Friday, March 30, 2012

$640 MILLION JACKPOT NOW! Interlude: NO Winner in Mega Millions, New Jackpot $476 Million, What Would YOU Do with your winnings?

If you won, what would you do?  Comments are open!

The lack of winner from Tuesday night's drawing means the estimated jackpot will grow to an estimated $476 million for a drawing Friday, according to the official Mega Millions website. Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 p.m. ET and Tuesday night's drawing took place in Atlanta.

Isleta Tribal Council Conducts Kangaroo Court Hearing.

Our new friend, Diane Peigler has started her blog on some injustices at ISLETA. We welcome comments.

Yesterday, March 21, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., President Fred Lujan and the
Isleta Tribal Council conducted a “due process hearing” to remove me from my elected Tribal Council seat. Click this link to view March 19, 2012 Letter of Removal from Tribal Council from Fred R. Lujan, Tribal Council President.

Please note on page two of this letter that the Isleta Tribal Council also requested a Motion to Temporary Lift of Temporary Restraining Order. You will notice that I received the wrong request (Regina Joyce Zuni, Councilwoman, Respondent). Also, please refer to Chief Judge Ernest Jaramillo’s Temporary Suspension of Restraining Order and look at the time under #1 of the Order (10:55 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.) so that a hearing will take place for her removal. (I also enclosed the two copies served by Undersheriff Robert Chewiwi and the Process Server). READ MORE AT THE LINK ABOVE

Chukchansi Tribal Council Seats Still Vacant; Congressman Jeff Denham Afraid To Stand Up

UPDATE: Congressman Jeff Denham has taken over $70,000 from Indian Casino interests this past election cycle: See Jeff Denham’s contributors HERE

As of Tuesday, the fate of three Chukchansi tribal council seats remained in question after a meeting to swear in council members was canceled Monday night.

Reggie Lewis, chairman of the group that has remained in charge of the tribe's operations at the rancheria, issued a statement Monday that, "based on credible information forwarded to public safety officials and the history of past actions of a small number of agitators, the council determined out of abundance of caution that safety should rule the day. Later this week, the meeting will be rescheduled for a new date and time."

Madera County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Erica Stuart said the department was only told that the meeting would not take place.

The group headed by Morris Reid -- four top-vote getters in the Dec. 3 tribal council election who have not been recognized by Lewis' group as new council members -- were holding their regular meeting with tribal members in Oakhurst at the same time Monday night and said they had no plans to protest the meeting.

Tribal member Nicolette Griffith said she and some Chukchansi members had planned to peacefully protest the swearing-in from Picayune Road (417) by holding signs because they heard Reid, Dora Jones and Dixie Jackson were not going to be sworn in.

Reid's group said they don't expect to be sworn in by Lewis' group.

Their seats may be filled through another election or by appointments.

March 26 was the new date for swearing-in the tribal council, rescheduled from Dec. 26 by Lewis' group until a new election could be held for Harold Hammond's seat. Hammond, the top vote-getter of the Dec. 3 election, was found to be ineligible to serve on council due to allegedly wearing his expired council badge to get into sensitive casino areas.

Members of Reid's group recently received new letters signed by Lewis and Jennifer Stanley stating they were found to be guilty of violating the tribe's non-violence ordinance Dec. 26 and Dec. 27.

Amidst the heated Dec. 26 tribal council meeting, with protests raised by tribal members that the new council should be seated as scheduled, the four newly-elected were sworn in. The Lewis group did not recognize this action.

Madera County Sheriff's Office officials were present at that meeting at request to ensure the peace was kept. Sheriff John Anderson wrote a statement after the meeting that no record of assaultive, aggressive or violent behavior had been reported to the department about the three leaders who now await word about whether or not they will be seated with Lewis' group.

"We are going to keep up our fight," Jones said. "We are still holding meetings and meeting with the BIA and that type of thing. I met with Congressman Jeff Denham a couple weeks back and he is basically not interested in getting involved.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dry Creek Pomo Indians Stops Reporting Quarterly Revenues to Feds, Claims Sarbanes-Oxley Costs

River Rock Casino has stopped reporting its quarterly revenues and other business data to federal securities regulators, after restructuring $200 million in debt late last year.

Executives at the tribal casino said the move will have no impact on investors or the public.

“Nothing really changes in terms of what we do,” said David Fendrick, River Rock’s CEO. OP: Except that we won't KNOW, and they can keep that information from their investors.

But the change could make it harder for River Rock to raise money for expansion, according to investment experts. OP: Hey, please invest with us, don't worry, trust us, even though we defaulted, we'll let you know how we're doing

The Press Democrat has the FULL STORY HERE
The Alexander Valley casino is owned by the Dry Creek tribe of Pomo Indians. It reported $124 million in sales in 2010, the last full year that results were publicly available.

The tribal casino’s decision to stop disclosure is a concern for Sonoma County government, which gets $3.5 million a year in mitigation payments from River Rock.

“This is going to mean that the tribe and the county are going to need to work more closely together to make sure commitments are met going forward,” said county Supervisor Mike McGuire, who represents Alexander Valley.

River Rock is no longer reporting financial data under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a 2002 federal law that requires public companies to provide detailed disclosure of their finances to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The casino isn’t covered by the law, but it voluntarily complied after selling $200 million in casino bonds to investors in 2003, said Joe Callahan, River Rock’s chief financial officer. River Rock’s tribal owners felt public reporting would help create a stronger market for its bonds, Callahan said.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Reversal of Fortune for Mashantucket Pequots: Does it Portend Ill Futures for Gaming Tribes

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (AP) -- For two decades, the Mashantucket Pequots lived like Indian gambling royalty. Luxury cars abounded on their tiny, gated reservation of colonial and ranch-style homes in the woods of southeastern Connecticut.

The tribe's Foxwoods casino, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, allowed members to live without concern for money, generating shared revenue stipends that once exceeded $100,000 annually for each adult.

OP: Pechanga pays over $240,000 San Manuel over $500,000 United Auburn over $180,000

This month, with Foxwoods struggling with debt exceeding $2 billion, payments to members stopped. The tribe has opened a food pantry for needy families, counselors have provided guidance on how to pursue jobs and members have been left to ponder the end of what once seemed a sure bet.

"I was poor before. I can be poor again," tribal member Gina Brown-Congdon, 59, said. "I'm not happy, but you have to deal with what life gives you."

The money is not the only source of anxiety. FBI agents have been visiting the reservation and asking about tribal finances, according to two people with knowledge of tribal activity who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to protect their relationships with the tribe. It all contributes to one of the most tumultuous periods in the recent history of the Pequots, who own and operate the casino that made their reservation one of the wealthiest communities in America.

OP: FBI raided North Fork Rancheria and investigated Soboba and Pechanga.

The affluence vanished as quickly as it came for the tribe, which had only one person living on the reservation in the early 1970s. The Pequots won federal recognition and opened a bingo hall in the 1980s before hitting the jackpot with the start of casino gambling at Foxwoods in 1992. People who traced their bloodlines to Pequots counted in a 1900 census were allowed to join the tribe, which now has roughly 900 members.

A tribal elder, Loretta Libby, said many worry about what will come next.

"Our stress levels are very high up here," she said. "I just don't know what's going to happen."

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council said it stands united and focused on success at the Foxwoods Resort Casino.

"The community is pulling together in these challenging economic times, and we are eagerly embracing our future with a strong determination to continue growing our business as a major economic force in southeastern Connecticut," the council said in a statement.

Tribal leaders have discouraged members from talking with outsiders. A reporter who made a recent visit was stopped by five tribal police officers, including the chief, and escorted off the reservation. The police handed out notices later that day instructing people not to speak with reporters.

Despite the financial difficulties, Brown-Congdon said, she feels only gratitude toward the tribe for providing so well for so long. A Rhode Island native, she worked in potato fields for a time before coming to the join the tribe. The gambling income allowed her to live comfortably while she tended to ailing family members and cared for some of her sister's 15 grandchildren.

She owned a house and cared for her sick brother until he died in 2010 and, without his tribal income, she could no longer afford it. She now fears the end of the payments could force her out of her rented house on the reservation. She wishes that she - and the tribe - had planned better for hard times, but she said the tribe's only fault was perhaps being overly generous in its spending.

"They gave us the best care and the most love," she said. "They made their decisions the best they could."

The new austerity is a result of financial troubles at Foxwoods, which has been in talks to refinance its debt. After years of unparalleled success drawing gamblers from across New England and New York, the casino began struggling with increased competition and slackening demand. Foxwoods completed a major, costly expansion with the 30-story MGM Grand hotel and casino at the height of the recession in 2008. The resort has four hotels, more than 6,300 slot machines and 360 tables with 15 different types of games in six casinos.

The regular member payments ended in 2010, but the tribe offered smaller, transitional aid to members until March.

The tribe has been providing financial counseling and placing more members with jobs, including some at the casino. One member, 60-year-old Roslyn Charles, said the tribe still makes other aid available, including help with utility bills. And while jobs are available, she said many do not want to work.

"This is a family. There's no friction. You've got to do what you've got to do," said Charles, who works at a library. "The economy is hitting everybody. It's not just us."

