me cry. I'm going to fight all the way.”
She had continued to fight, even as the tribe attempted to push her from her home, signing up to be the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit to fight the evictions. A judge recently had granted a delay in the proceedings until March, according to her sister, Wanda Quitiquit.

But, as sister Wanda pointed out, Luwana Quitiquit was both busy and tired from the battle, and she was struggling with her health.
“You would not believe the stress she was under,” Wanda Quitiquit told Lake County News.
In order to pay for the retainer fee for the attorney representing her and others targeted for eviction, Luwana Quitiquit had just sold one of her exquisitely beaded American Indian dresses, Wanda Quitiquit said.
With money to pay the attorney, Luwana Quitiquit believed things were going to be all right, said her sister.
On Thursday, Dec. 22, she went to bed exhausted. The next morning, her son went to check on her.

“She died in her sleep and we should all be so lucky,” said Wanda Quitiquit, who called her sister her best friend.

Wanda Quitiquit said the fight to battle the evictions at Robinson Rancheria needs to continue on behalf of her sister.
“They can't touch her now,” she said of the tribal council.

Luwana Quitiquit was born in Isleton, Calif., on Nov. 13, 1941, to father Claro Quitiquit, of Filipino ancestry, and mother, Marie Boggs Quitiquit, who came from Robinson Rancheria.

She was from a big family, with a total of 15 siblings.
She grew up on Union Island in the Bay-Delta area near Stockton, where she and her family were employed as farm workers.

Read more of Elizabeth Larson’s obituary for Luwana Quitiquit

Darrell Issa, Richest Representative in Congress, Ignores Civil Rights Issues by His Tribal Contributors.

The rich stand by the rich.  Darrell Issa ignores the  plight of native Americans in his district, because he's paid by tribal governments.   He turns a blind eye to the civil rights violations in his district.

Temecula's Congressman was the richest person in the House of Representatives in 2010, according to a report.

Darrell Issa (R-Vista) has an average net worth of $448,125,017, the Center for Responsive Politics reported.

Issa co-founded Directed Electronics, the country's largest manufacturer of vehicle anti-theft devices, according to the report.
The Center for Responsive Politics is a nonprofit organization dedicated to tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy, according to its mission statement.
Issa's relative wealth has stirred controversy for him before.

The Temecula Patch has more on Darrell Issa's wealth

UPDATE: Chukchansi Squabble over Seating New Council

There seems no end to the situation at the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians. The new council members weren't seated. There was some commotion.

The story is developing. BOYCOTT Chukchansi Gold Casino... The Sierra Star News will have more.

UPDATE: Here is the story about what happened

got a call last night that their was lots of shouting, pushing, etc. at the PRCI tribal
meeting...apparently, the council was preventing Harrold Hammond from attending the meeting...his
daughter then called the council out on this and security let Harrold pass.

Reggie Lewis then attempted to read a statement in regard to the election, and was shouted down by
the general council majority, who were apparently ready to take on the Wyatt-Ramirez minority who
have pushed the disenrollment...he was shouted away, Morris-who also had been barred from the
meeting--was also allowed in by security then. the meeting culminated in the NEW council being
seated, and Morris being appointed as chair.
Reggie Lewis was removed from the meeting for illegally videotaping(a banning of video policy which he was responsible for writing, therefore violating his own policy) and council members Jennifer Standley and Chase

Alberta apparently retreated to a corner away from the council table for protection. plenty of yelling, and the
beginning of physicality prompted an election committee member placing another tribal member under
citizens arrest, the sheriff was called, and the member was removed by the sheriff who had arrived
on the scene.

it is my understanding that Nokomis Hernandez made quite an eloquent speech to the general council
in regard to our people...i was also told that the recent disenrollments and those awaiting results
from hearing the past weeks had been rescinded by the new council...the question is...will
the "new" council--which still consists of members now voting against the disenrollments and who
were responsible for the disenrollment of 500 Chukchansi people in 2006 and 200 in 2000--Dixie
Jackson, Morris Reid, Dora Jones, and harrold Hammond--bring ALL the people home to picayune where
they belong...

AND...the picayune tribal office has been shut down for a week...undoubtedly to cool things off and
prevent a takeover...

the Ramirez faction of the tribe is livid--they believe ONLY they (and not even the Wyatt's) are
picayune true tribal members...on the other hand, many of the general council are now calling for
Nancy Ayala's ouster next, as she was found responsible for and banished from the tribe several
years ago for the theft of the tribal records, property, bank accounts etc. along with another 10
members of the Wyatt Ramirez family years ago...the mystery is, WHY were the Wyatt Ramirez's ever
secretly returned to the tribe by a tribal council reversal years ago without input from Picayune
general council...

I say, bring the people--ALL THE PEOPLE--home to Picayune where we belong!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tribes Use Sovereignty To Make High Interest Loans (Up to 360%)

An Indian reservation in the heart of Montana's farm country may seem an unlikely place to borrow a quick $600, but the Chippewa Cree tribe says it has already given out more than 121,000 loans this year at interest rates that can reach a whopping 360 percent.

As more states pass laws to rein in lenders who deal in high-interest, short-term loans, Indian tribes like the Chippewa Cree and their new online lending venture, Plain Green Loans, are stepping in to fill the void. The Internet lets them reach beyond the isolated Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation to borrowers across the nation, while tribal immunity has allowed them to avoid bans and interest-rate caps several states have set.

To Neal Rosette, Plain Green Loans CEO and the Chippewa Cree's former executive administrative officer, it's a win-win. The online lending venture is a resource for people who can't or won't borrow from banks, while it gives the tribe a steady revenue stream and jobs with unemployment on the reservation at nearly 40 percent.

Rosette said this model could be the successor to gambling for tribes looking for an economic boost. Some tribes have owned online lending businesses for several years, and Rosette said the Chippewa Cree and three other tribes have started the Native American Lenders Alliance to encourage more.

"I believe this is the new outlook for Indian Country, not just Rocky Boy," Rosette said. "We are sovereign nations and we have the ability to create our own laws that regulate our businesses such as this."

That's a problem for consumer groups and the states that have tried to bring such lending under control. The issue with these loans, consumer advocates say, is that their high interest rates make it too easy for a borrower to become trapped in a cycle of debt as they have to borrow more to repay their original loans.

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia have taken different regulatory approaches, from outright bans to interest-rate caps. Montana voters last year passed a ballot initiative that capped such loans at a 36 percent annualized interest rate, which has led to a nearly 83 percent drop in so-called deferred deposit lenders, according to Montana banking and financial institutions director Melanie Griggs.

Read the rest the story at this link

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas To All

may all the readers of Original Pechanga's blog have a very Merry Christmas.

May the New Year bring positive results for those of us who are struggling to retain what is rightfully ours. May those who are harming their people see justice.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sierra Star News OP/ED: The Loss of Chukchansi Citizenship is wrong

My Op/ed piece in the Sierra Star News:

I find it disturbing that in all the years we've had mass terminations of tribal citizenship, no politician has stood up for those Indians who have been harmed by their tribe.

When you give it a benign name like "disenrollment," it takes on the context of, say, losing membership in the PTA. That makes it simpler for a politician to take tribal money and say, "tribes can choose their own membership" than taking a closer look at what it really entails.

The U.S. Government can strip an American of citizenship for few reasons, here's one from US Code 1481:

7: Committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States ... engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the government of the United States.