Of more than 500 American Indian tribes across the country, 124 have notified the U.S. Interior Department of intent to share gambling revenue with members, according to the Indian Gaming Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. But government officials say they take a hands-off approach and do not know how many actually make payments or how much they share.

Valerie Red-Horse, a financial analyst familiar with Indian casinos, said some tribes have probably paid out too much, but the distributions often barely meet the needs of tribes who live on distant reservations with meager resources and limited access to government services.

The tribe that runs the Mohegan Sun casino, a nearby Connecticut rival of Foxwoods, has kept up payments despite financial strains, said Bruce "Two Dogs" Boszum, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council. He declined to say how large the payments are, but he said they began modestly to help members improve their lives and have grown slowly - an approach he said other tribes could learn from.

"It's not something you want to take back later," Boszum said. "We've done a lot of work to maintain all of our services here, and we've kept everything just the way it is."

As the Pequots have cut back their spending, their neighbors in Ledyard say they have not seen dramatic changes, although there are fewer exotic cars. The arrest of two tribal members in an October home invasion set off some concerns for crime, but police say they do not see a connection between a rash of burglaries and the tribe's financial situation.

A farmer on land bordering the reservation, Robert Burns, said he believes tribal members will benefit from the cutbacks.

"I've always felt that stipend stood between them having the joy of being realistic members of our society and that, it many cases, it served as a device to separate them from the community," Burns said. "It may seem like a hardship, but it will give them the gift of learning how to function as a member of the larger society."

Brown-Congdon said she worries about the tribe, particularly young people who know only affluence. But she is moving on and thinking of what she could do for work.

"A lot of things have come full circle for us," she said.

Carla Rodriguez Elected New Leader of San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

Congratulations Carla, good luck in your new position.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has elected a new tribal leader.


Carla Rodriguez, the aunt of current tribal Chairman James Ramos, has been elected to succeed him April16, Ramos said.

Ramos decided not to seek another term as the tribal leader to concentrate on his campaign for San Bernardino County supervisor.

“She’ll do a good job for the community,” Ramos said. “She’ll do a good job for the tribe. She shares many of the same values and commitments I have.”

Carla was the former Tribal secretary

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Credible Threat Causes Cancellation of Chukchansi Tribal Coucil's Swearing In

A meeting to swear in Chukchansi tribal council members was canceled Monday night after leaders said there was a "credible threat" made against those attending the meeting.

The group headed by Reggie Lewis that's in charge of the tribe's operations said they called off the meeting because of concerns it could be interrupted by protests from supporters of an opposing group led by Morris Reid. OP: NO first amendment issues here! They don't care about no stinking 1st amendement

Had the meeting on the rancheria near Coarsegold taken place, however, only Lewis, out of four winning candidates, was expected to be sworn in. Three candidates who won council seats in a December election were told last week that they will likely not be joining the new council. Their seats could soon be taken by other tribe members, either through a special election or appointments.

"Based on credible information forwarded to public safety officials and the history of past actions of a small number of agitators, the council determined out of abundance of caution that safety should rule the day," Lewis said in a statement.

Reid said his group wasn't a threat to the Lewis group's meeting because they were meeting at the same time Monday night in Oakhurst and had no plans to protest.

There was no information about a "credible threat" made to the Madera County Sheriff's Office, spokeswoman Erica Stuart said Monday night.
Roger Salazar, the Lewis group's spokesman, said the tribal council meeting and swearing-in ceremony will be rescheduled.

Three seats will remain open. The Lewis council issued letters of removal on Friday to Reid and one of his supporters, Dora Jones. That put them on the sidelines along with another Reid supporter and winning candidate, Dixie Jackson, all barred from the building where the tribal council meets. All three were involved in disputes with the Lewis council that started with a contentious Dec. 26 meeting and continued with a Feb. 27-28 standoff at the rancheria.

A hearing on the removal of Reid and Jones is set for April 24, Salazar said. Since Jackson was never an incumbent, she's not eligible for a hearing, Salazar said.

Read more about the cancellation here

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How The Pechanga Tribal Council Violated Their Own Constitution; Their Actions Should Lead to A Halt in Their Recognition

This is a repost of a blog from last year:

Our cousin A’amokat was nice enough to put together a post of how the Pechanga Tribal Council, led by Mark Macarro has violated the Tribal Constitution.

Here are some examples of violations of the Pechanga tribe's constitution and bylaws as relating to the disenrollments and the moratorium.

1. The Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians constitution and bylaws, sometimes referred to as the Pechanga Band of Mission Indians, states under Article II (membership):

"The membership enrollment will be opened the first month of each year by the Band's Enrollment Committee"

Violation: The moratorium on new adult tribal members because the constitution and bylaws does stipulate open enrollment is the first month of each year.

Under Article VIII (meetings):

"The simple majority of members present shall rule and decide in all matters of government and business of the Band, unless stipulated otherwise in these Bylaws."

Violation: The tribal council allowed the enrollment committee in 2006 to disenroll the Hunters after the petition to outlaw disenrollment was passed into law by the people in 2005. The people are the final authority in matters of who is enrolled and who is disenrolled, not the enrollment committee, because the Band's constitution and bylaws does not state the enrollment committee has this authority.

Under Article V:

"It shall be the duty of all elected officials of the Band to uphold and enforce the Constitution, Bylaws, and ordinances of the Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians; and, also, uphold the individual rights of each member without malice or prejudice."

Violation 1: Allowing people who started the disenrollment challenges of disenrollees in both 2004 and 2006 to rule on the disenrollment cases of the disenrollees and who were close relatives of key witnesses against them shows malice and prejudice against tribal members.

Violation 2: The tribal council did not uphold and enforce the law that outlawed disenrollments that was passed in 2005 by allowing the Hunters to be disenrolled in 2006.

There is tribal legal precedent regarding enrollment issues that the enrollment committee is not the final authority in these matters.

In 1986, after the lineal descendants of Rose Murphy including sitting tribal councilman Russell “Butch” Murphy, were turned down for tribal membership, the people voted to overrule the committee to take them in as tribal members.

So the claim in the March 2006 letter from the tribal council to the general membership, just two days before the Hunters were disenrolled, that the people could not question or interrupt the enrollment committee regarding enrollment or disenrollment is flat out not true and Russell Butch Murphy is living proof this is the case!

Here are some examples of violations of the Pechanga tribe's constitution and bylaws as relating to the disenrollments and the moratorium.

1. The Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians constitution and bylaws, sometimes referred to as the Pechanga Band of Mission Indians, states under Article II (membership):

"The membership enrollment will be opened the first month of each year by the Band's Enrollment Committee"

Violation: The moratorium on new adult tribal members because the constitution and bylaws does stipulate open enrollment is the first month of each year.

Under Article VIII (meetings):

"The simple majority of members present shall rule and decide in all matters of government and business of the Band, unless stipulated otherwise in these Bylaws."

Violation: The tribal council allowed the enrollment committee in 2006 to disenroll the Hunters after the petition to outlaw disenrollment was passed into law by the people in 2005. The people are the final authority in matters of who is enrolled and who is disenrolled, not the enrollment committee, because the Band's constitution and bylaws does not state the enrollment committee has this authority.

Under Article V:

"It shall be the duty of all elected officials of the Band to uphold and enforce the Constitution, Bylaws, and ordinances of the Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians; and, also, uphold the individual rights of each member without malice or prejudice."
Violation 1: Allowing people who started the disenrollment challenges of disenrollees in both 2004 and 2006 to rule on the disenrollment cases of the disenrollees and who were close relatives of key witnesses against them shows malice and prejudice against tribal members.

Violation 2: The tribal council did not uphold and enforce the law that outlawed disenrollments that was passed in 2005 by allowing the Hunters to be disenrolled in 2006.

There is tribal legal precedent regarding enrollment issues that the enrollment committee is not the final authority in these matters.

In 1986, after the lineal descendants of Rose Murphy including sitting tribal councilman Russell Butch Murphy, were turned down for tribal membership, the people voted to overrule the committee to take them in as tribal members.

So the claim in the March 2006 letter from the tribal council to the general membership, just two days before the Hunters were disenrolled, that the people could not question or interrupt the enrollment committee regarding enrollment or disenrollment is flat out not true and Russell Butch Murphy is living proof this is the case!

Prayer Request for the Schenendoah Family of Oneida Nation

I received this prayer request from friends of the Oneida Nation. See THIS VIDEO as to how code enforcement works at the Oneida Nation

Please add the Schenandoah family to your prayers..

On March 14, 2012 Diane Schenandoah received notice from the Oneida Nation of New York that her log cabin would be inspected by their Codes Enforcement Officer. In that order it states that she must cease and desist from repairing her cabin on Oneida Territory homeland. OP: Cease and desist? Should they want her to keep working on it? Diane Schenandoah, a Faith Keeper for the Oneida people has been working for the past several years towards restoring her mother "Wolf Clan Mother" Maisie's cabin.

This cabin was the first longhouse for ceremonies on the Oneida Territory. Maisie, Sonny, her family and numerous people have stayed, danced and gathered, prayed. learned and worked on Art over the years. Diane has worked on her Art there for the past 30 years and has been working toward restoring this historical piece of Oneida Territory which has been in need since the passing of Maisie.