We are talking about treason or overthrowing the government. No disenrollees have threatened overthrow of their tribal government. No bearing arms against tribal councils. In Indian country, you can lose your citizenship for simply disagreeing with the tribal council.

Can you name one American stripped of their citizenship? How about American terrorists who advocate death to American and Sharia law?

On the Pechanga reservation in Temecula, Original Pechanga allottee descendents have had their citizenship taken away, along with voting rights, health care and the right to speak at meetings. Redding Rancheria terminated 25% of their tribe, including their first tribal chairman.

The same politicians who rightfully found the apartheid policy of sovereign country of South Africa abhorrent now side with tribes who are practicing the same apartheid in their own districts.

Politicians in California who were appalled over neighbor state Arizona's stricter immigration enforcement laws, going so far as to call for boycotting that state over 'possible' civil rights violations, are supporting tribes who have actually stripped voting rights, health care, per capita (now totaling $500 million), elder care and educational assistance.

They tell themselves, "well, it's only nine people," or "it's only 75 people." Yet how many does it have to be to make it wrong?

The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians took away citizenship to 50% of their tribal people. When is it wrong, or rather "wrong enough?" What if, say, the GOP got 50% of Democrats excluded? Would it be wrong? Of course it would.

Read the rest of the column: The Loss of Chukchansi Citizenship is Wrong

Marc Benjamin of Fresno Bee: Chukchansi tribal council election nullified

Thanks to Marc Benjamin for keeping the issue of tribal disenrollment on the front burner.

A Chukchansi tribal council election this month that ousted two supporters of tribal disenrollment has been nullified, keeping the tribe's membership issues festering.

Four opponents of disenrollment -- a thinning of tribal ranks over bloodlines -- won election, but two were deemed ineligible by the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians election committee, said a tribal source speaking on condition of anonymity because he fears he'll be disenrolled.
The two ineligible candidates, Morris Reid, a former tribal chairman, and Harold Hammond, a spiritual leader in the tribe, will not be allowed to run in the new election, the source said. OP: You'd think the election committee would have checked eligibility BEFORE the election. Unless they want the disenrollments to go through.

Tribal officials last week also voted to audit ancestry records of tribal members, meaning hundreds more could be disenrolled in 2012. Already this year, 57 members of one family were disenrolled and a tribal committee started disenrolling another 200. The ancestry audit will examine the bloodlines of 350 more members. The tribe, which once had about 2,000 members, would dip to 600 to 700 if all the disenrollments are approved.
In the Dec. 3 election of four tribal council members, Reid got the most votes and Hammond came in third. Along with second-place finisher Dora Jones, an incumbent who opposes recent disenrollments, and Dixie Jackson, who also opposes recent disenrollments, the new council majority was composed of disenrollment opponents

Rick Cuevas, a disenrolled member of the Pechanga tribein Southern California who maintains a website devoted to tribal issues nationwide, has been watching Chukchansi. He said rejecting the election results is another in a line of "shameful acts" by the tribe.
He said Chukchansi is among the most abusive of California's tribes when it comes to violating the civil rights of its members.
On his website, Original Pechanga's Blog, he has written a form letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking a civil rights investigation of California's tribes, and urging other Native Americans to send the letter to Holder. It was prompted in large part by Chukchansi's disenrollments, he said

Read more here: Fresno Bee Chukchansi Story

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pala Band, Paskenta Band and Lytton Band of Pomo Indians Give Gov. Jerry Brown $275,000 to Raise YOUR TAXES

Now isn't that special? These tribe want to raise YOUR taxes because most don't pay state taxes. Would they support a bill to tax all tribal members whether they live on the rez or not?

Brown's initiative would raise the sales tax by a half-cent and increase income taxes starting at $250,000 for individuals to raise an estimated $7 billion in the first fiscal year. Both would expire at the end of 2016. And tribal members who live on the reservation pay NO state income taxes.

"We wholeheartedly support this governor's vision for California," Quintana said. "We want to make sure the governor's vision can get before the voters so they can make a choice. We run the gamut of businesses, and if we don't have a healthy economy our businesses are going to suffer."

Remember when some tribes like Pechanga wanted to KEEP US FROM VOTING?

The PALA Band is the third member of this group, which is in the news for screwing it's people.

Let's save our money for these taxes by NOT going to the PALA Casino, or the San Pablo Casino or Rolling Hills Casino.

UPDATED: Disenrollment discussions on Native America Calling: Thursday 12/22

UPDATE: Here is a link to the Native America Calling Disenrollment Radio Show please listen

Disenrollment will be on America's airwavews tomorrow on NATIVE AMERICAN CALLING. 10 AM PACIFIC TIME: To participate call: 1-800-996-2848, that's 1-800-99-NATIV

AIRRO's John Gomez Jr is a guest

Thursday, December 22, 2011– Disenrollment Dividing Tribes:
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees American citizens the right to freedom of speech. Recently, seven members of a California tribe were banned from tribal lands for up to 10 years, allegedly for speaking out against the current tribal administration. Should a tribe be able to use its status as a sovereign nation to remove unwanted members from their tribal rolls, with no recourse? Does simply speaking out against your tribal leaders give them the right to kick you out of the tribe? Guests include former chairwoman Jessica Tavares (United Auburn Indian Community).

Larry Echo Hawk Does Not Come Off Well In San Pascual Court Decision

It seems like Assistant Secretary of the Interior Larry Echo Hawk, was an unfair arbiter in his decision against the Alto family:

.. the Tribe submitted multiple documents including a 56-page interpretive report and a separate 19 page supplemental memorandum of points and authorities. In a letter to Defendent Hawk, Plaintiffs contended that the Tribes's submittal exceeded the scope of Hawk's request and asked for an opportunity to respond. According to the Plaintiffs, they never received a response to their letter

Isn't that terrific? The Alto family gets NO CHANCE to see the evidence or respond before Larry Echo Hawk makes his decision? What was driving Mr. Echo Hawk? A swift reduction in Native Americans?

And the San Pascual tribe worked for six month to get their tribal membership roll together so they could submit it to BIA..thus far, they haven't got it done.

MONEY QUOTE from the Decision: Hawk acknowledges that Marcus Alto Sr. is listed as living with Jose Alto and Maria Duro on the 1920 federal census, but attributes it to Marcus Alto Sr.'s adoption Early in his order, however, Hawk expressly determined that it was undisputed that Marcus Alto Sr. was raised by Jose Alto and Maria Duro "since infancy" Accordingly, Plaintiffs have demonstrated that there are at least serious questions as to the propriety of Hawk's reliance on the 1907-13 censuses.

We have a link to the decision in an earlier post. Larry Echo Hawk does not look good here. And the judge obviously thinks the Plaintiffs have a good chance at winning.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Breaking News: Federal District Court Signs Injunction Halting Disenrollment at San Pasqual

Tough, but fair, Judge Irma Gonzalez halts Echo Hawks ruling against the Alto Family.

We wrote about the Alto family lawsuit here and about his INACTION here. Larry seems to want to get rid of Indians.

The story is developing and  here is Court Decision by Judge Irma Gonzalez

17th-century Mohawk-Algonquin woman will be canonized as a Catholic saint, the first Native American from North America so proclaimed.

A miracle recovery for a young man after praying to Kateri..

It takes proof of two miracles to certify that a Catholic is clearly in heaven asking God to help people who pray in their name. Now, a second critical miracle has been credited to prayers in the name of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, who died in 1680 at age 24.

Sister Kateri Mitchell of the Tekakwitha Conference, a Mohawk herself, was among 400 Native Americans who attended the beatification ceremony in 1980, when Kateri's history of miracles was first recognized by the church.

On Monday, Mitchell said, "I think thousands of us will try to go to Rome for the canonization. We have waited so long for this."

Native American Catholics were once doubly ostracized for their culture and their faith, says church historian Matthew Bunson, co-author of a biography of Tekakwitha, Mystic in the Wilderness. It will be reissued in 2012 under a new name, Saint Tekakwitha: Glory of Many Nations.

Known as the Lily of the Mohawks, Tekakwitha was born in what is now Upstate New York, the daughter of a Mohawk chief and Algonquin Christian mother.

See the rest of the story at USA TODAY

Senator Diane Feinstein Cites Lack of Support for Enterprise Rancheria; But Not the REAL reason to Halt Casino

U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein cited a lack of public support as the reason the federal Department of the Interior should take another look at Enterprise Rancheria, according to information her office shared Monday.

Feinstein, who inserted the request for a new review into a federal spending bill Friday, felt polling by a group opposed to the casino showed the department's initial analysis of the project was flawed, according to a statement her office issued.

"A recent poll show 72 percent of Californians oppose off-reservation gaming," Feinstein said in the statement. "The same poll shows 67 percent of Medera (sic) County voters oppose a new casino in their community; in Yuba County, opposition stands at 63 percent."

The polling, which was released earlier this month, drew immediate condemnation from casino proponents, who said the questions asked didn't mention economic benefits for the region if the casino was approved and built.

Those proponents released polling of their own from October — in which the potential benefits were highlighted — showing significant support for the casino, which would be built by the Estom Yumeka Maidu tribe based in Oroville on a parcel near Sleep Train Amphitheatre.

Feinstein's request, which called for a 60-day review of the project and subsequent report to Congress, also cited a lack of support among local elected officials.

In the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs' Sept. 1 decision moving the casino forward, the analysis showed a positive response from only one local elected body: The Yuba County Board of Supervisors, which has an existing memorandum of understanding with the sponsoring tribe to address the casino's potential impacts

Read more: Appeal Democrat

OP: The Enterprise Rancheria should not be rewarded with a casino. They have violated the civil liberties and civil rights of their people. We wrote about Enterprise HERE The chairman of their disenrolled wrote an letter in support of the Indian Civil Rights Act. We need Rep. Darrell Issa to call for oversight hearings.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Is Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro Upset He's No Longer the Scummiest Tribal Leader?

That's one of the things that makes us go...hmmmm? If you are going to have a legacy, it's only proper that you were #1. Now, with Chukchansi's Reggie Lewis moving in on Scummiest Leader territory, depending on the upcoming disenrollment hearings, is Macarro sad, or glad

We wrote this Open Letter to Mark Macarro quite a while ago, it's time for another one.

Remember when his friends from the CPP wanted to recall Macarro? Not for for being scummy, but for hiring his wife's lobbying firm and paying them $250,000 a year...

Press Release: Morongo Tribe Loses Lawsuit by Default UPDATED

Most likely, they feel they don't have to defend themselves in court. I'm sure they feel they can harrass any employee they want without fear of suit in state court.

Press Release:

On December 12th 2011 the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Riverside declared the Morongo Band of Mission Indians (Morongo Casino Resort and Spa) in default in a suite filed against them by six former employees. The case was originally filed in July of 2011 and named the Morongo Band of Mission Indians (Morongo Casino Resort and Spa) along with the Morongo Gaming Commissioner Jerry Schultze and five other current employees.

The suite claims that Morongo Casino employees committed or allowed acts of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination among the list of charges. Some of these complaints were brought to the attention of Casino Management and the Morongo Tribal Council as early as 2003. Each of the six plaintiffs was terminated between 2010 and 2011. All of the plaintiffs had been employed for at lease three years and some as many as 10 to18 years. Several were considered model employees and consistently recognized by Casino Management for their achievements. The plaintiffs claim they attempted to bring these discrimination and harassment issues to the attention of the Tribal Council and Casino Management on a multitude of occasions but were ignored or rebuffed and consequently singled out for further harassment and ultimately terminated.

The financial damages awarded to the plaintiffs could be in the range of $5,000,000 or more and the potential ramification for the Morongo Casino and Morongo Tribal Members could be even greater.

For additional information or comments contact:

For the plaintiffs:

Law Offices of Gloria Dredd Haney

333 City Boulevard West 17th Floor

Orange California 92868-2903

Office 714-938-3230

For the defendants:

George Forman
Attorneys at Law
4340 Redwood Highway, Suite E352
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 491-2310

UPDATE: MORE ON THE LAWSUIT from Coyote who writes at: The Indian Runner which focuses on the Morongo Tribe.

Most of the individuals who brought this suite had extensive experience in law enforcement and security and were in fact considered professionals and model employees, achieving awards for their exemplary service to our Casino. Some of the work they did in training and management is still in use today, and one can still be seen in videos used for training our Security Officers. All of these people were loyal to Morongo and some worked for the Casino for as much as 10 to 18 years until their termination.

Casino Management, some Tribal Council Members and a few Tribal Members would like to describe these individuals as disgruntle employees with a history of poor behavior, we believe the facts show this is simply not true. Others would demonize them for resorting to legal measures to get publicity and are only out for the money, this we also believe is not true. If one could look into their employee records and talk to their fellow employees without the possibility of retaliation it would be discovered that they were well liked and at one time would have enjoyed returning to the Casino as employees, if changes in policy and Casino Management were implemented.

This will never happen because Council refuses to acknowledge these issues and supports the real problem employees who caused these issues in the first place. They remain in our employ and continue to spoil the work environment like a cancer festering and spreading their poison to every part of our enterprise.

Council defiantly and arrogantly supported the false belief that our Tribal Sovereignty would protect us from all legal entanglements, ideas supported by George Forman’s unfortunate and incompetent council

Sunday, December 18, 2011

UPDATE: Comments on FIRE Pala Band of Indians SHAMES themselves with Disenrollment of Former Leader of the Tribe; Joins Pechanga Tribe in Disgrace

UPDATE: The comment section is proving to be on of the biggest since the Snoqualmie issue. Take a look at the comments

Eight people have been ousted from the Pala Band of Mission Indians in North County, including a former leader of the tribe, because officials say they have determined the individuals did not have strong enough family ties to the tribe.

The eight individuals are members of the Freeman family, including King Freeman, former chairman of the tribe and owner of the Pala Store on Highway 76, and his son, Tony Freeman. A spokesman for the tribe said Tuesday that the dispute over the Freemans' membership in the tribe had been ongoing since 1989 and that it was an internal tribal matter.

"The courts have consistently held that membership issues are determined by the tribes," said Doug Elmets, a spokesman for Pala.    OP:  They all speak from the same script

The tribe ruled June 1 that the eight individuals did not have the minimum 1/16 Pala blood required to be members, Elmets said. They were given 30 days to appeal the decision, but they missed the deadline, Elmets said.

The 900-member tribe owns Pala Casino Resort and Spa, a large gambling resort complex, on Highway 76 about 15 miles north of Escondido.

Many tribes have "blood quantum laws" to determine membership. Those laws, introduced by the federal government in the 1930s, describe the degree of ancestry that is required to belong to a particular tribe.

King Freeman and his son, Tony, could not be reached for comment.

The ouster of the eight individuals from Pala is the latest in a string of disenrollments from local tribes. The Pechanga Band of Mission Indians, which  owns a large hotel and casino complex near Temecula, has expelled about 240 members since 2004.