Diane is praying for a peaceful and fair resolution and has agreed to allow an inspection. There is a great need for peace and healing after the previous forced police inspections which left many evicted and homeless. She is Praying for Fairness with Integrity in the name of peace and concessional resolve.

We ask for your prayers that;

That the "Oneida Nation" work with Diane for repairs to go forward and that our Creator God will provide the necessary resouces for completion.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reconciling Moral Outrage at Tribes Like Snoqualmie, Pechanga, Pala, Redding and Chukchansi, with Self Determination

I posted this way back in June 2007 and it still does apply. We are on vacation and hope you remember this post

I hope from what you read here, you do NOT get the impression that we are against tribal gaming. That is not true. The links tell the story of what's happening at Pechanga, Snoqualmie in Washington State and other reservations. Feel free to comment, they are open.

Tribal gaming has helped many tribes in CA, come out of poverty, Pechanga included. Many of the Pechanga people are uneducated and I remember they were so excited when they qualified for a Target credit card. Unfortunately, with success, greed soon follows. Instead of helping all their people, including those they placed in a moratorium hold, who rightfully belonged to the tribe they looked at who they could get rid of to increase their per capita. And, unfortunately, the money hasn't made everyone happy.

But the facts are clear, most tribes have not treated their people as abominably as Pechanga, Redding Rancheria, Picayune Rancheria, Snoqualmie and others have treated their people. In fact it's more like Tribal Terrorism

I have expressed earlier that I am FOR expanded gaming, for those tribes that haven't gotten to the table yet.

Reconciling MORAL OUTRAGE at Pechanga Tribe with Self Determination

Here is an excellent article by Sheryl Lightfoot about how to support sovereignty issues, while not supporting the actions when they are morally repugnant, such as Pechanga's disenrollment of 25% of their tribe in order to enrich the remaining members.

Sheryl Lightfoot Article

In order to be sovereign nations, we must act like sovereign nations. But that does not mean that in order to support self-determination in principle, we need to agree with every decision of other sovereign nations. Nation-states in the international system do not always agree with the internal actions of other nation-states, yet they nearly always accept the principle of the equal sovereignty of all nation-states within the international system (with certain notable exceptions like the Iraq invasion or humanitarian interventions). When a nation-state, a group of nation-states, or private citizens of other nation-states disagree with the internal actions of another nation-state, there are a number of possible avenues of action.

First, sovereign nation-states can register a diplomatic complaint with the government of the offending nation-state. This is done all the time in the international system. The U.S. Department of State often drafts and delivers letters of protest to the diplomats and officials of other governments over areas of disagreement. Likewise, the executives of our indigenous nations have the right, if not the moral responsibility, to send letters and make phone calls of complaint directly to the executives of the Cherokee Nation, expressing their concern over the disenrollment decision. This can be done while supporting the inherent right of an indigenous nation to determine its own membership.

Another tactic which can be employed by other indigenous nations or the private citizens of other nations is the art of moral persuasion, or ''moral suasion,'' as it has also been termed. This involves a campaign of exposure and embarrassment. (OP: This is what we've been pursuring for 8 years now) This tactic has most often been employed in international human rights campaigns, with the purpose being to expose the immoral government action in the media and open up international discussion in order to embarrass the target government into changing its policy to better conform to international norms. This was done in the early days of the campaign against apartheid in South Africa and has been used often by groups like Amnesty International to urge governments to stop human rights abuses. OP: Now, tribes like Pechanga practice APARTHEID on their reservations.

My view is this:

As mentioned on other sites, tribal sovereignty is something that should be nurtured and cherished. Many now believe that the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians from Temecula, CA will be responsible for the quick erosion of sovereignty, that tribes have fought for for centuries. The question was asked, "what could be done?".

Frankly, economic sanctions of another nation, plus public embarrassment may be the only course of action that is effective. For instance, in South Africa, it was their SOVEREIGN RIGHT as a free nation to impose apartheid on their country.

What recourse did civilized countries use to bring down this hateful policy? Economic sanctions and world ridicule of the policy. No trade, no travel, no money. Final result, end of apartheid and a welcome back to South Africa into the world community.
Similarly, citizens of the United States (OP: AND California especially) can impose their own economic sanctions on the Tribal Nation of Pechanga by boycotting their nation.

Stop patronizing their casinos, hotel, restaurants and their powwows. Let them know that we do not agree with their system of denying civil rights to their people and until they follow their own tribal law, citizens of our country will NOT support their nation, but will patronize (OP: In other words, support tribal gaming elsewhere) their competitor nations.

Also, letting state and federal representatives know that we expect them not to support a nation that would treat its citizens this way, especially NOT to allow them increased monetary benefits by expanding their casino slot machines. OP: BIA? HELLO? ANYONE THERE? Larry Echohawk, your righteousness is calling, it misses you.

Readers, there are 250 members of the band that were disenrolled and 500 people who are caught in Pechanga's illegal moratorium (illegal in that SOVEREIGN nation, against the sovereign nation of Pechanga's own constitution) Pechanga and its chairman, Mark Macarro deserves no benefit from violations of their laws and against citizens of the United States. Chukchansi has exterminated 70% of it's tribe, Redding 25%. Elders and children abused by unconstitutional acts under the BIA's watchful eye.

Please ask your friends to read our blog and share it on social media and friends, please let me know your opinion by posting comments.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Cupeno's Trail of Tears; A horrible beginning and now Robert Smith wreaks more sorrow on Pala

Tony Perry of the LA Times has a story of the beginnings of the Pala Tribe, which their Chairman Robert Smith is shredding via disenrollment....

The history of the Pala Band of Mission Indians begins with an event so traumatic that it is known as the Cupeño Trail of Tears. It remains so central to tribal members, they memorialize it in the entryway of the building that has come to symbolize the tribe's modern prosperity: a casino off Interstate 15 in northern San Diego County.

In 1903, U.S. officials forced hundreds of Cupeño Indians, at gunpoint, to move their household possessions, wagons and livestock from their longtime home in what was then called San Jose del Valle, now Warner Springs. A court had ruled that the tribe did not own the land that it had occupied for generations; the new owner had dreams of a resort.

The tribe was herded around Mt. Palomar to a spot beside a Catholic mission in the San Luis Rey River Valley. During the 40-mile forced march, women and children were terrified.

When tribe members arrived at their new home, they found "nothing but tents and the rundown mission," according to the casino display. At the insistence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Cupeño tribe melded with the Luiseño tribe that lived nearby — creating the modern Pala Band of Mission Indians.

Under the hand of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the two groups existed side by side despite occasional rivalries. To this day, descendants of the Luiseño pioneers prefer one cemetery, descendants of the early Cupeño largely prefer another.

One of the survivors of the forced march was Margarita Britten. She was an expert in basket weaving; she and her husband had seven children. At Pala, she became a tribal elder.

The disenrollment controversy involves a decision by the Pala governing board that Britten's father was not an Indian and thus she was not a full-blooded Cupeño. In all, 162 of her descendants have been cut off from sharing in the tribe's profits from its casino, hotel and other business ventures.

Britten's relatives note that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has repeatedly ruled that Britten was a full-blooded Cupeño. And they say it is unfair to expect her descendants to have documents such as birth certificates or marriage licenses that predate the relocation.

Tribal members who have been disenrolled have made plaintive appeals to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, although the agency does not have the authority to overrule the Pala board. Says one appeal:

"Indian ancestry is a priceless personal truth, central to identity, culture and community. It is rooted in individual biology and being, inalterable by the whims of others. Ancestry is not a political status to be erased with the stroke of a pen."

This Week in March 2006, Paulina Hunter Descendent Were Notified of Disenrollment By Corrupt Pechanga Tribal Council Led By Mark Macarro

That's six years that Hunter descendents have been stripped of their tribal citizenship, due to unconstitutional actions by the corrupt Pechanga Tribal Council and by collusion with enrollment committee members, including Bobbi LeMere (who, in a quid pro quo, got her sisters enrolled in the tribe, even though scores of others were in the moratorium  READ Corruption Exposed… )  Ruth Masiel, matriarch of the crime family and mother of councilmember Andrew Masiel Sr. and Frances Miranda, who two years before, had seen to it that her OWN FAMILY members, the descendent of Manuela Miranda were also stripped of their citizenship.

Concerning Disgraceful Actions by the Pechanga Tribal Council

In a notice dated August 7, 2006, the descendants of Paulina Hunter, an original allottee of the Pechanga Indian Reservation, were informed that the Pechanga Tribal Council and the Pechanga Enrollment Committee had denied their appeal to over-turn the Enrollment Committee’s earlier decision to disenroll the family.

The Hunter Family members were disenrolled in March of this year when the Enrollment Committee concluded that their ancestor, Paulina Hunter, was not a Temecula Indian.
Along with disenrollment notices from the Enrollment Committee, a memo from the Tribal Council explained that it had decided that a law passed by the Tribe’s governing body in July 2005 to bar future disenrollments applied to all tribal members except the Hunter Family.

The disenrollment of the Hunter family was initiated when several statements were presented to the Enrollment Committee claiming Paulina Hunter was non-Indian or not a member. One such letter came from a convicted felon serving time in the California State Prison system for child molestation.