About 60 members of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians in Valley Center, which owns the Valley View Casino and Hotel, were expelled from the tribe earlier this year.

The disenrollments in Pechanga and San Pasqual were over questions of heritage, tribal leaders said. However, members of the ousted families allege they were kicked out for other reasons, including politics and greed.    OP:  Pechanga's disenrollments eliminated opposition voices, which allowed Council Members Mark Macarro, Andrew Masiel and Butch Murphy (who was adopted) to control power.  Imagine eliminated 25% of Democratic votes.   The GOP would gain and hold power.

One of the benefits of belonging to wealthy casino tribes is that members get a share of the gambling profits, which can total thousands of dollars a month. Fewer members can mean more money for individuals.  OP:  Pechanga's disenrollments accounts to THEFT of the per capita of the terminated members.  That dollar amount has reached $1.4 MILLION from each terminated member.

King Freeman, a lifelong resident of the Pala reservation, served a total of 19 years as chairman of the tribal council and six years as vice chairman. His last term ended in 2001     OP:   So, does anyone REALLY think that it's an issue of blood quantum?

Read more: of Ed Sifuentes

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Letter on Disenrollment: From A Chukchansi Disenrolled

This letter was so good, from our friend C. Cory who is a disenrolled Chukchansi member, in the New York Times comment section. Please read and think about how bad Chukchansi is.

A sad day in Indian Country indeed, as thousands of Indian people suffer violation of their tribal, civil, and human rights at the hands of their own corrupt tribal governments without recourse. The horrific theft of the very birthright of our elders and future generations as Indian People sickens me.

Over 200 Chukchansi disenrolled from Picayune in 1999, another 500 in 2006, 57 in November 2011, 200 up for disenrollment hearings this week...

As BIA “official” Bearquiver so eloquently stated, “We turned our backs on people.” People who commited horrific acts such as murder and rape. Then, RARELY.

On over 950 of the most vulnerable and honored in our society--children and elders? Ripping out the very hearts of those with whom we share a common bond of blood, history, and land? NEVER!

Disenrollment of Indian People is NOT traditional. Bred of corruption and greed, it fluorishes under the dangerous abuse of sovereignty by power hungry tribal governments like Picayune’s. Congress must sanction tribes who misuse this sovereignty in order to destroy their own People. This paper genocide must be halted.

Truly, evil does flourish as good people stand by and do nothing. Congress, BIA, DOJ, White House, NCAI, NARF, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs--THEY have done nothing. This destruction is the product of their inaction.

Bring the People--ALL THE PEOPLE--home to Picayune!!!

Cathy L. Cory
Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians

Tribal Membership: It's NOT the P.T.A or Kiwanis

Recently the North County Times ran an editorial about a role for the government in disenrollments. Here is a rebuttal to some points:

The process of determining who is a legitimate member of an Indian nation is inherently an emotional one, and never more so than when tribes are expelling members, as has been happening quite a bit of late locally.
At those tribes with successful casinos, quite a bit of money can be at stake (in addition to issues of self-identity and family ties) ---- and so it's no surprise that lawyers are getting involved. Or at least wanting to get involved.
Outside of tribal courts, each of which sets its own rules, those being expelled have no legal right to appeal ---- something a group of recently expelled members from Pala want Congress to change.
We believe this would be a mistake.
The Indian tribes are best suited themselves to determine their own eligibility standards and rules. Just as it would be highly inappropriate (not to mention unconstitutional) for the government to pass laws determining how religions admit (or expel) members, so should tribal membership be left alone.

OP: The issue isn’t about determining membership, tribes do determine their won eligibility standards, but what happens when tribes act outside their OWN constitutions? The federal government should be able to step in when a tribe does not follow its laws and keeps people from exercising their rights in the U.S. Constitution. In Pechanga’s case, the tribe instituted an unconstitutional moratorium to halt enrollment. The moratorium was voted in to keep a large family, who fit all criteria for membership out. When another family, who supported the rightful placement of the first family, was stripped of it’s tribal citizenship, the tribe again voted to STOP all disenrollments. The tribal council took it upon itself to inform the tribe that membership issues did not fall under the authority of the tribal membership. What that would seem to mean is: The tribe CAN vote to keep people OUT, but they can’t vote to keep people IN?

These tribes' traditions and history extend far back into history; they were determining their rules for membership long before the Europeans showed up, and must be allowed to continue without outside interference.

OP: And we were fine, throughout history, there were NO mass terminations of tribal membership, including at tribes like Pala and Pechanga. It wasn’t until the casino came did tribes disenroll for money. Next will they ENROLL for money, essentially selling memberships?

Despite what the attorney for some expelled Pala members contends, tribal membership is most assuredly not a "civil rights" issue.

OP: Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression. That means churches can violate civil rights just as can tribal governments. In Pechanga’s case, habeas corpus, freedom of speech, rights to have attorney present, right to fair trial, (one council member showed up late and ruled on his mother’s and his aunt’s “fairness”)

Nobody has a right to be a member of the Presbyterian Church USA or the Roman Catholic Church, so nobody has a right to membership in the Pala Band of Mission Indians.

OP: If nobody has a right to membership, then there should be NO Pala Band of Mission Indians. How could there be? They’d be a group just like the P.T.A. rather than a sovereign government. Should churches have the same rights and benefits as tribal governments?

At the same time, we would point out that just as any American has the right to declare themselves head of his or her own church, the expelled members surely have the right to self-identify as American Indian. If enough are expelled from any one tribe, and can prove their ancestry under federal law, they also have the right to collectively petition Congress for recognition as a native community.

OP: This is ridiculous on its face. We ARE from our tribes, in our case, proven by Pechanga people who were alive during the formation of the reservation, such as Delores Tortuga in sworn testimony taken in the Luiseno language and confirmed by the tribe’s own hired expert. Pechanga’s vaunted elder, Antonio Ashman also swore that he knew Paulina Hunter as Pechanga. Pechanga’s enrollment committee chose not to use that evidence, but rather took the hearsay word of an imprisoned child molester. Who would have a greater incentive to LIE, someone who had nothing to gain, or someone who would share in the theft of per capita which now totals over $300 million?  Why would Pechanga's enrollment committee choose NOT to believe Ashman, when he is quoted on their own website about the eviction of 1875.  He was not alive during the eviction, but he sure was alive when Paulina Hunter was.

We are from Pechanga, we don’t need to become another tribe, we have our allotment on the Temecula Indian Reservation and our family still lives there. Federal recognition comes only in a recognized tribe. Ask the Juanenos how easy it is, or the Tongva.

But the notion of non-Indian courts deciding who is and who is not a member of any particular tribe? OP: Indian courts are right now lobbying to have jurisdiction over non-members. Is that proper? Would the NCTIMES be editorializing about the lack of due process and rights to an attorney if their reporter was arrested?
That would represent a troubling intrusion into the tribes' traditional rights, as well as a serious violation of the American right of people to self-organize.

OP: Traditional rights include rights to belong. Pechanga’s committees, run by a few in power have made a mockery of self organization. Other tribes have done the same, such as Redding Rancheria in N. California, who eliminated a family of their FIRST tribal chairman.