In response to the allegations, the descendants of Paulina Hunter provided numerous documents as proof that Paulina Hunter was indeed of Indian ancestry and was an original Pechanga/Temecula Indian. These documents were required to be certified, while the "so-called evidence" against the family was neither sworn, nor certified. They disregarded evidence, while accepting hearsay.

In fact, a report prepared by Dr. John Johnson, the curator of anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, at the request of the Enrollment Committee concluded that a "preponderance of the evidence" from surviving historical records and census documents shows that Paulina Hunter was a Pechanga member who lived in Temecula and was allotted reservation land. There is no greater authority on this issue than Dr. Johnson. The research was almost two thousand dollars, but the tribe was not charged for all the preparatory work that Dr. Johnson had done throughout his career, surely saving the tribe more than $10,000

"My feeling is it's a faulty interpretation of the record to reject this family. Paulina Hunter was definitely a core member of the Temecula Band of Luiseño Indians," Dr. Johnson said. "I don't understand the decision other than it is not based on fact. It is based on conjecture and politics."

The disenrollment of the Hunter family is the second such disenrollment of a large family from the Pechanga Band. Each has occurred just months before scheduled tribal elections for Chairman and Tribal Council.
The expulsions of the 2 families removed significant opposition to the current administration and others running for tribal office.

Each “disenrollment” was done in violation of both tribal and federal laws which are intended to protect the rights and privileges of tribal members.

Specifically, the members were denied the due process and equal rights protections provided in the Indian Civil Rights Act, as well as language in the Band’s Constitution and Bylaws which mandates that tribal officials uphold the individual rights of each member without malice or prejudice. The disenrollments reduced the Pechanga Band's enrollment by nearly 30%, and each enrolled member, including those responsible for the violations of human and civil rights, could reap additional profits in the tens of millions of dollars.

Here are some of the infractions the Bobbi LeMere led committee committed:

The Appeal Procedures state that the purpose of the appeal is in identifying any infraction to the disenrollment procedure or any unfair and/or partial handling of a disenrollment case pursuant to Procedures § 9, page 4. The Enrollment Committee committed numerous errors or infractions of fundamental Pechanga law and procedural Pechanga law as follows:

1. Knowingly violated the will and intent of the General Council by continuing disenrollment proceedings after General Council’s vote to suspend all disenrollment;
2. Erroneously made determinations in contradiction of Dr. John Johnson’s anthropological report prepared on behalf of the Enrollment Committee;
3. Erroneously based disenrollment on an issue allegedly found in the enrollment application which applies to persons applying for membership after 1996;
4. Erroneously relied on a personal statement of recognition from the Dept. of Interior 1928 application over numerous other more credible sources;
5. Erroneously relied on a personal statement from the Dept. of Interior 1928 application of a person who is not a direct ancestor of Appellants;
6. Erroneously interpreted the personal statement in the Dept. of Interior 1928 application that San Luis Rey Mission Indian is not synonymous with Pechanga or Temecula Indian;
7. Erroneously made a finding that the Pechanga Reservation contained distinct Tribes—Temecula and San Luis Rey;
8. Violated the Pechanga Band Constitution by imposing a more restrictive membership standard than contained in Article II: Membership;
9. Ignored the Official Enrollment Book of 1979 as the original source document for determining Membership as stated in the Constitution;
10. Violated the Pechanga Band Enrollment Committee Guidelines by conducting disenrollment procedures without a lawful quorum and by reviewing disenrollment cases out of order for the purpose of stacking the Committee;
11. Contradicted previous actions and decisions of the Enrollment Committee;
12. Failed to indicate any mistakes or irregularities in the Appellants enrollment and failed to conduct the review of the Appellants’ case in a fair and/or impartial manner;
13. Violated the Indian Civil Rights Act by retro-actively applying 1996 Enrollment Application to Appellants;
14. Violated Constitution and Disenrollment Procedures through application of more restrictive standards;
15. Acted negligently in the review of the Appellants case.

Council member Andrew Masiel should have recused himself, as he was judging an appeal on an issue in which he had guided his MOTHER and his aunt, Ihrene Scearce.

Corruption, Greed, Denial of Civil Rights, Theft, Dishonor, all in the month of March....

Monday, March 19, 2012

Terminated Pala Members Sue Federal Government. Pala Acted OUTSIDE their Constitution. BIA Wrong to Accept New Constitution without Election

Edward Sifuentes from the North County Times has the details of what happens when a tribe strips the citizenship from their people

A woman with a blood disease lost her health insurance, a young woman starting college could lose her scholarship, a man could lose his job and a woman with a newborn baby could lose her home.

All these and many other hardships were the results of the Pala Band of Mission Indians' decision to remove more than 160 people from its tribe, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court earlier this month.

The lawsuit is asking the Bureau of Indian Affairs to step in and restore the former Pala members' benefits, including the estimated $150,000 a year in casino revenues that go to each member; health insurance coverage; and their ability to participate in tribal government.

Escondido attorneys Thor Emblem and Tracy Emblem filed the lawsuit March 5 on behalf of about 60 former members of the Pala tribe.

The attorneys declined to comment on the case.

The families "will suffer immediate and irreparable harm and request immediate action to restore their ... tribal benefits while their appeal of the (tribe's) actions are pending review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs," the lawsuit states.

Last year, the Pala tribe, which owns a large casino and resort near Fallbrook, removed from its membership rolls eight people who were descendants of a woman named Margarita Brittain, saying they did not have sufficient Pala heritage to belong in the tribe.

Earlier this year, the tribe expelled an additional 154 people who were also Brittain descendants.

After an appeal, the Bureau of Indian Affairs recommended that the first eight people be allowed back into the tribe. Pala has not said whether it plans to honor the BIA's recommendation.

In court documents, the 60 people say they were illegally kicked out. They argue that the tribe illegally changed its constitution in 1997 without holding an election allowing all tribal members an opportunity to vote on the new constitution.

One of the changes in the constitution was that the tribe's executive council, a five-member panel, could remove individuals from the tribe. People expelled from the tribe can appeal to the BIA, but the federal agency can only recommend whether to allow people back in.

Under the previous rules, the BIA was the final arbiter on membership disputes, according to court documents.

The attorneys argue in their lawsuit that the BIA was wrong to accept the new constitution without an election.

BIA officials could not be reached for comment. OP: Does BIA want fewer Indians?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This Week in March 2004, The Corrupt Pechanga Tribal Council Led By Mark Macarro Allowed the Disenrollment of The Manuel Miranda Descendents.

This week in 2004, Mark "No business of the White Man" Macarro, head of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, allowed the enrollment committee to disenroll the descendents of Manuela Miranda.  These descendents were family to committee member, Frances Miranda, a hateful person.   Here's one story of that family. 

An article from Vince Beiser from 2006 is still worth the read for those who don't know what gaming has done. We will be bringing back older articles to help those new readers find out what is happening in Indian Country while Congress turns a blind eye.

For many Native American tribes, the success of their gambling operations ends a run of misfortune and dispossession that dates back to when white men first dubbed them Indians.

Since full-scale reservation gambling was sanctioned by Congress in 1988, its annual take has grown to some $20 billion, with more than one hundred tribes doling out profits directly to their members.

The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians whose reservation is a patch of largely useless scrub-and-rock desert southeast of Los Angeles, rake in well over $200 million a year from a 522-room casino/resort with eight restaurants and 2,000 slot and video-poker machines. The cut for each Pechanga adult: $270,000. But if being an Indian has taken on the imprimatur of wealth, high stakes have also led tribes to deal some of their people out.

Bands from California to Connecticut have expelled thousands of long-standing members, often on flimsy grounds of inadequate Indian ancestry. By thinning their numbers, casino-operating tribes have figured out how to split the pot fewer ways.

This decision concerns the disenrollment of John Gomez Jr., whose entire extended family, consisting of 135 adults and all of their offspring, was declared in 2004 no longer to be Pechanga. Gomez and his relatives are descended from Manuela Miranda, who all sides agree was part of the Temecula tribe from which the Pechanga originate.

Decades after the federal government established the Pechanga reservation in 1882, Miranda's granddaughter - Gomez's grandmother - left the impoverished area. But Gomez's people never stopped identifying themselves as Pechanga. Gomez's father returned to the reservation every summer when he was a boy, and later he took his children there for family occasions.

In 1998, Gomez settled his own family a few miles from the reservation, in the town of Temecula, and he soon went to work for the tribe as its legal analyst. His brother has served as the executive chef of the casino's restaurant, his cousin was the casino's head of human resources, and other relatives helped draft the tribe's constitution. In 2002, Gomez and a cousin were elected to the Pechanga enrollment committee. Deluged with applications after the opening of its first gambling hall in 1995, the tribe imposed a moratorium the following year on accepting new adult members, although children of existing members were still permitted to apply. OP: The moratorium was pushed by the splinter group under the guise of allowing the enrollment committee to "catch up" on applications. It was really put there to keep rightful people from their "share" of per capita

Some of the new applicants were undoubtably opportunistic pretenders, but others had lived their entire family lives as unquestioned tribal members and simply never had reason to formally enroll. According to Gomez, he and his cousin found that the committee was not processing applications filed before the moratorium and was failing to enroll some members' children. Only after he called for an investigation, says Gomez, did questions about his own ancestry arise.