Citizenship is a birthright, membership in a church is a voluntary act. Tribal laws must be followed or their should be some ramifications. Our politicians must but enforcement into the Indian Civil rights Act.  And they certainly should not award tribes that practice apartheid on their reservation with lands into trust.  They should use their bully pulpits to speak out on the injustices by tribes such as Snoqualmie, Pechanga, Enterprise, Redding, Pala, San Pascual and the worst tribe of all, the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


We belive it's past time for our Attorney General Eric Holdedr to look into the civil and human rights abuses in Indian Country. Please copy and print to fax or mail to the Attorney General. Here is a version of a letter, you can tailor it to fit YOUR tribe and situation.

To Email:
Fax Number: 202-307-6777

The Honorable Eric Holder

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gaming Revenue Blamed For Tribe's Disenrolling Members: Indian Country Today

Indian Country Today has caught the fact that the NYTIMES has discovered tribal disenrollments at Chukchansi after a decade of abuse.

From the article:

Tribal governments universally defend their reasons for disenrolling members, claiming they are removing people with little tribal association, who likely joined to exploit the services, scholarships and monthly checks from casino profits. “You have people who want to be tribal members, where no one knows who they are or where they came from,” said Reggie Lewis, chairman of the Chukchansi Tribal Council, to The New York Times. “We are sworn to uphold the Constitution. And basically that’s what we try to do.”

But for people like Ruby Cordero, 87, an ousted Chukchansi, expert basket weaver and one of the few last native speakers of the Chukchansi language, disenrollment is the equivalent of robbery of her identity and culture. “She was born and raised on that property,” Nancy Dondero, Ruby’s great-niece, told the Times.

In October, Indian Country Today Media Network reported in “Bitter Fight to Determine Who Is an Indian Turns to DNA Testing” how many tribes have adopted a DNA-testing ordinance to determine tribal membership.

Indian Country Today is owned by the Oneida Nation which has had some disenrollment issues themselves. That could be why they don't print my comments...

VDH: Where is Eric Holder When You Need Him? National Review On Chukchansi Disenrollments

UPDATE: We left messages for Keven Bearquiver to see if his quote was accurate. We are still waiting for contact, but I've had communication with people that have dealt with Bearquiver in the past as they said it doesn't sound like something he would say. I'm betting the BIA isn't too happy about the notoriety. Suffice it to say, in the past, many tribes would shun or cast off members if they were a danger to the tribe. But to have a council terminate families en masse is a symptom of AFFLUENZA that has affected Casino Tribes.

One of the good things about having the New York Times write about your issues is that important people look in. Victor Davis Hanson, of the National Review asks Where is Eric Holder? Well, we know he's been busy with Darrell Issa on Fast and Furious, but disenrollments and civil rights violations are coming fast and furious too.

Here's his article

It has been 30 years or so since cultural relativism took hold in the universities and popular culture, arguing that there are not universal liberal values spread by Western civilization, but instead only those “constructs” used by a privileged (white, male, heterosexual, Western) elite to deprecate the “other” and solidify its own power.

But every once in a while, we get an honest expression of the bankrupt and illiberal multiculturalism that openly follows this ultimate logic of prejudice and bias.

Here in central California, the local Indian gaming concern (the rich Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, which operates 2,000 slot machines) is in the process of purging a sizable number from its Native American rolls, on grounds of insufficiently pure racial heritage. This will mean more dividends for the remaining racially “authentic” tribesmen. Or, as Pike Bishop says in The Wild Bunch, “Ten thousand cuts an awful lot of family ties.”

All this racial factionalism has won the attention of the New York Times, which nonetheless misses the irony of establishing one’s cultural fides as an Indian only on the basis of blood lines through ethnic inquisitions (one of the expelled was a fluent native speaker, another an expert traditional basket-weaver).

But the Times does report verbatim some choice quotes. Here is the complaint from one dejected and dis-enrolled tribeswoman whose ethnic pedigree was rejected by the tribe’s racial heraldry board on the basis of “incorrect information submitted by whites.” She laments, “It’s like I’m now a white girl with Okie kids.” (Is the culturally sensitive Times indifferent to the slur “Okie” and its historical baggage of prejudice?)

But even that racialist lament is topped by the retort of none other than a federal official from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, one Kevin Bearquiver, the bureau’s deputy director for the Pacific region. He lectures us, the unenlightened, in support of these race-based, intolerant expulsions:

“The tribe has historically had the ability to remove people. Tolerance is a European thing brought to the country. We never tolerated things. We turned our back on people.”

Indeed. I guess someone should immediately call Eric Holder’s Civil Rights Division.

Welcome New Readers of Original Pechanga's Blog and THANK YOU New York Times

A warm welcome to all the new readers we are gaining from the recent article on the Chukchansi disenrollment. Disenrollment is stripping the citizenship of tribal members, it's not like getting kicked out of the P.T.A.    Can you name ONE American who has had their citizenship taken away?   Anyone?

For those of you who are interested in what's going on in California's Indian Gaming Country, please take a look at the links on our right sidebar. Each picture will take you to a story on disenrollment, most stories have links to others. WELCOME and thank you for coming by. Please let your friends know. Your traffic here helps to let our politicians know that SUNLIGHT is the best disinfectant.

Our comments are open, but we do moderate, so please keep it clean.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

UPDATES: Native America Calling to Discuss Tribal Disenrollment: Wed. Dec. 14th Listen Live UPDATE: Show Cancelled!

UPDATE II:  Heard back from Will Kie, associate producer for Native America Calling on what happened to the show:  We had a power failure in the area of our studio on Monday and that outage may have damaged some of our equipment. So when we started the show on Tuesday, we found out that we could not take any calls from our listeners, which this being a caller driven show, would not work too well. We want our listeners to be able to join in on this and all conversations we on our show, we did not want to have this show and NOT have any caller expressing thier views. We're working to get the problem resolved and have rescheduled the show for Dec. 22, 2011.


Set your dates for December 22.

UPDATE: The show has been cancelled, we are waiting to hear back from NAC as to when they will reschedule.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 – Disenrollment Dividing Tribes:

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees American citizens the right to freedom of speech. Seven members of a California tribe were banned from tribal lands for up to 10 years, allegedly for speaking out against the current tribal administration. Should a tribe be able to use its status as a sovereign nation to remove unwanted members from their tribal rolls? Does simply speaking out against your tribal leaders give them the right to kick you out of the tribe? Guests include former chairwoman Jessica Tavares (United Auburn Indian Community).

To participate call: 1-800-996-2848, that's 1-800-99-NATIVE

As one of our followers said:

We need to push for “field hearings” on the problem of unjustified disenrollments such as at Pala. A wholly illegal disenrollment of a person or family must not be protected from federal court review because of Santa Clara v. Martinez.

Disenrollments at Pala were executed against 8 members who did absolutely nothing but they were singled out by Robert Smith because they were simply family members of King Freeman who was asking questions on why the millions of dollars of gaming revenues walking out the door are not accounted for.

Smith is using disenrollments as a terror tactic to silence what he feels is his herd of lambs while he spends millions who knows where and he and his family fly around on one of his private jets. “Silence of the Lambs” with Robert Smith as Hannibal Lechter. This is mean and vicious and Congress must get off their asses and hold hearings on this problem before someone takes matters into their own hands out of frustration. We must push for amendment to the Indian Civil Rights Act to authorize federal court jurisdiction to review the tribal record for Due Process/Fairness.

PLEASE JOIN IN ON THE COVERSATION listen online at Native America Calling

New York Times Discovers Tribal Disenrollments, Better LATE than Never.

Finally after a decade of civil and human rights abuses in Indian Gaming Country, the New York Times has realized that they are behind the news.