The Pechanga authorities (Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro) say they are just belatedly enforcing long-standing rules regarding descent and historical residence, the specifics of which are outlined here. Most tribes require that members show proof of a blood quantum: a minimum of one full-blooded grandparent or great-grandparent. But with so much at stake, how that Indian status is proven has become a matter of intense dispute. Macarro's ancestor called a subsequently disenrolled Indian, Paulina Hunter, aunt. Lineal descent allows Macarro to say, my "great-great grandmother was an Indian. Macarro grew up in Colton, not on the reservation.

When a former chairman of California's Redding Rancheria tribe and seventy-five members of his extended family were disenrolled in 2004, they dug up the remains of two ancestors for DNA testing. Three experts agreed that the genetic evidence confirmed that they were bona fide Redding Rancherias. Yet the tribal council stuck to its decision - meaning that the roughly $3 million in casino payouts that had been going to the ousted clan now gets divided up among the tribe's remaining 230 members.

This memo, from a group that calls itself the Concerned Pechanga People, contained the first claims that Gomez's family did not meet the criteria for membership. (Several of these "concerned" Pechanga just happened to be related to the enrollment committee members Gomez had accused of stonewalling applications.) When it was presented to the full committee in December 2002, the memo set off a series of accusations and counter-accusations about the illegitimacy of other members' Pechanga roots. At one point seven of ten members on the enrollment committee were forced to step down pending reviews of their own status.

In other tribes, too, disenrollment has been used as a club to settle scores and to protect political power. An entire family was expelled from one California band after its members pushed for a recall election of the tribal council. Part of the impetus for the Redding Rancheria disenrollments, according to the tribe's own lawyer, was "all kinds of interpersonal things. There were a lot of things family members did to others that were resented."

Forced to prove their Pechanga lineage, Gomez and his family searched through government archives and boxes tucked away in homes, eventually amassing hundreds of historical documents, many as old as the baptismal record from 1864 catalogued here. But using such documentation to "authenticate" Indian ancestry is dubious at best. I

n the late nineteenth century, census takers simply eyeballed those living on reservations to determine whether they were one-quarter, half, or full-blooded Indian. Indians themselves, fearing their land would otherwise be confiscated, often felt compelled to say they were white or Mexican. Indeed, California municipalities offered bounties on Indian scalps until the late nineteenth century, giving their owners an obvious incentive to hide their true identity.

John Gomez's case hinges not on his ancestor's blood, but as the ruling examines here, on where precisely Manuela Miranda lived at a specific time. In 1875, the Temecula were forced off their land by neighboring ranchers backed by San Diego County sheriffs. Many of them drifted away to towns; others resettled in the nearby Pechanga valley, which the government eventually designated as the Pechanga reservation.

Over the years most residents abandoned this inhospitable land, and the reservation began to be repopulated only after the community finally got electricity in 1970. The tribe's constitution, passed in 1978, says that members must prove "descent from original Pechanga Temecula people."
But in 1996 the tribal council tightened the rules, declaring for the first time that members had to have an ancestor from the subset of Temeculas who relocated to the Pechanga valley.

Gomez and his family point to minutes from the 1996 meeting indicating that the more stringent qualifications were not meant to be applied retroactively to established members such as themselves. Manuela Miranda was born in 1864 in the Temecula village. She never knew her father, and her mother died when she was five, at which point she went to live with an older half-sister. After the ranchers pushed them out of the village, the half-sister moved to the Pechanga valley and a teenage Miranda was soon married off to a non-Indian, with whom she settled and eventually had tn children in nearby San Jacinto.

As is indicated here, the enrollment committee acknowledges that Miranda identified herself as an "Indian of the Pechanga Reservation" in a 1916 probate record. But at the age of sixty-four, when applying to have her name added to a new federal listing of California Indians, she said otherwise. Miranda's complicated relationship to her tribe is far from exceptional. Large numbers of Indians have moved off their reservations, often with the encouragement of government programs. And marriage outside the tribe and race has been commonplace since the late nineteenth century.

In fact, today fewer than half of all Indians even claim full-blood status. Unfortunately for Gomez, the enrollment-committee members with ties to the Concerned Pechanga People were reinstated before his case was considered: in resuming their positions, they were able to rule against him. The committee states here that Miranda never relocated to the Pechanga valley, and therefore her progeny are not Pechangas. Yet Gomez's family insists that Miranda kept in close contact with her relatives on the reservation, and in affidavits elderly tribal members have sworn that they always viewed her as one of their own.

Even though Miranda's half-sister also lived off the reservation for many years, the committee decided that her living descendants are members in good standing. (One of these descendants, Frances Miranda, is among the enrollment-committee members who voted to remove Gomez.) For her people and for each of the remaining 850 adults in the tribe, the ouster of Gomez's clan raised their individual share of casino money by some 15 percent.

Gomez's disenrollment does not mean that he is not an Indian (as is made clear here) but it does put him outside the Pechanga tribe, costing him more than his monthly casino check, his job, and the health and life insurance that came with it. He is now barred from visiting ancestor's grave sites. His grandmother is no longer allowed to attend classes at the reservation's senior-citizen center. And his cousins' children have been expelled from the Pechanga elementary school, where they were learning the tribe's language. (Members of Gomez's family also made up the core of the tribe's softball team, and their expulsion forced the Pechanga to withdraw from intertribal play.) For others, disenrollment does mean that they are declared no longer to be Indians of any sort. Thus they lose government scholarships, job training, and other benefits reserved for Native Americans.

Most federal programs require that recipients be at least one-quarter Indian, but a tribe's judgment is frequently the only proof of that blood quantum. Members of Gomez's family can attest to this dilemma: since being disenrolled many of them have lost their federally funded Indian health care. There are now more than one thousand people fighting ejections from California tribes alone, and far more are embroiled in similar disputes nationwide. Yet for the disenrolled there is little recourse.

Gomez followed the protocol specified here and appealed this decision to the tribal council, which, predictably, also ruled against him. Next he turned to state and federal courts, hoping they would be able to settle conflicting interpretations of tribal law and historical record. But the same sovereignty that allows Indian tribes to run casinos and sell fireworks on their lanes also puts them largely outside the jurisdiction of the courts. A federal judge, ruling last September on another California case, wrote, "These doctrines of tribal sovereign immunity were developed decades ago, before the gaming boom created a new and economically valuable premium on tribal membership." Although the judge was unwilling to challenge the 1978 Supreme Court decision that made membership an internal tribal matter, she nevertheless found the case "deeply troubling on the level of fundamental substantive justice."

Gomez recently helped form the American Indian Rights and Resource Organization, which is calling on Congress to address the current spate of disenrollment abuse. The group has staged a series of protests, including one in January at the annual Western Indian Gaming Conference in Palm Springs. As Gomez and a few dozen others picketed outside, their former tribal compatriots were inside the city's capacious exhibition hall, cutting deals from prospective caterers. more protestors may join Gomez's side: in March the Pechanga started disenrollment proceedings against another ninety of its adult members. American Indians, it appears, are still being driven from their lands, their heritage stolen from them.

But today the ranchers are other Indians, and bounties can exceed $290,000 a head.

Pala Disenrollments Discovered by LA TIMES; Is Robert Smith, Chairman of Pala Lying?

The Los Angeles Times has finally caught wind of what is happening in California's Indian Gaming Country. THe link to the full story is at the end of this excerpt, we recommend that you SHARE the story on Facebook and join the comments.

The shameful disenrollments at Pala are in the news.

But now, renewed doubts about Britten's lineage are at the root of a divisive "blood quantum" dispute roiling the 1,000-member Pala Band of Mission Indians, formed by the fusion of the Cupeño and Luiseño bands.

At issue is whether Britten was a full-blooded Indian. OP: That issue was settled by the BIA decades ago.

The governing board of the Pala Band in the last year has "disenrolled" some 162 descendants of Britten, cutting them off from their monthly share of the tribe's profit from casino, hotel and other business ventures, about $7,500 a month, in addition to health insurance and other benefits.

The Pala dispute echoes those at other Indian tribes in California and elsewhere, where money has complicated disputes over identity, nationhood and personality conflicts, according to David Wilkins, professor of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota and a member of the Lumbee tribe in North Carolina.

"Somewhere, as tribes have tried to reconstruct their sense of nationhood, particularly in tribes with casino money, they hit upon disenrollment as a way to settle disputes over personality issues and money," Wilkins said.

The American Indian Movement estimates that upward of 3,000 tribal members from two dozen tribes in California and other states have been "disenrolled" in the last 15 years. "Tribes are being destroyed by it," Wilkins said.

Firms now offer DNA testing to prove Indian ancestry, while "disenrollment clubs" offer succor to those no longer welcome in their tribes. Angry websites collect accusations of betrayal.

Robert Smith, Pala's strong-willed chairman, is not moved by the appeals of those who have been disenrolled, nor by the dire assertions of Wilkins, nor by recommendations from Bureau of Indian Affairs officials to reverse the disenrollment decisions.

Smith said evidence shows Britten's father was a white man, not an Indian, and thus Britten and her progeny were not full-blooded Indian.