Jim Dao has the story we referenced last night: California Indian Tribes Eject Thousands The story focuses on the most despicable tribe, the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians, but due to space limitations, doesn't reach into issues at Redding, which he interviewed the Foreman family for, nor any at Pala. He did thankfully link to the Apis family story from Pechanga: Pechanga’s Tribal Flush

We need all our friends and family to check in on the NYT article, to both support the Chukchansi disenrolled and to make sure the times knows there is more to the story that should be told.

UPDATE for Corrections:Chukchansi Embarrasses Indian People with Disenrollment of Alottees. Continues to Shrink Tribe

*Please see our update to this post below, where we clear up an inferrance to disenrollments at San Manuel.

Carmen George of the Sierra Star News continues her terrifc expose of the dishonor of the Chukchansi Tribal Council.

The first time Santa decided to only bring presents to some children at the annual Chukchansi Christmas with Santa Breakfast several years ago, parents were not warned.

Children received presents if they had descendants given government-awarded allotment lands , or if they belonged to one of two families that helped reestablish the tribe in the 80s.

The other children -- whose parents are also legal, enrolled members of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians by proving they are lineal descendants of a Chukchansi ancestor -- did not receive gifts.

Most children did not understand the separation. Some cried. OP: Some call this ... apartheid

This holiday season, the tribe cut off gifts to more than just their children. Chukchansi families whose only claim to membership is their blood, called "petitioners" by the tribe, received disenrollment letters two weeks ago from the tribe.

An estimated 200 disenrollment letters arrived in mailboxes, members said. These letters arrived shortly after 55 other tribal members were disenrolled earlier this month.

Many that received the newest batch of letters say they trace their lineage back to the last Chukchansi chief, Chief Hawa and his daughter Princess Malliot. According to Fresno Bee archives from the 1950s, the Chukchansi princess and her Swedish husband owned a large ranch where the rancheria is today.

Disenrollments center on greed over casino profits, old family feuds, and a lost connection with what it means to be native, many have said.

Many tribal members interviewed for this story spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions from tribal council.

OP: They request anonymity because free speech is not a right in Indian Country. Remember that when you go, your rights are not the same, remember the Richard Swan Beating Case by Pechanga Security?

Tribal council declined to comment for this story.

John Gomez, president of the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization, said to stop disenrollments, Congress needs to give the Indian Civil Rights Act enforceability, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs needs to step in regarding enrollment disputes, what they have historically stayed out of.

For now, many members said they hope Tribal Council elections Dec. 3 will help set things right.

Rick Cuevas, author of the Original Pechanga blog, created after hundreds in his tribe were disenrolled, said all people can help stop what's happening to thousands of American Indian people across the country.

"Our government exercised it's moral outrage at South Africa by divesting from business there until they changed their apartheid policies. Our state and federal government should do the same thing," Cuevas said. "They should not attend functions at tribes that practice apartheid on their reservation or that have stripped their members citizenship ... These are big money, small population tribes: The entire membership of the Redding Rancheria will now fit into four school buses; you'd only need two for the San Manuel adults. Pechanga's membership wouldn't even fill the closest high school football stadium ... on the visitor's side. Yet their money is enough to run the local politicians."

UPDATE:   The quote above references San Manuel, which could infer that they are involved in disenrolling members of their tribe.  That is NOT the case.  This point was made to emphasize how small the population of some tribes are and I apologize to San Manuel for making it appear that their tribe belongs in the category of tribes like Pechanga, Redding, Chukchansi, Enterprise that have abused their people's civil rights, that is not the case.
We have posted many times of the good things that San Manuel has done:
and in comparison to Pechanga:
and more on their charitable giving

Susan Bradford: Why the Washington Post Continues to Slander Jack Abramoff

Our friend SUSAN BRADFORD discusses the latest hit on Jack Abramoff. Why do "journalists" at the WP take the easy route? Why don't they look deeper?

I was sorely disappointed to open the Outlook section in this Sunday’s Washington Post to read another hit piece on Jack Abramoff, this time in the form of a scathing review of the lobbyist’s autobiography, Capitol Punishment. With a headline of “Lobbying for Redemption,” I was expecting the rag, which was complicit in collaborating with Abramoff’s professional rivals to spread falsehoods about him, to have the integrity to write a balanced, honest review. Instead, the Washington Post delivered more snark. After reading the review, I wondered whether the writer had even read the same book.

Then, I considered the source: R. Jeffrey Smith, a misanthrope who won a Pulitzer Prize for his seriously flawed reporting on Abramoff and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Incidentally, as former American Press Bureau Chief Shawn Martin alleged, the Washington Post‘s coverage of Abramoff was based on the local reporter’s original work.

Smith is now the managing editor for National Security at the Center for Public Integrity, which boasts of its original investigative reporting. Somehow, however, the reporters associated with this organization, which has come under fire for taking money from liberal billionaire and corrupt influence peddler George Soros, appear to be unable to report beyond the filter of their heavily jaundiced views.

Smith’s fellow at the CPI is Peter Stone, who also took to lying about Abramoff in his own book, Heist, which parroted the Washington Post‘s dishonest coverage. Neither reporter engaged in much independent reporting. In fact, they missed critical details, neglected to research or exhume the extraordinary amount of exculpatory evidence available, and relied heavily upon lobbyist sources who were coveting Abramoff’s business and poised to benefit from his ouster.

The article is snark personified. It’s so off base and detached from reality that one has to wonder whether the author was trying to market Abramoff’s guilt to deflect attention from the crimes of the false accusers. The ulterior motives for this yellow journalism will be discussed later. For now, let’s take a look at some quips from Smith’s article:

“The plot was classic Abramoff, involving the trademark elements of his Washington lobbying: a transfer of money, a promise of political support, and a threat of harm to those who stood in his clients’ way.”

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dear Chukchansi Tribal Member: GET LOST...and your family too

The New York Times will have a complete story out tomorrow, here's a preview:

The bottom line of the six-page, single-spaced letter that Nancy Dondero and about 50 of her relatives received last month was brutally simple: “It is the decision by a majority of the Tribal Council, that you are hereby disenrolled.”

And with that, Dondero’s official membership in the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, the cultural identity card she had carried all her life, summarily ended.

”That’s it,” Dondero, 58, said. “We’re tribeless.”

For centuries, American Indian tribes have banished people as punishment for serious offenses. But only in recent years, experts say, have they begun routinely disenrolling Indians deemed inauthentic members of a group. And California, with dozens of tiny tribes that were decimated, scattered and then reformed, often out of ethnically mixed Indians, is the national hotbed of the trend.

Clan rivalries and political squabbles are often triggers for disenrollment, but critics say one factor above all has driven the trend: casino gambling. The state has more than 60 Indian casinos that took in nearly $7 billion last year, the most of any state, according to the Indian Gaming Commission.

For Indians who lose membership in a tribe, the financial impact can be huge. Some small tribes with casinos pay members monthly checks of $15,000 or more out of gambling profits. Many provide housing allowances and college scholarships. Children who are disenrolled can lose access to tribal schools.

The money and the immense power it has conferred on tribes that had endured grinding poverty for decades has enticed many tribal governments to consolidate control over their gambling enterprises by trimming membership rolls, critics and independent analysts say.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Erick Rhoan, of Strict Liabilty in Blog, on Obama Administration and the Indian Community. It's Congress' Probem

Our friend Erick Rhoan, of Strict Liability in Blog has a differing view of our recent post about President Barack Obama's complicity in the destruction of Native Americans. He posted in our comments, but I feel it's due a promotion

I think the Obama Administration is taking a very cautious route into addressing the needs of the Indian Community. Part of the reason, I believe, is because of the oftentimes confusing and counter-intuitive nature of Indian law and precedents.