"This is not about money, this is about what's right," Smith said during an interview at the casino's food court, to the plink-plink of nearby slot machines. "I've heard all the arguments about Margarita Britten. All the old people knew: She was only half-Indian." OP: All the current people know, Robert Smith is a tyrant.

Read more about Pala Disenrollments

Learn more about tribal disenrollments in CALIFORNIA:

Redding Rancheria Disenrollment

Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians Disenrollment

Corrupt Tribal Councils

Friday, March 16, 2012

Attorney Jon Velie, Cherokee Freedmen attorney, Fighting for the Individual Indian's Rights

Attorneys litigating the ongoing Cherokee Freedmen case spoke during a law symposium held March 1 at the University of Oklahoma College of Law in Norman, Okla.

Freedmen attorney Jon Velie spoke first and said along with representing the Freedmen he is championing individual Indian rights. Those rights have come in direct conflict with sovereign tribes as they gain more power “than they’ve ever had,” he said. OP: The question is WHY isn't the Native American Rights Fund helping the individual Indian with their civil rights struggles against CORRUPT tribal councils?

He said the question he has been asking is how is that power being used and how is that power affecting individual Indian people’s rights? OP: Many councils have abused their power and ignored the will of their people

Velie explained to the audience who the Cherokee Freedmen are and why they have been in litigation with the CN. He said the Freedmen are Cherokee Indians of African descent, are descendant’s of slaves “that were held by Cherokee masters” and were part of the slave industry that was regulated by the CN.
There are likely 25,000 Cherokee Freedmen descendants today. About 2,800 are officially registered with the CN, and the rest “are on the outside looking in,” he said.

“We have the Cherokee Nation in probably its most lucrative time period, and we have people really suffering on the financial side who do not get to participate in that,” Velie said. “And that’s just on the benefits side. More of them are frustrated by the loss of their identity – being able to be Cherokee.” OP: Chad Smith could fly in a private jet, yet he successfully got rid of his slave descendents.

Velie also explained what the CN is today, and said it is the largest or second largest tribe in the country comprised of ethnic Cherokees, Shawnees and Delawares. He added because the CN chronicled its history better than other tribes it is known that the Cherokee Freedmen once held political power in the tribe including positions on the Tribal Council.

“We see these people have been very important and have been a part of this tribe for a long time,” he said.

Cherokee Freedmen derived their rights from the 1866 Treaty between the CN and the United States following the Civil War, Velie said. The CN had sided with the Confederacy and the treaty allowed the CN to rejoin the union following the war with some stipulations, which included giving rights of Cherokee citizens to former slaves and Freedmen living within the CN.

In 2003, a group of Cherokee Freedmen sued the CN to regain those rights, which they lost in 1983. Even though the U.S. had stated the 1866 Treaty was in “full force and effect” when it came to the rights of Freedmen citizens, Freedmen were not allowed to vote in the 2003 CN election.
Velie said the Freedmen sued because they were denied the right to vote, and after initially taking the position that it would not recognize the 2003 election, the federal government reversed its decision.

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was paid nearly $120,000 by Cherokee Nation Enterprises (now Cherokee Nation Businesses) to lobby on the tribe’s behalf, influenced the U.S. government’s reversal, Velie said.

Vann v. Norton was the Freedmen lawsuit filed in 2003, but the defendant’s name has changed over the years as the Secretary of the Interior’s name has changed. Last November, a federal judge dismissed the eight-year-old case, at the time called Vann et al v. Salazar, and transferred the last remaining lawsuit involving the Freedmen, Cherokee Nation v. Nash, back to the U.S. District Court in Tulsa where it waits to be heard.

In 2006, Freedmen gained back their citizenship and the right to vote following a Cherokee Judicial Appeals Tribunal ruling in Allen v. CN Registrar. However, the following year, Cherokee voters, in a special election, voted to amend the tribe’s 2003 Constitution and the Freedmen lost their citizenship rights again. The amendment required CN citizens to have an ancestor with Indian blood on the Dawes Roll. Many Freedmen did not meet this requirement.

Velie explained the federal government never approved the 2003 CN Constitution that was amended in 2007 to prevent Freedmen citizenship.

Through a May 2007 court injunction, about 2,800 Freedmen currently have citizenship and voting rights while they wait for the Nash case to be heard.

The Nash case involves five random Cherokee Freedmen and the Secretary of the Interior who have been sued by the CN. Velie is representing the Freedmen involved.

Velie said it “preposterous” that an Indian nation is suing its own citizens in federal court for standing up for its rights.

He added the CN’s position in the Nash case under the leadership of Principal Chief Chad Smith was “very dangerous” because the tribe’s attorneys were prepared to argue the 1866 Treaty was “abrogated” or repealed by the U.S. If that is so, then the other components of the treaty – the re-establishment of government to relations between the U.S. and CN and the establishment of tribe’s current boundaries are also abrogated.

“It’s not just dangerous for the Cherokee Nation but also dangerous for all Indian tribes because treaties sit as this relationship between nations,” he said. “A nation without a treaty has less power than a nation with a treaty, and you don’t see tribes argue against treaties very often.”

However, if the Cherokee Freedmen win the case it could have implications for all Five Civilized Tribes that includes the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole Nations because those tribes all had slaves and subsequently their Freedmen were given citizenship rights in 1866, Velie said. Each of the five tribes also has a Freedmen roll as part of their Dawes Roll.

Though the Redbird case of 1906 gave the five tribes the right to determine their tribal citizenship, it did not allow the tribes to ignore treaties that established citizenship rights for its Freedmen members, he said.

Velie added time and time again in the late 1800s and early 1900s the courts reaffirmed the Freedmen’s civil rights, yet Freedmen are again being forced to return to court to fight for their rights.

He said the questions in court could be: should a tribe have a right to determine its own citizenship and what gives an individual election official, a temporary elected official, the right to take away the birthright of another individual Indian?

“It’s something that should be thought of by people that govern Indian tribes. Think about this membership thing. Do we really want to have the absolute right to kick our own people out of our own nations?”

OP: Read this article on Tribal Citizenship:

CASINO CRIMEWATCH: Car Thief Tries to Kill Sheriff's Deputies at Rincon Casino. They Shoot and MISS

Car thief tries to kill deputies who OPEN FIRE on him at RinconTribal Casino.

At least one deputy opened fire today on a suspected auto thief -- missing him -- when the suspect allegedly tried to run three of them over with a stolen pickup truck in front of Harrah's Rincon Casino.

The uninjured suspect made a failed attempt to evade arrest by fleeing on foot following the law enforcement shooting, which happened about 1:15 p.m. in a parking area at the gaming resort in rural Valley Center, sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said.

Deputies had been waiting outside the casino for the suspect to emerge after finding the truck -- reported stolen in Escondido -- parked in the lot, according to Caldwell.

When the still-unidentified man left the gambling hall, he allegedly ignored the deputies' orders to surrender and tried to leave in the pickup.

The shooting was moments later, after the suspect accelerated the vehicle in reverse directly toward the three deputies, Caldwell told news crews.

Following the gunfire, the man tried to drive the truck over a landscaped median but only managed to get it stuck on a roadside hedge, Caldwell said.

She said he then jumped out and ran into a nearby residential area, where deputies found him and took him into custody a short time later

Related Stories:

Pechanga Carjacking

Previous carjacking at Rincon:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

After paying out $400,000 To Entice Members to Vote, Reggie Lewis Elected to Chukchansi Council

The Sierra Star News' Carmen George has thefull details of the drama, subterfuge and get paid to vote story at the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians

The General Council meeting was scheduled for Saturday after the council led by Lewis failed the weekend before to reach a quorum, with meetings historically only held quarterly. This time, a $1,000 check was promised to every tribal member that attended, and free rooms at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino for those traveling from outside 70 miles of the rancheria.

An estimated 60 Chukchansi people, including those elected Dec. 3, were not a part of those discussions, barred from attending the General Council meeting on grounds that they were not allowed on tribal properties for 30 days. Salazar said the number was actually about 40 individuals.

They were kept out of the meeting because they were determined to be present at the tribal offices Feb. 27 or 28 during the office break-in in an attempt to seat the four tribal council members elected in December. The newly-elected are against recent disenrollments of tribal members, what Lewis' council has been voting in favor of.

Some tribal members did not receive letters that they were banned from tribal property until Saturday, when trying to attend the meeting or vote. Some stated that they were never present at the tribal offices when the break-in occurred -- purposefully avoiding the offices for fear of retaliation later.

Read More at the Carmen George link above

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Is VIOLENCE the ONLY Way to Get the BIA involved in Tribal Disputes?

It’s disconcerting to look to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for help in tribal disputes, including disenrollments..  Many times, we hear them say “we can’t help” or “it’s an internal matter”.   We saw this to be the case in the recent upheaval that the Chukchansi Resort and Casino.

Take a look at the progression of quotes from Troy Burdick, the BIA’s Central California Superintendant:


The Chukchansi tribal government was formed under rules that, Burdick says, keep federal authorities from stepping in -- even though the BIA has intervened twice in Chukchansi election issues since 1992.

OP:  Mr. Burdick blames ‘the rules’.   