However, we've seen some progress: 1) the signing of the Tribal Law & Order Act into law; 2) ordering the Department of Justice to settle the Cobell Lawsuit; and 3) lending support to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. All of these things were the right thing to do. Even if there are problems with them, it’s still a good starting point.

With respect to unrecognized tribes, that is a problem that will require much more than Obama's authority as Executive. To redress this problem will require: 1) Congressional overhaul of the Indian Civil Rights Act; and 2) administrative overhaul of the Office of Federal Acknowledgment and the tribal recognition process pursuant to 28 C.F.R. Part 83.

Furthermore, it's important to remember that Indians are Congress' problem, not the President's. The President's function in the Executive Branch is to sign laws into effect and enforce them. It is Congress's job as Legislative Branch to write the laws, and the poorly written laws (and how UN treaties are adapted within our constitutional framework) are what is at issue here, not Presidential action. Article I, Section 8, clause 3 of the US Constitution expressly delegates the regulation of commerce with Congress.

I'm not saying the Administration is wholly blameless. The President can still urge Congress to do something about the gross injustices levied against unrecognized tribes by poorly written laws, which I would like to see more of. Also, I can point to at least two other areas where the President had good intentions, should have followed through with those intentions and then later backed away when the issue either got too complicated or he faced too much pressure from the Republicans: 1) Guantanamo; and 2) Iran. Within the quirky subset of American jurisprudence that is Indian Law, dealing with unrecognized tribes is a deep, dark area of an already murky subject matter.

In short, suggesting that the Obama Administration is somehow complicit with not giving federally unrecognized tribes the equality they deserve is somewhat inaccurate. That being said, I would like to see something said on behalf of the unrecognized.

Thank you Erick, for your contributions to our blog and our readers can see more of Erick's articles on:

Tribal Disenrollments

Tillie Hardwick Settlement

United Auburn Tribe Re-Elects Kim Dubach and Brenda Conway

The United Auburn Indian Community voted Saturday to re-elect two tribal council members after a bitter internal feud stirred a failed recall effort and the banishment of tribal members who circulated recall petitions.

Two of the banished members of the wealthy casino tribe, former tribal Chairwoman Jessica Tavaresand tribal elder Dolly Suehead, lost by 58 percent to 42 percent margins in their bids to unseat tribal council members Kim Dubach and Brenda Conway.

Tribal spokesman Doug Elmets said more than three-fourths of the United Auburn tribe, operator of the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, participated in the election. But the voters didn't include either Tavares or Suehead. The rival candidates were banned from showing up on tribal grounds to cast their ballots and also told that they had missed a deadline to obtain absentee ballots. OP: And that's how you control power. Do not let all voters VOTE. Pechanga eliminated two large voting blocs just prior to elections.

Tavares and Suehead were among six tribal members who were ordered banished from the tribe for up to 10 years and stripped of monthly casino payments of more than $30,000 after their attempt to recall all five members of the tribal council

Read more At the Sacramento Bee

Friday, December 9, 2011

Obama Administation Again Delays Juaneno Recognition Decision

We just posted a story on whether the Obama Administration was complicit in the destruction of Native American tribes and here's further proof:

On Friday Larry Echo Hawk, assistant secretary of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, granted a 30-day extension on the ruling, pushing the deadline from Feb. 14 to March 16. In December, the department had delayed the decision for 60 days to this month.

"The Tribe considers the time to issue the Final Determination decision is greatly past due," wrote Anthony Rivera, chairman of the tribe known as the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation, in a statement sent to members Friday.

The tribe is scattered throughout Orange County, but has roots in San Juan Capistrano and a special connection to the Mission there.

Members have had issues in the past representing themselves as a solid unit, creating factions and disagreements. Rivera's tribe isn't the only one going after federal recognition.

Joe O'Campo and Sonia Johnston are listed as Petitioner No. 84B, the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, while Rivera is Petitioner No. 84A, the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation. The federal government is evaluating both petitions simultaneously.

Does anyone think the Obama Administration would welcome another tribe in California? Or, more likely they are just delaying the bad news.

Read MORE at the OC Register

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is the Obama Administration Complicit in the Destruction Of Native Americans?

The Christian Science Monitor has a story on the huge number of Native American's that belong to unrecognized tribes, that make them virtually invisible to the Federal Government:

Sisk-Franco is the spiritual leader and chief of the Winnemem Wintu, a small traditional native American tribe of 123 people, and she is also a well-known Indian doctor, or shaman. But one of Sisk-Franco's spiritual doctoring tools is technically illegal. This March, the US Fish and Wildlife Service revoked her right to possess eagle feathers because her tribe isn't recognized by federal authorities.

For thousands of years, the Win­ne­mem Wintu have practiced their culture among the sentinel pines and glacial waters of the McCloud River watershed, but that history is legally moot because they don't appear on the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) list of recognized tribes.

As the story continues: Unrecognized tribes like the Winnemem – one of several tribes that traditionally spoke the Wintu language – can't access the billions in federal benefits (as of 2005, the total was $4 billion), such as scholarships, Indian Health Services, housing grants, and other funding available to the 565 recognized tribes. Recognized tribes can also open casinos in some states and can more easily use federal laws to protect their religious ceremonies and land


The divide between recognized and unrecognized tribes grew this December when President Obama endorsed the United Nations Declar­ation on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but excluded unrecognized tribes in the administration's position paper. Critics say it was an effort to reduce financial commitments.

It's also an eye opener as to why, those of us who have been terminated from tribal roles, often against tribal constitutions, are met with silence, or with a "we can't do anything posture by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Fewer Indians mean less problems. It's easier to turn a blind eye to the abuses than to meet them head on.

As by President Obama deliberately leaving out the individual Indian, he is giving is tacit approval to the disenrollments,and to the slow movement of Federal recognition. As as we know many of the tribes that donate to his party, including the Pechanga Band, money talks, human rights...walk

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

FBI Raids North Fork Rancheria Tribal Government Offices; Which Tribe is NEXT

The North Fork Indian Reservation is under federal investigation for fraud. An investigation some say could cost them their massive casino project.

Agents with the FBI and Department of Interior carried away several boxes of evidence after serving a search warrant. The warrant is sealed but tribal members who saw it say it relates to the casino.

A former tribal chair says agents interviewed her nine months ago asking about financial dealings with Station Casino's, which is the tribe's partner in building the casino. She says the FBI already has internal documents.

Jacquie Davis Van Huss said, "They did have financial documents and from my time on the tribal council I know they're confidential documents."

The Interior Department approved the North Fork casino in September. The tribe still needs approval from Governor Jerry Brown.

We had a story on North Fork Rancheria:

Did another tribe drop a dime on them?

Chuckchansi Fails to Re-Elect two Haters: Reggie Lewis and Chance Alberta OUT

The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians has held their regularly scheduled elections. Eliminated, or rather not re-elected were Reggie Lewis and Chance Alberta.

These two individuals were PRO-disenrollment in this latest disgraceful round of terminations.

There is a possibility that these new officials, Harold and Dixie, may not let this current round go through.

There is also word that the election could be contested. STAY TUNED.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Voters OPPOSE Enterprise Rancheria Casino Plan; Tribe Eliminated Members

Nearly two-thirds of voters in Yuba County are opposed to Enterprise Rancheria's casino, according to polling released by an anti-casino group, with 63 percent opposed to 32 percent in favor.

The group, Stand Up For California!, also had a press conference at the Yuba County Government Center to discuss the polling, which also showed 69 percent of county voters oppose building casinos off reservations at all, and 73 percent feel tribes should get voters' permission before moving forward on a casino project.

Sandra Gilbert, a county resident with the anti-casino group Citizens for a Better Way, said the poll shows the assertion by the tribe of strong local support is false.

"Both local elected officials and community members have registered their opposition to it when they were provided the opportunity to vote on the casino in the past," Gilbert said.

But in response, the Estom Yumeka Maidu, Enterprise Rancheria's backing tribe, released results from two polls, one this past October and another in January 2009, showing majority support for the casino, with larger sample sizes in both cases

Monday, December 5, 2011

Susan Bradford: Seminole Tribe Linked to Abramoff's Wrongful Conviction

That Jack Abramoff was innocent of the mail and wire fraud charges was maintained at first by the lobbyist himself and later by a colleague, Ben Waldman, the President of SunCruz, who witnessed the key events in question. Waldman even wrote a letter to the U.S. District Court Judge who presided over that case to say as much. Yet, somehow after becoming caught up in a confluence of events beyond his control, Abramoff wound up pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit and was even forced to additional jail time for it.

In a separate jurisdiction, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle, who presided over the Abramoff cases, remarked that she decided to lengthen the prosecutors’ recommended sentence for the lobbyist since he had a “prior criminal record,” alluding to the fraud surrounding his efforts to purchase the SunCruz gaming fleet, when the reality is that he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Without casting aspersions on Huvelle’s objectivity in the matter, she is a former partner of Williams & Connolly, a firm which provided counsel to the lobbyist’s former employer, Greenberg Traurig, during the Abramoff investigation.

For more information about the SunCruz loan, please refer to the complaint Citadel Equity Fund filed against Foothill Wells Fargo on November 22, 2004 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, South District of Florida, Ft. Lauderdale division. (Case No: 01-24661-BKC-PGH/Case No: 01-04662-BKC-PGH).

In 2000, Abramoff and his partner, Adam Kidan, endeavored to purchase the SunCruz gaming fleet in Florida for $148.5 million. Kidan was to assume responsibility for securing the down payment and negotiating the deal through closing while the lobbyist was poised to expand the business once the deal closed. At least that was the plan.

Instead, the deal imploded, bringing to light a secret agreement between Kidan and Foothill Wells Fargo which was allegedly rife with fraud.

In the complaint, Citadel, the secondary lender, outlines the “gross negligence and recklessness” of the primary lender, Foothill, in the loan which closed on September 2000 at the New York offices of Foothill’s counsel, Schulte Roth & Zabel (SRZ).

Revealing a nexus of close financial relationships, after advising Foothill, SRZ was retained by Merrill Lynch in “a case involving the Seminole Tribe of Florida,” the firm’s website announced. In 2004, the financial advisor went on to sponsor a Native American Indian Finance Conference at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, alongside Akin Gump, a firm with extensive ties to Sen. John McCain and which enjoys a “strategic alliance” with IETAN Consulting, whose lobbyists played a key role in railroading Abramoff.

In 2008, the Phoenix, Arizona-based Native American Finance Officers Association heaped praise upon Merrill Lynch and Greenberg Traurig for their joint efforts to facilitate the Seminole’s purchase of the Hard Rock franchise for $965 million. Once Abramoff fell under investigation, the Seminoles, under the advisement of their lobbyists, reached out to their rival’s former client, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, claimed that tribe as a client, and attempted to forge collaborations under the Hard Rock brand name. Their road to riches made Lombard Street look like a straight line.

In interviews with the U.S. Attorney and the FBI in Ft. Lauderdale as far back as 2002, Waldman maintained that “Jack was not – and could not have been complicit to the Kidan fraud.”

Yet, based upon Citadel’s assertions, there are strong indications that SRZ had a hand in killing the SunCruz deal which ultimately entrapped Abramoff.

As the complaint reveals, Kidan provided promissory notes in lieu of an equity contribution as a downpayment for the loan. Foothill Wells Fargo, which organized and led the loan, allegedly “concealed from Citadel that an employee of Foothill’s counsel notarized Kidan’s signature on Kidan’s notes,” revealing possible complicity.

The complaint goes on to state that the FBI even questioned Foothill’s counsel “concerning its abilities at closing. Upon questioning by the FBI, Foothill’s counsel eventually admitted that one of its employees had notarized the Kidan notes.”

Citadel also asserts that Foothill deliberately withheld nearly $5 million from the $32.5 million in term financing that it had committed. “The proceeds would have allowed the buyer-borrowers to acquire certain assets of the paradise of the Port Richey casino-gaming business,” the complaint states. “Foothill knew the acquisition and operation of PPR was an important component of the buyer-borrower’s plan for serving the lender loans and for the profitability of the SunCruz casino business. In fact, Foothill’s internal approval documents specifically required the acquisition of PPR as a condition precedent to making the Foothill loans.”

As Citadel maintains, “Foothill’s failure to make the PPR loan contributed to the …subsequent defaults….PPR was projected to generate substantial revenue and cash flow, making it important to the operation of the…business and to their ability to repay the Citadel loan.”

Having failed to acquire the PPR loan, the new SunCruz owners then were unable to secure the intellectual property of SunCruz, including the SunCruz trade name and trademarks. “The likely consequence of this ruling was that the buyer-borrowers would have been required to cease operating the business under the SunCruz name,” Citadel affirms. “Rebranding every aspect of the business and rebuilding consumer goodwill under a different brand would have required enormous expenditures and resulted in significant lost revenue. These additional costs and lost revenue, including the cost of removing the trade name and trademarks from every aspect of the operation coupled with the loss of revenue while doing so would make it impossible to service the lender loans.”

It would appear that Foothill set out to ensure that the fleet never left port and that competition to the Seminoles was promptly incinerated from within. Once Abramoff joined Greenberg Traurig, the firm offered to negotiate a settlement on his behalf but passed his paperwork on over to the Department of Justice instead, in breach of attorney-client privilege.

The firm then teamed up with Merrill Lynch to help the Seminoles purchase the Hard Rock franchise, and Wells Fargo went on to forge lucrative business opportunities in Indian Country. As Abramoff would soon learn, having friends in all the right places would prove very rewarding indeed.

(To read Waldman’s letter, please visit:

For full coverage of how the fraudulent loan was constructed to entrap Abramoff, please read Lynched! The Shocking Story of How the Political Establishment Manufactured a Scandal to Have Republican Super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff from Power.)

(c) Susan Bradford 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Agua Caliente Next Tribe Who Wants Their Land off Tax Rolls. CA will lose Taxes

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has applied to take 138 acres of land off public tax rolls and consolidate it with parcels the tribe owns at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Highway 111 north of Palm Springs.

The transaction involves four parcels known as the Beylik property next to about 100 acres of the tribe's land that is already held in trust

“We understand there may not be plans for a casino at that site, but we're still concerned,” Schmidt said. “We want to know what would be developed there and how much would the state of California lose.”

Stand Up for California! wants all fee-to-trust real estate transactions to cease until there is reform to federal policy that allows “local government more voice in the decision,” Schmidt said.
“The tribe could build a business on the land and that business would be exempt to taxation. It's a loss to the state and we'd like to see reform of that process,” she said. “They already own the land and market control of the land … why do they need to put it in trust? Why not develop it and pay taxes?”