Reached Monday evening, Troy Burdick, the BIA's Central California Agency superintendent in Sacramento, said, "I'm sure there is something we can do to resolve this. We are going to try to do what we can. I don't want to say anything to make it any worse."

OP:  Apparently the rules had changed in ONE day from not being able to step in to.. “I’m sure there’s something we can do.
So the question is WHAT changed?   Was it the violence?   Is the BIA saying that they will step in when there is violence involved?    Is that NOW a course of action at San Pascual and Pala?


Read this editorial in the Fresno Bee
More on San Pascual
Read this NCTIMES story on Pala

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Loss of Tribal Citizenship is WRONG and OFFENSIVE

Dear Congressional Staffers, this is something you should read up on, as you meet with terminated Indians.

I find it disconcerting that in all the years we have had mass terminations of tribal citizenships, no politician has stood up for those Indians who have been harmed by their tribe.  (See:  Like Being Raped and Going to your Rapist for Justice)

When you give it a cute moniker like “disenrollment”, it takes on the context of, say, losing you membership in the P. T. A. And that makes it simpler for a politician to take tribal money and with the phrase, “tribes can choose their own membership” they can avoid taking a closer look at what it really entails.

Take American citizenship, 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, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.

We are talking about treason or overthrowing the government as a serious offense. 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. Putting a “wrong” member on the council or speaking your mind about their business entities can get one stripped of their citizenship.

How many American’s have been stripped of their citizenship, can you name ONE? Did Christopher Boyce, who sold secrets to the Russians, or Robert Hannssen?  NO.  Has Charles Manson lost his citizenship? No. How about American terrorists who advocate death to American and sharia law? Nope, uh-uh, but in Indian Country, the number is in the THOUSANDS. We have tribes like Snoqualmie in Washington, that have stripped citizenship simply for taking a position opposite of the tribal council.

On the Pechanga Reservation in Temecula, Original Pechanga allottee descendents have had their citizenship taken away, along with voting rights, the right to health care, the right to speak at meeting, even when the situation is directly relating to them, such as water rights. It's virtual apartheid. Pechanga, headed my Mark Macarro, the subject of a recall attempt, tried to usurp the water rights of allottees, lying to congressional staffers about how many allottees were still on the reservation. Redding Rancheria even terminated 25% of their tribe, including their FIRST Tribal chairman. We have tribes like Snoqualmie in Washington, that have stripped citizenship simply for taking a position opposite of the tribal council. And the Picayune Rancheria already terminated 50% of their tribe and are looking at more.

We have politicians who turn a blind eye, because stripping citizenship comes now with a cute moniker: disenrollment. 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. Equally confusing, the NAACP in CA has taken money from tribes that violate their people's civil rights. We can't get the ACLU to be interested and the Native American Rights Fund won't help those Native Americans who have lost their RIGHTS.

Politicians in CA who were vehemently appalled over neighbor state Arizona’s stricter immigration enforcement laws, going so far as to shrilly calling for boycotting that state over ‘possible’ civil rights violation, are supporting tribes who have actually stripped voting rights, health care, per capita (now totaling $500 million), elder care, educational assistance. They recently passed the Dream Act providing educational assistance to non-citizens, yet won’t stand up for actual citizens.

They tell themselves “well it’s only 9 people, or it’s only 75 people”. Yet how many does it have to be to make it wrong? 75 Redding tribal members, stripped of their citizenship is akin to 80 million Americans losing theirs. The Picayune Rancheria took away citizenship to fully 50% of their tribal people. When is it wrong, or rather “wrong enough”. Would they stand up for union members who didn’t get to vote? Or what if say, the GOP got 25% of Democrats excluded? Would it be wrong? Of course it would.

It’s past time to take it seriously and to stand up for the rights of the individual Indian.

Our government needs to do its job and stand up for the weak and defenseless. Exercising its moral outrage includes:

1. Eliminate funding for tribes who violate the rights of their people.
2. No longer take land into trust for abusive tribes
3. Place enforcement actions into the Indian Civil Rights Act

Tribes have a right to do wrong, but they shouldn’t be supported by our politicians when they do.

Monday, March 12, 2012

California's Casino Revenue Drops for 3rd Year. What happened to expanded gaming?

Remember when the tribes PROMISED us they'd help balance our budget?  We discussed that here: How’s Expanded gaming worked out for CA?

Remember this commercial against expanded gaming?

California's American Indian gambling industry continued to struggle in 2010 for the third year in a row, a report released last week shows.
It was the longest decline since gambling was legalized 12 years ago, according to the annual Indian Gaming Industry Report compiled by Alan Meister, an economist with Nathan Associates Inc.

One silver lining for the industry in the state was that the rate of decline was beginning to slow, Meister said.
"Although it is a negative, it is an improvement (over previous years)," Meister said. OP: And improvement because the decline wasn't as bad? Isn't an improvement when it's doing better and CA is getting the money promised?

The 66 Indian casinos in California generated an estimated $6.8 billion in revenue, or about 2.5 percent less than the $6.9 billion they took in the previous year. Revenue fell 5 percent from $7.3 billion in 2008 compared to 2009.
Meister blamed the struggling economy for the industry's falling revenue. He said people have less disposable income because many have lost their jobs.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Agua Caliente's Chairman Richard Milanovich Dead at 69; A big loss to CA's Tribal Nations

It's not often we get to meet great tribal chairmen, mostly knowing the lowlifes like Mark Macarro and Robert Smith of Pechanga and Pala, respectively, but having met the chairman a few times and hearing him speak, Richard Milanovich fit's the bill.   The Chairman had been sick with cancer, giving the fight a great effort.  He passed away today at 69.

Here's the press statement:

"Today, we, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, have lost our great leader, Chairman Richard M. Milanovich. He was one of the most well respected Tribal Chairs in the entire Nation. For 28 years, under his leadership and dedication, we became one of the most respected and progressive Tribes in America.

"There was no one like Chairman Milanovich. He was a great teacher, an inspirational mentor, and most of all, a friend. We were fortunate to have his experience, wise counsel and incredible foresight for so long. Chairman Milanovich strongly believed that our younger members of the Tribe must understand the battles that were fought and won. Only through understanding our past can we forge a progressive future for our people and the generations to come.

"Chairman Milanovich was clear about cherishing the past and protecting the future. Under his leadership, our Tribe developed economically, politically and culturally, and we are now in the position to make that our own promise. We pledge to him that we will continue the course that he has so well paved. All Agua Caliente Tribal Members join me today in the mourning of our great leader, but I also know they join me in expressing our profound gratitude for what he did for all of us.

"As Vice Chairman of the Tribal Council, I will assume the responsibilities of Acting Chairman, and pledge to honor and continue to empower the people of our Tribe, with the support of the Council and the Tribal Members."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Unelected Chukchansi Council PAYING for votes: $1,000 travel allowance

Marc Benjamin of the Fresno Bee has the story of today election for Chukchansi Tribal Council.  This special election came after the tribe's incompetent election committee ruled Harold Hammond was ineligible to be council member AFTER he won his election.

Today's Chukchansi tribal council election is unlikely to end the controversy dividing two battling factions.

The faction led by Reggie Lewis, which controls the tribal treasury, has riled the opposition by offering cash to entice members from across California to vote and also attend a general council meeting.

Morris Reid, who leads the rival faction, said the enticements are unusual. Besides, he disputes whether today's election is valid and wonders if members of his group who were duly elected in a contested December election can even get sworn in because of penalties issued against them by the Lewis-led council.

What's at stake is control of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians tribal council and the future of many tribal members now facing disenrollment. If the faction led by Reid -- who was elected in December but then barred from attending meetings at the tribal government complex -- can gain a majority on the council, disenrollments of "qualified Chukchansi" will be halted, Reid said.

OP:   That doesn't mean they will bring back the 600 tribal people the terminated from the tribe. Must mean they only believe in disenrollment when it suits them.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pala Monitors Their Facebook Page!

Yes, my comment was taken down in record time:

Apparently, they didn't like the response.... but it's good to get it on record.

Tribal Casino Crimewatch: Carjacking at Harrah's Rincon

Another carjacking at a tribal casino,no, not Pechanga, this time at Rincon.

A man armed with a handgun took the dark gray Ford Focus from the victim at 5:19 p.m. at Harrahs Rincon Casino , the Sheriff's Department said.

The carjacker was described as a Latino about 25 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 180 pounds. He was wearing black clothing and was last seen heading south on North Calac Road.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sierra Star: Contested Chukchansi Tribal Election on Saturday.

McClatchy President's Award winning journalist Carmen George has an article on the upcome "special" election at Chukchansi

A new Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians tribal council election is planned for Saturday -- long-awaited for Reggie Lewis' council and seen as unjust by the council led by Morris Reid, who was elected as chairman in the Dec. 3 tribal council election.

Richard Verri, an associate with Rossette Attorneys at Law representing Lewis' council, said according to the tribe's constitution, if there is an election dispute, the sitting council remains in place until the dispute is resolved.

Reid said the new election set for March 10 should be considered invalid because Lewis' group broke the tribe's election laws in disqualifying Harold Hammond after he won, with late appeals filed by losers of the election, including chairman Reggie Lewis and treasurer Chance Alberta.

The election process and voting, handled by an independent election agency with votes read aloud to membership Dec. 3, has not been in question by either side.

Ballots sent out for Saturday's new election are only for Hammond's seat -- one of the four tribal council seats won in December.

No word has been given yet about what will happen with the other three seats -- previously won by Reid, Dora Jones and Dixie Jackson.

Saturday's election, scheduled by Lewis' council of four members (two not up for reelection this year and two that lost the election) comes a week and half after a fight broke out Feb. 28 amongst about 20 people outside the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians' tribal office when members supporting Reid's group, who was occupying the office, tried to return with food for people inside.

Injuries included a stabbing and head injury that required medical transport for two men to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.

Reid said he spoke with Troy Burdick again on Monday -- Bureau of Indian Affairs' Central California superintendent -- in hopes BIA will help mediate the standoff. Reid said he also asked, as he has since December, that BIA look at the facts of the Dec. 3 election and make a determination from that.

Last month Burdick said the agency had not made plans to get involved in the standoff and that the tribe should be able to work it out under their own laws.

"BIA has considered this to be an internal tribal matter to be resolved by the Chukchansi," said Chukchansi Jed Davis about what sparked the office occupation. "When there is no court and the tribal council acts as judge, jury and executioner, what are we members to do?

"The federal government has a responsibility to maintain a government-to-government relationship and oversee the millions of taxpayer dollars that have been received by the Chukchansi government."

Lewis' council has disenrolled many tribal members since the Dec. 3 election, including a group of about 70 last month -- what Reid sees largely as a political move, akin to Republicans stripping Democrats of their U.S. citizenship, or vice versa, right before a new election scheduled by the losers.

Lewis' council has maintained that they are only following the tribe's laws and working with the enrollment committee.

Following the stabbing at the rancheria Feb. 28, Madera County Sheriff's Department officers cleared the area of all people except Chukchansi security guards (and later some individuals said to be insurance assessors from Lewis' group who were allowed in the office temporarily). The department remained posted outside the tribal office 24-7 until 2 p.m. Monday in hopes that would give BIA officials enough time to step in and mediate the situation. As of Tuesday afternoon, BIA had still not arrived at the rancheria.

Read the rest of Carmen George’s Article here

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Susan Bradford: Tom Rodgers, Obsessed with Jack Abramoff Much?

Our friend Susan Bradford has a piece on how Jack Abramoff is someone that must be making Tom Rodgers say.."why can't I quit you?"...

If there is a common denominator among the lobbyists who set up Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, it’s that they are a few feathers short of a headdress. Tom Rodgers has got to be the most insane of the bunch as he can’t seem to shake his obsession with Abramoff. To be classified as crazier than Larry Rosenthal, who is reputedly sleeping and boozing his way up the tribal ladder; Roger Stone, a drop out and proud sociopath who swings, smokes pot, and plays Mini-Me to Donald Trump; and Scott Reed, a crazy-eyed fund raiser for Sen. John McCain who decapitates Indian tribes so that he and his allies can take them over, is really saying something.

Yesterday Rodgers crashed a National Press Club event in which Abramoff was speaking to give a long, rambling rant against the superlobbyist. He was flanked by Mark Ranzenberger, the reporter for the Morning Sun which published lies about Abramoff on behalf of mendacious tribal leaders within the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council. After nonsensically blathering about Abramoff for ten minutes during a Q and A session, Rodgers frantically bolted from the room.

The Indians who constituted Rodgers’ posse said that their contacts within the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe enlisted the Carlyle Consulting lobbyist to investigate Abramoff over his efforts to work outside the tribal gaming establishment – including the National Congress of American Indians, an organization established to promote economic development on Indian reservations on behalf of oil interests and the nation’s leading industrialists which were heavily invested in the tribes; and the National Indian Gaming Commission which emerged from the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, legislation sponsored by Sen. John McCain.

(Interesting angle, since Rodgers said that he was principally concerned with Abramoff’s fees, but none of the accusers can keep their story or narrative straight.)

The fictitious Indians controllers of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, who represent the interests of the industrialists within the tribes are heavily influenced by the NCAI, and the tribe’s former lobbyist, Larry Rosenthal of Ietan Consulting, was former Chief of Staff for the NIGC. Both Rodgers and Rosenthal, who set up Abamoff for wrongful conviction, represent the National Indian Gaming Association, the NIGC’s lobbying shop.

Essentially, allies of pseudo-Indians appealed to Rodgers to investigate and take down the super-lobbyist since he was working outside the tribal gaming structures set in place by McCain and the nation’s leading industrialists, and was in the process of upsetting the status quo which had served and profited the nation’s elites so well.

Recently while surfing the Internet, I stumbled upon a blog on Abramoff’s appearance on the obscure Peter Collins radio show in which Rodgers decided to call in.

Rodgers is a self-described whistle blower who credits himself with bringing Abramoff to justice. His heroic efforts amounted to crafting a dishonest narrative and enlisting tribal members to lie to the media and Senate Indian Affairs Committee to run professional rivals into prison on trumped up charges.

I have traveled to the tribes and interviewed the tribal leaders and can assert without reservation that the allegations are false, and that both the tribal witnesses and Rodgers knew they were false.

This lobbyist, the son of a Standard Oil employee, is essentially working on behalf of the oil industry to whom he owes his livelihood and allegiance. The oil companies created Indian tribes and have enlisted poor whites, like those from Rodgers’ Irish Catholic background, to become tribal members. Rodgers has defended the white controllers in Indian Country who have oppressed the genuine Natives and stripped them of their rights, privileges, and inheritance and profited from their victimization.

The Carlyle Consulting lobbyist became interested in Abramoff when the super-lobbyist entered the Texas market to block the casino aspirations of the Alabama Coushatta, an oil-rich Indian tribe that was pursuing an illegal strategy of opening a casino in violation of state law. Abramoff actually tried to force Rodgers’ client to follow the law and honor the wishes of the Texas citizens who overwhelmingly voted to oppose casinos.

According to the tribe’s attorney, Rodgers, who said he was motivated to investigate Abramoff over his high fees, was fleecing the Coushattas by charging them of hundreds of thousands of dollars to subscribe to his news clipping service. He also participated in the Alex Gibney propaganda documentary without the tribe’s permission and was colluding with Louisiana Coushatta Council Member William Worfel, who had instructed Abramoff to block a casino for the Alabama Coushatta – a decided conflict of interest. In fact, Worfel was the mastermind of that campaign. The attorney said that Rodgers, who earns between $400,000 to close to a million dollars a year, was fired for “ethics violations.”

He’s less whistle blower and more show boat who is so desperate for attention that he is willing to do anything. Profoundly aware of his immortality, Rodgers, who is entering his senior years, is reaching for a permanent place in history books as the “whistle blower” who launched the most extensive corruption probe to ever grace Capitol Hill, except that his faux scandal was manufactured and pushed by gaming interests which targeted Abramoff for his effectiveness in blocking the expansion of casinos.

Rodgers did little more than prep tribal members to lie to the media, feed false information to reform groups, and then watch the wheels churn while multi-billion dollar interests guided the investigation to its natural conclusion. He’s only a hero because the narrative he crafted paints him as one, but the truth is, he is pretender.

Yet this alleged whistle blower, who has been shown original documents (from me) which refute his claims has not only refused to apologize but continues to stalk Abramoff and call up radio shows on which he appears. If I were Abramoff’s attorney, I would seriously consider slapping a restraining order on this man as he is clearly obsessed.

Upon hearing Rodgers’ voice, Abramoff hung up on him. According to the Legal Schanuzer blog, “Abramoff apparently sensed that Rodgers’ arrival meant the heat was about to get turned up.” The blogger clearly doesn’t know Rodgers very well. The moment this lobbyist enters the room, the misinformation spirals into the stratosphere. I expect Abramoff had better things to do with his time than shoot the breeze with a mendacious malcontent.

Rodgers maintains that he wanted to focus his attention on two subjects: that Abramoff offered life insurance for elders to apply death benefits to lobbying bills. First, the plan was packaged and promoted by Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff’s employer. Second, the plan is commonly offered to Indian tribes. Life insurance plans sold to tribes are intended to cover debts and bills. In fact, McCain’s fundraisers sold a similar plan to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

The Carlyle Consulting lobbyist also wanted to discuss whether Abramoff paid news reporters for favorable coverage. Let’s see, which is worse? Paying conservative writers to advance conservative arguments on behalf of policy initiatives they support or Rodgers’ method of planting false information in local newspapers, the Washington Post, and New York Times, and enlisting PR firms to blanket the nation with lies to sabotage a professional rival who outperformed him? I suppose it’s a matter of perspective.

Rodgers ended his interview by joking that it’s “about time an Indian gets to ambush a white guy.”

Even though he is merely pretending to be half Indian, Rodgers’ attitude reflects that he is a self-loathing racist who is intent on promoting the mentality of perpetual tribal victimization. In contrast, Abramoff was about empowering the indigenous people.

Rodgers doesn’t need another ethics award, he needs a new hobby. Word on K-Street is that he has recently taken up ballet. Pirouette, anyone?

Susan Bradford is the author of Lynched! The Shocking Story of How the Political Establishment Manufactured a Scandal to Have Republican Superlobbyist Jack Abramoff Removed from Power. For more information, please visit: