Monday, April 30, 2012

Details Coming In On Pechanga's Special Meeting: Hello Internal Revenue Service

Looks like Pechanga's former chairwoman, Jennie Miranda and her tip-stealing son Larry Miranda were in front of the General Council at Pechanga yesterday.

The number that was reported stolen from the tribe is in EXCESS of $50 million.    What is the tax rate on that?    The I.R.S. should be interested.   Just the withholding is $10 million.    And is stolen money taxable by the Franchise Tax Board?    No wonder CA is doing so terribly, if we don't get our criminals paying their FAIR SHARE.

The COMMENTS are OPEN:   What do you think is the proper punishment for stealing from the tribe?

Why is this kept out of the mainstream press?    Was the former chairperson simply being SELF-RELIANT?     When did her tribal council member brother KNOW?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

UPDATE: Pechanga's Former Chairperson To Face Judgement of General Council

Rumors are flying fast and furious from the Pechanga Reservation in Temecula.  

We are hearing talk of threats to members that they MUST vote not to sanction former Chairwoman Jennie Miranda over issues that came to light from Pechanga's internal investigation.   

There have long been rumors of shenanigans involving slot machines sent out of the country, a card dealer's school.

This woman led the charge to have two huge voting blocs removed from Pechanga's tribal membership.  She's going to argue that she did so much for the tribe.  I'm sure that "without her" we never would have gotten a casino.   That's not true of course, though Jennie did work diligently to get one, but then, so would any leader we put in charge.

PECHANGA MEMBERS:     This woman has destroyed some of Pechanga's elders, taken advantage of her position at PDC and is NOT a good person.    She manipulated her mother's vote on the enrollment committee, there is no way that woman, Ruth Masiel was competent to either understand, nor vote on enrollment matters.    That means Jennie would be privvy to the information coming from priveleged communications, much like Potato Head's sister.   She's been fired from the education department.  Is there an investigation as to where all that money has been spent?

TAKE CHARGE, rid yourself of this woman, ban her from your casino and any position at Pechanga.  Do not allow her access to government offices.   Use your CONFIDENTIAL VOTES to be rid of her.

UPDATE:    The details are trickling in.   There will be a subsequent meeting schedule for a vote on the decisions made yesterday.  We'll have updates as soon as we can, please keep checking.

Department of Interior CALL OUT BIA's Central Vally Superintendant and Pacific Region Director

No WONDER the BIA is looked at at incompetent.   They overstepped their bounds in this case, yet where they have clear knowledge of constitutional violations, such as those at Pechanga, they shy away.   GET SOME GOOD, COMPETENT staff in Sacramento.   Amy, is it time to resign in shame?

Ending a disruptive tribal governance dispute, the U.S. Department of the Interior has upheld the right of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians to govern itself and chastised the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for improper intervention in the matter.

In a nine-page decision issued April 18, the department’s Interior Board of Indian Appeals said the BIA’s superintendent for Central California and its Pacific Regional director were wrong to validate a group attempting to unseat Coyote Valley’s duly elected Tribal Council.

Last May, that group met without notice to all tribal voting members and attempted to establish a tribal government of its own, actions that violated the Tribal Constitution. The BIA, without consulting elected tribal leaders, inexplicably recognized the group and its leaders, who then moved to seize tribal funds and files and occupy tribal buildings
In its decision, the Interior Board of Indian Appeals said the BIA’s intrusion into the dispute was unjustified and warned the BIA not to take sides in such conflicts unless action is clearly warranted.

“At no time has BIA identified, as justification for taking sides in the tribal dispute, any required BIA action that prompted BIA’s intervention and adjudication of issues of tribal law at the time of BIA’s decisions,” the board wrote.
“We vacate BIA’s decisions because in issuing them, BIA acted contrary to well-established precedent forbidding such intrusion into tribal affairs in the absence of required Federal action,” the board said.

“We are relieved and we are gratified by the Interior Board of Appeals’ decision,” Tribal Chairman John Feliz, Jr. said. “The Tribal government and the Tribal membership can now continue to build our nation and strengthen our governmental structure without the undue and unnecessary intrusion of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”
On behalf of the Tribe, the chairman expressed appreciation of the legal team who assisted the Tribe, and recognized the Tribal Chief and Tribal Council for their resilience, leadership and diplomacy throughout the appeal process.

“Their responsiveness and proactive decision-making assured the continuity of our tribal government and maintained transparency to our community during this disruptive period,” Feliz said. He also praised the “dedication of our advisers, tribal leadership and members,” calling it “instrumental in our communication with local agencies and our business partners.”

“We are empowered by our membership and our actions continue to reflect the will of the Coyote Valley Band as a whole,” added Patrick Naredo, vice chairman of the Tribal Council. “I sincerely thank our tribal membership for their unwavering support and dedication in preserving the rights of the Coyote Valley Tribal Members and the protection of the Tribe’s inherent sovereignty.”

Since their election, members of the Coyote Valley Tribal Council have developed and adopted a new tribal tax code, streamlined casino operations, and obtained and retained grants that will enhance services to the tribe. Leaders are also working hard to diversify the tribe’s economic base, with plans for a convenience store/gas station as well as a new casino and hotel.

The tribe hopes these initiatives will create jobs for members and outlying communities and increase Coyote Valley’s income stream to allow for improved services.

The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians is a federally recognized Sovereign Tribal Nation located in the Mendocino County community of Redwood Valley. The Tribe operates under a “Document Embodying the Laws, Customs and Traditions of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians” (Governing Document), enacted by the General Council on October 4, 1980
The Interior Board of Indian Appeals decision can be found at

Friday, April 27, 2012

When a Gaming Tribe Cheats Its OWN PEOPLE, Can They Be Trusted To Be Honest With Their Customers?

As a customer, what would you want in an entertainment venue, where games of chance purport to make you a winner? Would honesty be one of those characteristics?

How can customers of tribal casinos across the state, which have stolen from their people, violated their own constitutions, stripped the citizenship of thousands, abused their elders, forced some to dig up ancestors to provide DNA, trust that their slot machines are not rigged?

How can they trust a casino, run by leaders who have embezzled from tribes, be on the up and up. THAT'S what you should be asking yourselves before you go. Think about that before visiting:

Pechanga Resort &

Casino Pala Resort & Casino

Valley View Casino

Win River Casino

Chukchansi Gold Casino

Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino


We wrote about the attempted recall of Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians Chairman Mark Macarro in 2010: The CPP group, this time fronted by: Raymond Basquez Sr., Ed Burbee, Gloria Wright & convicted child molester Vince Ibanez. At a meeting that was designed to elect new PDC (Pechanga Development Corporation) leaders, the CPP presented a petition recalling Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro for nepotism in hiring his wife Holly Cook Macarro as the tribe's lobbyist

THIS WEEKEND there's a huge "special meeting" on some corruption in the tribe. We know that Raymond Sr. and Ed Burbee were seen in Las Vegas together a couple of months back. Was this a collusion between the two to finish what they started?

Does Macarro have the stones to do what is necessary for the tribe whose population he has decimated? Is he protecting his own family from implication? STAY TUNED!


We wrote about an issue that was breaking on some unbecoming conduct by a certain "crime family" of Pechanga. Now, we get information that the tribe is holding a "SPECIAL MEETING" to bring this information to the tribe.  April 29th is only 11 days away.  This should help keep out of town members from coming in on short notice.

We encourage all members to show up.   One vote can make the difference.    QUESTION:  WILL THOSE whose names are on the "list" be allowed to vote?

Here is the agenda for that meeting and it looks serious. They are discussing sanctions. Should activity against the tribe lead to ending of per capita? Or termination of tribal citizenship due to harming the tribe?

READ ITEM E:  Approval of sanctions agains each tribal member.....

What do you think? The comments are open.

TASIN Warns Steinberg and Wright They Do NOT Support SB 1463; Dictates It's Conditions To Senate Leaders (Campaign Contribution Receivers)

Dear President Pro Tempore Steinberg and Senator Wright:

The TRIBAL ALLIANCE OF SOVEREIGN INDIAN NATIONS (TASIN), an intergovernmental association of nine federally recognized tribal governments throughout Southern California, is strongly opposed to SB 1463 (Wright/Steinberg) as introduced on February 24, 2012.
As written, the bill is deeply flawed and undermines tribal sovereignty and the progress toward self-sufficiency that California tribal governments have achieved since voters overwhelmingly supported Indian gaming in 1998, 2000 and 2008. Our opposition to this bill is rooted in its fundamental disregard for the unique government-to-government relationship between the State and California’s tribal governments. Although there are differences of opinion among our member tribal governments and broader Indian Country as to how to proceed with Internetgaming, TASIN is united in its opposition to SB 1463, as written. California tribal governments have made considerable progress over the last decade.
In order to reach consensus, we believe enabling legislation must provide as much stability for the future as possible. Several provisions of your bill would, in the long run, have a significantly destabilizing impact on our brick and mortar businesses.
TASIN is also united in our deep concerns over the following key tenets of your bill:
Sovereignty - Tribal sovereignty must always be respected, thus the requirement for a blanket waiver of tribal sovereign immunity, as proposed by your bill, is unacceptable. OP: Remember when TASINATTACKED the sovereignty of another member nation?
Eligibility – Good public policy would limit a license for an Internet poker site to the entities and tribal governments presently authorized by federal and state law to offer poker games within their brick and mortar facilities. OP: SCREW anyone who wants into the business. WE want it!
Scope of gaming – Expansion of games beyond poker after two years is not acceptable. A bill must be limited to poker-only. OP: Never mind that Masiel's tribe tried to circumvent the law by putting in more slot machines than were allowed, prior to expansion. They were Class II, but the looked like a duck and quacked like a duck..
Exclusivity – Tribes insist that the State Legislature not violate voter-approved compacts and rights and that legislation not be a precursor to expanded gaming over the Internet. We have seen other segments of the California gaming industry seek to expand the scope of gaming in the State and are deeply concerned with the prospect of the expansion of gaming over the Internet going forward. OP: The tribes LIED when they said they would look out for their people. Gaming tribes have stripped THOUSANDS of their citizenship in order to steal the benefits for themselves.
Fees – We believe the license fees and structure of enabling legislation must be equitable and rational in order for California’s brick and mortar gaming businesses to succeed. Modification of a license’s terms after three years does not provide the type of stability necessary to achieve the goals of authorization. OP: We don't want our fees to go up, even though we support raising the taxes of CALIFORNIA citizens.
Accordingly, TASIN is unable to support SB 1463 unless significantly amended to address our many concerns. We encourage the Legislature to continue to be deliberate and judicious about authorization of Internet gambling. We share your goal of ensuring that the outcome is beneficial for the State, Tribal Governments, and the people of California.
Very Truly Yours,

American Indian Rights and Resources Organization Submits to UN Rapporteur UPDATE: Link Added

I have a link to AIRRO’s Submission Full Text Version, but here are the conclusions submitted:

First and foremost, the State should provide an efficient enforcement mechanism for the redress of alleged violations of the ICRA and other tribal and/or federal laws enacted to protect and preserve the rights of the individual Indian. The mechanism should include de novo review by federal courts of tribal court actions, upon the exhaustion of tribal remedies, where violations of the ICRA are or have been alleged. And, in instances where there is no tribal court, individual(s) alleging violations of the ICRA or other human and civil rights violations shall be allowed to file an action in federal court and the federal court shall have jurisdiction to hear the dispute. Tribal officials, as well as State officials, shall not be allowed to invoke immunity from prosecution for alleged rights violations nor shall a tribe’s sovereignty shield its officers, employees, or agents.

The State has previously amended the ICRA, so such action is not unprecedented. The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 changed the ICRA to ensure that defendants in criminal proceedings in tribal courts are afforded the same or similar rights and/or privileges as criminal defendants in the courts of the State. While the rights of criminal defendants were expanded on, no action was taken by the State to “fix” the flaws of the ICRA which affect the basic human and civil rights of those victimized as a result of the ICRA.

Secondly, State agencies, such as the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the State Department, shall have the authority and responsibility to investigate and/or prosecute alleged rights violations committed against indigenous people of the State. At its homepage (, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division clearly states that it does not have the authority to enforce the ICRA. The AIRRO is unaware of any State department or agency which exercises such authority or which will uphold its trust responsibility to protect the rights of the individual Indian.

The BIA shall also be required to review and approve or deny any and all actions taken by tribal governments and/or tribal officials which may affect the rights of an individual or group. Alleged violations of the ICRA shall require automatic review and the BIA shall have the authority to over-rule actions taken in violation of the ICRA or other applicable tribal or State laws. BIA intervention, as a department wide policy can be effective if it has the authority to act and hold violators liable for their actions.

Furthermore, the State must be proactive in addressing the growing number of abuses committed against its indigenous people. The State needs to address the policies, programs, and laws governing the rights of its indigenous people. The State must take action to change the current environment, an environment it created, which allows for and fosters the wholesale denial and abolishment of basic rights.

The indigenous people of the State must also look to the international community, the United Nations, and other intergovernmental organizations for assistance to address the growing number of rights violations occurring in Indian Country.

The AIRRO appreciates this opportunity to submit this information as this conference and consultation is important to the promotion and effectiveness of the Declaration within the State and Indian Country. Please feel free to contact AIRRO at the address listed above or via email at if you require additional or follow-up information.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chukchansi Tribe With Vermin in Leadership Position, Now has BUG INFESTATION at it's HOTEL

Oh, terrific. First we have the scum in their tribal council, but now, the FRESNO BEE REPORTS that there are bugs in the Chukchansi Gold Hotel! ANOTHER REASON TO STAY AWAY. Try putting in a claim for "bedbug" bites at an Indian Casino Hotel. The Chukchansi will send their elders to freeze to death, so don't think they care about you. Officials with the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino near Coarsegold confirmed Wednesday that evidence of "swallow bugs" -- which look nearly identical to their relatives, bedbugs -- was found in its hotel rooms. Employees in the hotel reported swallow-bug bites. Hotel officials brought in exterminators to treat the hotel's Chukchansi tower, which is under renovation, and ensure the bugs were not in other areas of the hotel and casino. The Picayune Tower of the facility was not affected by the bugs, said Matt Olin, the resort's manager. "We are instituting a more aggressive monitoring program, routine deep cleaning, and have retained multiple pest control experts to ensure the cleanliness of our facilities," Olin said. Jill Yaeger, Madera County Environmental Health Director, said the "bedbugs" report was only the second in a Madera County hotel in the past five years. But bedbug reports are on the rise in California, she said. Her department, which does not have jurisdiction over the rancheria, was made aware of the problem after one phone call came in from the public, she said. She said her department is advising hotel officials Read more here: Fresno Bee

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pechanga's Crime Family Despised by CPP 20 years Ago.

With the upcoming special meeting called about the Pechanga Band of Luiseno's Casino Investigation coming this Sunday, we reach back toa post from 4 years ago about the CPP not liking Jennie Miranda, whose grandmother was the matriarch of the PCF (Pechanga Crime Family). It's time for the CPP to look within and do waht is right. UPDATE: Questions include: Are the CPP truth tellers, or outrageous liars?
Would they lie about Jennie Miranda and family? Would they lie about the Hunters and Manuela Miranda descendents? Jennie, which one is it? Are they lying about YOU, or about the Hunters, OR BOTH?

The Concerned Pechanga People have been active in getting rid of two large families from Pechanga. But, according to this flyer from 1992, they absolutely DID NOT like some of the people that they subsequently conspired with to remove the Manuela Miranda and Hunter Clans. Here's the flyer:

The CPP accuse Jennie Miranda (former spokeperson for Pechanga and mother of thief Larry Miranda, soon to be indicted) of "being unfair to people" and telling "lies" and wanting to bulldoze sensitive sites and burial grounds. AMAZING that after all this, the CPP would work with Jennie to use her mother AND Frances Miranda to eliminate people.

Does this sound like someone who cares about the tribe, or themselves? CPP, how could you turn on your own people, with people like this?

And Enrollment Committee HOW could you trust people like this? And we all know, Frances hasn't got any nicer with age.

Santa Ysabel Tribe Owes County $3 MILLION.

The future of the small Santa Ysabel Casino in North County is in doubt following a recent arbitration judgment ordering the tribe to pay the county more than $3 million for fees it had agreed to pay in 2005 but never did.

Just this month, the county began the process of freezing the casino’s bank accounts.

The casino has struggled since it opened five years ago because of its remote location, off state Route 79 south of Lake Henshaw and north of Santa Ysabel in the backcountry. Documents show that in its first three years, the casino lost $24 million. But the depth of its problems have never been laid out so clearly as they were in recent court filings.

In 2005, the tribe entered into an agreement with the county as part of its compact to operate a casino. The agreement was for the tribe to contribute funds annually for off-site improvements and services such as an additional deputy sheriff, any criminal prosecutions that could arise from its operation, emergency response to traffic accidents and hazardous waste spills, fees to help pay for a District Attorney Tribal Liaison Office, and payment into a fund for services associated with problem gambling.

To date, according to Senior Deputy County Counsel Thomas Bunton, the tribe has paid virtually nothing.

“They never made any significant payments to the county,” Bunton said

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Questioning Pala Chairman Robert Smith's Pala Lineage

One of our commenters had some information on Pala Chairman Robert Smith's ancestry. We have a 160 page letter to the Pala People, here's some questions back to him:

I'd like to share this information about Robert Smith's lineage. I bold/italic the parts I found interesting. (Starting with the Pala website info about the council, where Chairman Smith's profile states he is the grandson of Annie Moro) "Dominguez Moro is chief of police and farm instructor at the Indian reservation at Pala in San Diego County. He is of native stock, of Indian and Spanish lineage, and represents the old aristocratic and land holding element of the old as well as the new California.

He was born at Warner's Springs, in 1870. His grandfather, Jose Maria Moro was chief of the Indian tribes at Warner's Hot Springs. The father of Dominguez Moro, was a Sonoma Indian, was born near San Francisco about 1830, and was brought captive by Ramon Carillo, a Spaniard, to Los Angeles when a boy. He died when his son was a young boy and in the home of his grandfather Dominguez Moro grew up, acquiring a good education. He has been a naturalized citizen of the United States since 1902. For many years he farmed his own land and in 1920 sold his ranch of 1381/k acres at Warner's Hot Springs for ten thousand dollars. This was largely a fruit ranch. He has been chief of police since 1903 and part of the time has been deputized as a United States marshal and deputy constable. In 1893 he married Nicholasa Lubo. They have two children: Annie, wife of Henry Smith, and Katharine.

Mr. Moro comes of a family that has been well off financially for generations, and has always had property to manage. He is a man of strong character, industrious, ambitious, and has a highly respected place in the citizenship in San Diego County."~Published 1922 Now, it says that Mr. Dominguez Moro was of Indian and SPANISH stock. I don't know about you, but to me SPANISH implies SPAIN which is in Europe, and NOT AMERICAN INDIAN. So whatever he is claiming his own blood quantum, go back up his family tree and cut it in half for Dominguez Moro's father, who was according to this article only part Indian. (Dominguez Moro's father's parents are unknown to me, so he may be less than half)Dominguez Moro's mother was the daughter of Jose Maria Moro, of Warner's Ranch (Agua Caliente/Kupa) and she was Native American and Cupeno. I believe that all California Indian descendents should have their blood counted, and that there should be collective support for your rights. However, this information keeps making me think about "what the pot called the kettle." when talking about the disenrollments.

Not only does this article state the SPANISH lineage, but also states that Mr. Moro's father was not from Kupa. As I said before, that information does not matter to me, because he was from California Indian descent (in part) but it may matter to the members and should-be members of Pala because(as I understand it)the Pala governing documents state that the blood counted has to be "of the Band". Furthermore, Annie Moro Smith's 1928 Application #1341(thanks to the Freedom of Information Act you can request this from Riverside, San Bruno National Archives or Washington D.C. National Archives..they have to give you a copy if you request it under FOIA)she states that her father's mother Silvestria Moro was Agua Caliente, but her mother's father Patricio Lubo was Cahuilla, and her mother's mother Beninia Canero was Cahuilla.

(Sorry about the spellings, my photocopy is dark and hard to read.) She also states her father's father was born near San Francisco. She also states on this 1928 Application that her husband Henry Smith is one-quater Indian blood from Agua Caliente. Now I ask you, those who are enrolled as well as those dis-enrolled, what you think of this information? Did you know this? Is this common knowledge at Pala?

I lost track of where this puts Mr. Smith's "blood degree of the Pala Band" at exactly. Perhaps someone else would like to figure it out for me.

California's Special Gaming Fund is Headed Towards Insolvency. Is it Time to END the Monopoly We Voted To Give Indian Tribes?

Governor Jerry Brown, who accepted tens of thousands of dollars from gaming tribes of California has now said there will be no more distributions from the Special Gaming fund, which is headed toward insolvency. TEXT The Press Enterprise has the story No county has benefited from the tribe-supported fund as much as Riverside, which has received $89.6 million since 2003, almost one-half of the mitigation money allocated statewide. San Bernardino County has received $12.6 million, about 6 percent of the total. Now the account is sliding toward insolvency. Revised gaming agreements have redirected some tribes’ payments, shrinking the fund’s balance to $5 million in June 2013, down from $115 million in 2010 and nearly $200 million in the middle of the past decade. “It’s certainly on a downward trend,” said Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit, who leads the local committee that reviews proposals to spend the money. Its demise, he said, is among the contributors to local agencies’ budget problems. Last fall, $9 million in fund money was appropriated to local communities, with $2.5 million going to agencies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Gov. Jerry Brown, though, has ruled out any future appropriations until a “frank discussion” about the fund’s future, he said in a statement when he signed the bill. OP: Is it time to end the monopoly on gaming that we voted to give to Indian tribes? They have, in some cases proved to be much less than honorable, with local tribes Pechanga and Pala now leading that category. The link above has the rest of the story.

Monday, April 23, 2012

UN Special Rapporteur To Hear Human Rights Violations by Tribes Like Pechanga, Snoqualmie, Redding.

James Anaya, the United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, will begin an investigation into the human rights situation of Native Americans, according to the Guardian. A special rapporteur is appointed by the United Nations and receives logistical and operational support, but operates financially independently. Read More on Human Rights Violations in Indian Country The United States became signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010. In a press release from the United Nations office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Anaya said, "My visit aims at assessing how the standards of the Declaration are reflected in U.S. law and policy and identifying needed reforms and good practices." Anaya will travel around America between April 23 and May 4 to conduct investigations in Washington, D.C., Arizona, Oregon, Alaska, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. He will present his findings to a future meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The United States has a checkered, bloody history with its native population, portions of which it denied full citizenship rights until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. The New York Daily News wrote that the US is still in legal wrangles, mostly over land and broken treaties, with a number of tribes. "centuries of oppression" have left Native Americans with high rates of alcoholism, joblessness, and crime, and low education rates. OP: SADLY, that OPPRESSION is now coming from corrupt tribal councils. Joblessness happened because tribes fired native Americans that they stripped citizenship from. Low education rates happened because they got rid of those who were going to college and many young who were left, are more interested in criminal activity and drugs, rather than advancing themselves.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Combating ELDER ABUSE in Indian Country

Indian Country Today has a story on ELDER ABUSE Among Native Americans, the number of American Indian and Alaska Native elders will more than double by 2030, with trends indicating those 65 or older will total 15 percent in 2030, up from 7 percent in 2010. OP: We discussed Elder Abuse at Pechanga Amidst this backdrop, a troubling narrative is emerging. Our elders are under attack, often by the very people who should be caring for them. Unfortunately, Native American elders are no safer than their elderly non-Indian neighbors. It is time for tribal, state, and national leaders to break from the complacency of the past and deal with this issue head-on. The term elder abuse generally encompasses abuse committed against the elderly in a variety of forms, including physical and/or emotional abuse, financial exploitation or willful neglect, such as denial of food or medicine. In a recent study, one in 13 seniors reported some form of mistreatment in the past year. One in 25 seniors was a victim of financial abuse, and one in 50 were the victims of physical abuse. An astounding 90 percent of elder abuse was committed by family members. Unfortunately, these numbers only scratch the surface of the problem. Because of love for (or fear of) family members and the prospect of shame or isolation, many victims feel hesitant to come forward and confront their abusers. For these and other reasons, experts estimate only one in 57 cases are reported.

Interesting: Cheating Chukchansi Council Plans To Start a Tribal Court! Will They be the FIRST on Trial?

Chukchansi Indian leaders who have struggled for months with internal strife are considering starting a court to address appeals and serve as an oversight body for the tribal council. Last month, more than 90% of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians tribe's general council -- a group of about 500 people -- voted to start a tribal court that would resolve internal disputes. Since, there hasn't been any apparent movement to get the ball rolling. But this week, Chukchansi spokesman Roger Salazar confirmed that the tribe's leaders plan to start a court. "Any time you establish something new in government, you want to make sure you do it right," Salazar said. "It's going to take time to set up a committee to explore the issue, bring findings back to the membership and ultimately establish a tribal court. In the end, we hope the process will help make the tribe stronger for generations to come." Long-standing differences between rival Chukchansi groups, one headed by Reggie Lewis and the other by Morris Reid, came to a head in December when a tribal council meeting spun out of control. Since, there has been an occupation of tribal offices and a still-frazzled relationship between the sides, which differ mostly over enrollment and election issues. The tribe's lawyer, Arizona-based Robert Rosette, said he doesn't know how long it will take to establish a court. Some can be created in months, but others take years. "Tribal courts vary as much as the tribes themselves," he said. But Santa Rosa lawyer Tony Cohen, who represents tribes, said a tribe can create a court system "overnight if you find a court ordinance that appeals to you." Putting off establishment of a court, critics say, could slow the resolution of conflicts related to elections, disenrollment and barring members from tribal facilities. But Rosette said that even if the Chukchansi tribe starts a court, it might not have standing to rule on disenrollment and other membership issues may not be covered by the Chukchansi tribe. "Most membership issues are driven by tribal constitutions," Rosette said. "The way tribal constitutions are typically framed, those membership decisions are left to the governing body of the tribe." Indian tribes are sovereign nations, not beholden to state or federal civil laws when dealing with internal issues. When someone is disenrolled, barred from tribal services or even injured on Indian land, they often can't appeal a final decision to a higher authority. Read more here:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

UPDATE: Chukchansi Disenrolled To Hold Protest At Fresno's Federal Building April 20

UPDATE:  About three dozen people gathered outside the federal courthouse in downtown Fresno to protest what they described as government inaction in the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians' ongoing struggle over leadership and enrollment.

The tribe, which owns and operates Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold, has two groups that each claim to be the legitimate tribal council. Factions have been at odds over a disputed December election, ongoing disenrollments and financial penalties levied on members accused of disruptive behavior or vandalism.

The location for the protest is: ‎2500 Tulare Street, Fresno Ca., 8 am til' 3 pm April 20th.

Any person who has been victimized by Thug Tribal Leaders and had their civil rights violated or victims of disenrollment should demonstrate with them that day.

It would be a good day for those victimized by Mass Disenrollments in California to get more media attention.  Please let your friends and family members who are in the Central Valley know, so they may add their voice and raise the volume.

Read more on disenrollments:

Disenrollments are Shameful

disenrollments and sovereignty

United Auburn Indian Community

Snoqualmie of Washington

Del Laverdure, BIA's ACTING Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs

Del Laverdure, a member of the Crow Tribe of of Montana, will serve as acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, the Obama administration announced.   OP:  Let's hope we get him to DO the RIGHT thing, unlike his predecessor...

Laverdure has served as principal deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Indian Affairs since August 2009. He has been a steady figure in the leadership team of Larry Echo Hawk, who is resigning from the agency's top post on April 27.

Del Laverdure

“Del has played a key role in many of Interior’s meaningful accomplishments over the past three years, and I am confident that he is the right person to lead Indian Affairs as we continue to fulfill President Obama’s vision for reconciliation and empowerment for Indian nations,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a press release.

Laverdure will lead the agency until President Barack Obama nominates a permanent replacement for Echo Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. Echo Hawk is taking a leadership position within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, after destrying the lives of many Indians from the San Pascual tribe.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Interlude: DICK CLARK, America's Oldest Teenager, Dead at 82

Sad news today for many of us of a certain age. Dick Clark, of American Bandstand fame, and to a younger generation, New Years Rockin' Eve, passed away today of a heart attack at age 82.

What are your memories of Dick Clark? The comments are OPEN

Rosemary Morillo New Chairwoman of Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians Replacing Scott Cozart

Raised on and still residing at the Soboba Indian Reservation, Rosemary Morillo was recently elected to lead her people for the next two years in the role of Tribal Council chairwoman of the Soboba Band of LuiseƱo Indians.

As the first female leader in more than 30 years, Morillo plans to address the challenges of her tribe and Indian Country as a whole.

“Ever since gaming brought Indians into the public eye, it’s an everyday battle to retain sovereignty,” she said. “There are still myths out there. People don’t understand what our status is. They think we are wards of the federal government because we are identified through our enrollment numbers.”

Programs that could benefit the tribe are not getting funded through community resources because people think the tribe’s needs are funded by the federal government, she said.

“The Soboba Band resides on trust land. We gave up everything to be put on lands chosen for us to live on,” Morillo said. “(Our council) is really no different than local municipalities. We have the same concerns about infrastructure, housing and services needed for a decent quality of life. We just have different titles: we have a chair and vice chair (instead of a mayor and vice mayor).”

Morillo replaces Scott Cozart, who was elected to a two-year term as chairman in 2010.

Tribal Terrorists from San Pascual Sues CA for $200,000,000

The same tribe that abused its members and disenrolled over 80 people, now feels butt-hurt by our state of CA:

San Pascual Lawsuit

To the tune of $200,000,000

Read more on San Pascual at these links:

San Pascual Split

San Pascual Must Lose Right to Run Valley View

San Pascual Members DENIED their Civil Rights says BIA director who stood by while Pechanga violated its members civil rights

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pala Chairman Smith Trying to Convince Tribe He's doing the Right Thing

Apparently, Pala Chairman Robert Smith is circulating some information trying to sway the tribe that he is right to strip citizenship from lifelong members of the tribe.

We wrote about the disenrollments:

The Pala Band of Mission Indians on Wednesday expelled 154 people from its North County tribe, according to a Pala spokesman.

The removal of the 154 people appears to be connected to the removal of eight people from its rolls last year. Those eight people were told in June by the tribe that they did not meet the 1/16th Pala "blood quantum" requirement.

Pala spokesman Doug Elmets said the tribal council made the decision to remove the additional 154 people Wednesday, but he declined to discuss the reason for the removal.

Stay tuned for more information to come....

Preliminary Hearing To Be Set Next Month on Alleged Embezzler Tracey Avila of Robinson Rancheria.

A preliminary hearing is expected to be set next month for Robinson Rancheria’s tribal chair, who is alleged to have embezzled tens of thousands of dollars while she worked for another local tribe.

Following a federal investigation, Tracey Avila, 50, of Nice was arrested last September on a felony charge of grand theft, as Lake County News has reported.

She allegedly took more than $60,000 from Elem Colony of Clearlake Oaks while she worked as the tribe’s fiscal officer from February 2006 to September 2008, according to case documents.

Deputy District Attorney Rachel Abelson, who is prosecuting the case, said the discovery in the case is still being finalized, thus the delay in the proceedings.

She said the preliminary hearing is expected to be set at a hearing on May 22 in Judge Stephen Hedstrom’s Clearlake courtroom.

The case began after Elem conducted its own investigation and concluded that Avila had allegedly taken the funds.

In June 2009, the tribe’s general counsel sent a letter to Laura Yoshii, acting regional director for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Pacific Southwest Region 9, requesting an investigation into the alleged embezzlement.

Within two weeks U.S. EPA’s Grants Management Office opened the investigation, which later was handed to special agents with the EPA Office of the Inspector General and HUD's Office of the Inspector General, according to investigative documents.

If convicted, Avila could face a maximum three years in state prison, according to Abelson. Avila may end up serving her prison time in the Lake County Jail due to correctional realignment.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pechanga's Masiel-Basquez Crime Family At it AGAIN??

Oh what has Francisca Leivas wrought? The 3rd generation of the Masiel-Basquez Crime Family at has added a it’s newest member.

It seems the elderly, former chair of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians has been terminated from her position in the education department.

Sources say it has to do with some shenanigans on getting dealers placed in the casino, then getting kickbacks from them for getting a job. As a member of the PDC, she was not able to have a dealer’s school that provided workers, as an obvious conflict of interest.

As luck would have it, 2nd generation crime family scion and uncle to the previous chairman, Raymond Basquez Sr. now owns a dealers school. Their website says that 99% of their students find work in the industry, well, now we know….

The F.B.I. has been investigating for years at Pechanga. Might we see an arrest soon?

On a leadership level, how will chairman Mark Macarro handle the abuse of power with his predecessor? Will he try to spin this away, or stand up for what is right? Well, if past history is any indication...he won't be standing up.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein "VERY OPPOSED" to Enterprise Rancheria Casino

For their actions against their own people, the Enterprise Rancheria DOES NOT DESERVE A CASINO.

If her actions in Washington, D.C., weren't clear enough, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein left no doubt Tuesday as to where she stands on the proposed Yuba County Indian casino, Enterprise Rancheria: Against it.

"I'm very opposed to off-reservation gaming," Feinstein said after speaking at a luncheon in Sacramento presented by the Sacramento Council of Governments and a consortium called the Next Economy Partnership. "If you want to go that route, go back to the ballot and see what voters think about it."

Feinstein, D-Calif., was asked about Enterprise Rancheria, a project slated for empty land near Sleep Train Amphitheatre. She said when state voters approved American Indian casinos in a 2000 ballot initiative, they did so partly because such casinos would be limited to tribal lands.
"What's happened is these landless tribes have gotten land near urban areas, and they're trying to get casinos there," she said.

But with more than 60 existing Indian casinos in California, bringing in billions in annual revenue, Feinstein said, "How many is enough?"

The sponsoring tribe for Enterprise Rancheria, the Estom Yumeka Maidu, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. But tribal representatives have said their situation is unique because their traditional tribal lands were given up during the 1960s for the creation of Lake Oroville.

Opponents have contended the tribe is "reservation shopping" because there are two Indian casinos operated by other tribes near Oroville. Final approval for Enterprise Rancheria is on hold, while the U.S. Department of the Interior takes a second look at how much local support the project has. The further review came at Feinstein's request late last year, and she has pressed federal officials in recent weeks to finish the review after a 60-day window passed in February.

As well, Gov. Jerry Brown has until September to rule on whether land for the casino can be taken into trust. His office has given no indication on how soon he'll issue a decision.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Susan Bradford: Indian Country Today Lobbying Arm of Oneida Nation

Our friend Susan Brandford has a story up on her website about ICT. She's not too enthralled about how they flavor their articles. Of course, we've seen that with Pechanga Chairman Macarro's cousin's site, which has spiked some bad news about tribal issues in the past.

In recent months, Indian Country Today has taken to reporting blatant untruths about Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff while serving a useful public relations service for his tormenter, lobbyist Tom Rodgersof Carlyle Consulting who coached witnesses to lie in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on behalf of tribal casino interests. The ensuing federal corruption probe may well have been more compromised than that which downed Sen. Ted Stevens’ career.

In addition to uncritically parroting Rodgers’ false narrative about Abramoff, which contradicts supporting evidence, witness testimony, and paperwork, the newspaper produced a glowing article about an empathy scholarship Rodgers launched in an apparent effort to rehabilitate this lobbyist’s image.

Recently, Rodgers attempted to ambush and embarrass Abramoff at a National Press Club event in Washington, DC. At that event, Rodgers was flanked by representatives of the Oneida Nation and Mark Razenberger, a reporter for the Morning Sun, which reiterated the falsehoods purported by Bernie Sprague, a Rodgers-coached witness who appeared in the hearings.

At that event, Rodgers read a long, meandering statement in which he accused Abramoff on being corrupt since he paid reporters to write about conservative policies they supported. Indian Country Today reported that the audience “gasped” in horror (I was at the event, and the audience neither gasped nor was horrified) at Abramoff’s disclosure that he woud have loved to have owned his own newspaper.

What Rodgers failed to disclose is that the newspaper running factually inaccurate, slanderous articles against Abramoff and glowing reviews of himself is owned by Oneida Nations Enterprises, a business arm of the Onedia Nation, a client Carlyle Consulting represents alongside Akin Gump, a firm affiliated with Sen. John McCain which pushed the false narrative against Abramoff.

Among the Akin Gump lobbyists representing the tribe are Michael Rossetti, an attorney for Secretary of Interior Gale Norton who testified against Deputy Secretary Stephen Griles in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

In 2011, Oneida Nation paid Akin Gump and Carlyle Consulting $300,000 and $150,000 in lobbying fees respectively.

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.

© 2012 Susan Bradford

Oneida Nation Lobbying Fees for 2011

Oneida Indian Nation’s connection to Indian Country Today:

Applying International Human Rights Law in Tribal Disenrollment Action

Interesting read on The Application of International Human Rights Law
to Tribal Disenrollment Actions by GREG RUBIO

Here's the money quotes:


The disenrollment of the Cherokee Freedmen by the Cherokee tribe
provides the Freedmen with legitimate grounds to pursue a civil rights
claim under domestic law. Unfortunately, however, the present
construction of federal Indian law and, particularly, the present
application of tribal sovereign immunity against ICRA claims leave
the Freedmen without access to the federal courts, and instead resigns
them to seek a remedy in tribal courts. Where, as with the Cherokee,
tribes do not assure adequate remedy for civil rights claims against
themselves, civil rights plaintiffs like the Freedmen should considerpursuing remedies under international human rights law.

This Article has explained how, in the case of the Freedmen’s potential claim,there are at least two international human rights instruments by which the Freedmen could seek to bind the United States for the
disenrollment violations.

The degree to which such an adverse ruling
would impact U.S. Indian law policy is largely hypothetical. If this
sort of action became a recognized and regular threat, however, the
United States might consider amending the ICRA in a way that would
compel the Cherokee and other tribes to take the individual rights of
their citizens more seriously.

Read the rest of Greg Rubio’s article here

Letter to Editor: Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians coverage incomplete on Cesar Caballero, Chief of his Band of Miwoks

The Mountain Democrat’s coverage of the dispute about who can call themselves Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians is incomplete. Specifically, there is more to say about the current actions of the small Band of Miwoks being sued by the Red Hawk Casino affiliated group claiming trademark protection of the name Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. The April 4th Letter to the Editor from the Chairman of the Red Hawk Casino affiliated group criticizing accuracy and sources of the March 30 Mountain Democrat article covering the jailing of the leader of the small band of Miwoks does not “set the record straight” and is full of inaccuracies and falsehoods.

The judge in the Federal Trademark case has indicated the resolution of the dispute over who are the true Shingle Springs Miwok Indians is not in his Court’s jurisdiction. The contempt order was issued against the Chief of the small Miwok band because of his reluctance to concede to that limitation, preventing him to argue the more global issue that his tribe is the true Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. (Imagine if some entity trademarked the term “The United States of America” and then used the legal system from allowing you to call yourself a citizen of the United States of America. As a patriot, what would you do?)

The contempt order issued against the Chief was because he refused to give up a business license using the name of Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. It is not a “fraudulent document” but a key element of the overall issue of who are really entitled to claim the rights and responsibilities of the Miwoks.

What is not mentioned in the Chairman’s letter is that the judge released the Chief for a brief amount of time to allow both parties to mediate the dispute including the global issues. The Miwok Band, in good faith, offered to put all the disputed issues up for mediation but the Red Hawk group only wanted to cover the trademark issues and the establishment of two separate tribes. Thus the full context of the March 30 Mountain Democratic article is that it covered the Chief’s return to jail following the inability of the lawyers to set up the mediation. On April 4 he was able to comply with all the restrictions of the court’s contempt order and was released from County Jail. The rejection by the Red Hawk group to discuss working out an agreement on the global issues via an “Indian to Indian" mediation process can only be seen as a unwillingness to risk exposing their status as imposter Indians and lose the Casino and governmental benefits. Rather than working out an agreement and make peace with each other, their strategy apparently is to bring lawsuits to wear down and intimidate the true Miwoks' capabilities to legally challenge the legitimate status of the groups affiliated with the Red Hawk Casino.

Last week, the Miwok band filed a petition to key Federal government officials that specifically covers the issue of which group should be the Federally recognized Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. Their petition cites extensive evidence that the responsible Federal agencies that set aside the land for the Miwoks Indians in the early 1900’s failed to properly and legally do so. It goes on to document that Federal agents’ actions aided and abetted a fraudulent taking of lands designated for Northern California Indians by a group of non-Indians. The recipients of the Shingle Springs Indian lands were 100 percent composed of people with Hawaiian and European backgrounds, without any connections to local groups of Miwok or Maidu Indians. It is this group of non-Miwok and non-Maidu Indians that the Chairman bases his assertion of being a Miwok descendant. The wording in his letter about the Red Hawk group descending from Indians is misleading if not patently untrue.

With over 35 years of governmental audit and investigative experience I was asked to review the documentation supporting the petition and I found it to be very compelling. It provides more evidence to support Mr. George Peabody’s historical research. I understand it will be released publically as part of the Trademark case or upon acknowledged receipt by the responsible Federal agencies. I would hope that the Mountain Democrat will fully cover what the petition says.


Lori Potter: The Truth Lives On; On Tribal Gaming, Power and Acceptance of wrongdoing

Blogger Lori Potter has a nice piece on what's happened to the Mashantucket Pequot and how they all bear responsibility. It's a story that will fit many California tribes. Take a look

Perhaps the most tragic outcome of this entire experience would be to purposely ignore how and why certain decisions were made that inevitably brought us to the place we are today. How does one tiny community – known for extravagant wealth – now find itself reeling from an enormous debt, bringing them back to “square one” after twenty years of exorbitant spending?

We need to face the truth:

The truth of every decision made out of rivalry and envy.

The truth about striving and contending for what we believed was our “fair” share.

The truth of wanting to have ownership of things we could never truly own.

The truth of wanting to be in complete control.

The truth of allowing outsiders to take control.

The truth of being afraid to speak out and risk being labeled “troublemaker”.

The truth of wanting to be the center of attention – to be admired, noticed, or celebrated.

The truth of feeling entitled; gaining something at the detriment of others that was never earned.

The truth of saying “yes” to anything that might preserve one’s wealth or position.

The truth of the illusion of unity rather than building authentic unity.

Read the rest of Lori’s post here

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thuggish Chukchansi Indians Strongarming Madera Businesses to Oppose North Fork Rancheria

Marc Benjamin of the Fresno Bee continues his exposure of the actions of the despicable Chukchansi Indians of Coarsegold, near Sacramento.   Here he details how the thuggish Chukchansi tribe has strongarmed local businesses to come out against the North Fork Rancheria, which is looking to reservation shop and open on Hwy. 99.

Representatives of two eastern Madera County organizations that receive funding from the tribe that runs Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino say they've been pressured to come out against another tribe's casino plans.

Members of the Coarsegold Rodeo Association and the president of the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce both said they've been asked to put their organizations on record either opposing or remaining neutral on the North Fork Mono Rancheria's proposed casino and resort on Highway 99 north of Madera.

Rodeo officials said they felt Chukchansi's $15,000 pledge for their 60th annual event, scheduled May 4-6, was at stake if they didn't oppose the Highway 99 casino. The rodeo association eventually told Chukchansi it couldn't come out against the Highway 99 casino plans, because that would jeopardize its nonprofit status.

Rodeo association officials said they still hope to receive Chukchansi's financial support.

Roger Salazar, spokesman for the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians, didn't confirm that tribal officials had made a link between rancheria donations and opposition to the Highway 99 casino. But, he said, the tribe has a right to enlist support for its campaign opposing the casino project, because a new casino would cut into Chukchansi's revenues and impede the tribe's ability to assist local nonprofits.

Read more at the Fresno Bee: Fresno Bee

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Poem from Michelle Rodriguez: $They Walk In The White Man's Footsteps$

Michelle Rodriguez was enrolled at San Francisco State as a student majoring in American Indian Studies when she was disenrolled from the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians in October of 2006.

The following is a poem she wrote that was published in the American Indian Studies Journal, Spring 2007.

I believe it speaks clearly to the emotions of those suffering the theft of their very birthright as Indian people, and to the motives and mentality of those doing the disenrolling. The motives ($) have now reached over $500 Million.

$They Walk In The White Mans Footsteps$

They walk in the white mans footsteps,
Upon the graves of their ancestors.
They no longer listen to them,
For they can no longer hear them.
A peoples history, memory, voice,
covered, smothered by concrete,
Left alone to disappear.

They walk in the white mans footsteps,
For the "All Mighty Dollar" is the only thing
They recognize.
They've left their relations outside the door,
Never to look back.


I hang my head and cry to my grandfathers and
my grandmothers they no longer recognize.

I still hear you ... I still feel you ...
I still want you ... I still recognize you ...
I still remember.

-- Michelle Rodriguez

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Attack of the Indian-Gaming Fighter; Dianne Feinstein, John McCain & Sullivan

Indian Country Today has an interesting piece on the evolvement of anti-Indian gaming gights...

From “not in my backyard” complaints to state and federal politics to flat-out racism, there are plenty of reasons why opponents of Indian gaming are waging war.

With an explosion of tribal gaming in recent years and accompanying intertribal competition, perhaps the most strident calls to curb gaming are coming from tribes themselves. Along the way, federal legislators are more than happy to turn the conflicts into a firestorm that few in the industry likely want. In this fight, party and geography are irrelevant.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), a vocal leader of the current crop of federal antagonists, said this month that she is willing to block one tribe’s quest for a casino in her state because she wants to protect California wine country. Feinstein has even issued proposals to more strongly regulate Indian casinos nationwide while ignoring the non-Indian variety—a move that would impede tribal sovereignty. Her plans have stalled, but tribal advocates are increasingly concerned that to get a legislative fix for the antitribal Supreme Court Carcieri v. Salazar land-into-trust decision of 2009, tribes may be willing to negotiate with her.

Over in Arizona, Republican Sen. John McCain once strongly backed tribal casinos as a means of combating poverty and increasing self-determination. Now he has grown increasingly concerned about his public image on the issue. His support of gaming has yielded negative press coverage, so he is leading a push to clamp down on so-called “off-reservation” casinos. McCain also wants to make it difficult for tribes to acquire more land. Curiously, despite this newfound opposition, The New York Times noted during his 2008 presidential run that he enjoys gambling, sometimes at existing Indian casinos.

More recently, Rep. John Sullivan (R-Oklahoma) introduced an anti-Indian casino bill in February that pits local governments against Indian nations, offering a legalized way for non-Indian communities to take Indian money. In this regard, it is noteworthy that many tribes nationwide have already successfully developed their own revenue-sharing agreements with localities. So the legislation is seen in tribal circles as a slight to Indians, implying they don’t have much business savvy.

The attacks from Feinstein, McCain, Sullivan and others inside and outside the Beltway all differ in their rationales. But they all result from the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988. Before IGRA, states and local groups were the main challengers: Throughout the 1980s, many states tried unsuccessfully to outlaw early Indian bingo halls and, later, more-advanced operations. After the California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Supreme Court ruling, which paved the way for IGRA, states tried well into the 1990s to tax Class III Indian gaming. That failed, too. Nonetheless, states have continued to try to regulate Indian gaming in a way that would allow them to gather regulatory fees on Class III tribal gaming.

The battle from states is not over, said Gabriel S. Galanda, a member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes and a partner with Native affairs law firm Galanda Broadman: “States are still looking to tax Class III Indian gaming, and they are increasingly doing so by targeting net Indian gaming revenues at the point those dollars cross the reservation line or pass out of exclusive tribal hands.”

Since IGRA, the real players in the Indian gaming opposition field have been members of Congress. When the law was new, it was easier to understand who was opposing what and why, said Marie Howard, former longtime Democratic staff director of the Office of Indian Affairs of the House Committee on Natural Resources. There were “true nonbelievers” of gaming in general, she said, such as Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virginia). Then there were legislators like Rep. George Miller (D-California) who were not thrilled with the idea of tribal casinos, but who were willing to stand up for a tribe’s sovereign right to pursue them. Now there are legislators like Feinstein who say they support tribal sovereignty, but who want to limit gaming for some tribes. It is hard to determine the method in the madness of these new voices.

What is most striking is that it is no longer outsiders who seem to have the most power in framing attacks on Indian gaming. That power now lies, ironically, with the 30 or so wealthy and well-connected tribes that are playing hardball behind the scenes, lobbying legislators to get the best outcomes for their casino deals, including limiting competition from nearby tribes.

“In my 30 years on the Hill, that to me was the saddest thing to see,” Howard said. “Prior to gaming, it was unheard-of for a tribe to come to D.C. to lobby against another.”

One tribe striving for strengthened individual sovereignty is “a good thing,” said Steven Andrew Light, co-director of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy. But things get complicated when legislators use the resulting strife as fuel for reforming or clamping down on the whole system. They end up possibly harming tribal sovereignty for everyone. It has been widely whispered in Indian country, for instance, that Feinstein’s machinations have been aided by tribal lobbyists who are trying to get the best deal for their clients. Meanwhile, the greater good of getting a clean Carcieri fix focused on protecting land rights and sovereignty—and not opening IGRA for changes—has been ignored.

“Carcieri has changed everything all over again,” Howard said. “If there is more congressional involvement on gaming as a result of negotiations over a legislative fix for Carcieri, all tribes will have to be prepared for the ramifications.”

Galanda said that the Salazar v. Patchak case now before the Supreme Court is likely to spur more anti-Indian gaming sentiments in Congress and the courts. The case centers on whether the federal government properly took Michigan’s Allegan County into trust for the Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomi to build a casino. An anti-tribal ruling could end seeing similar cases filed against tribes by the country.

“If that case goes against Indian country,” said Galanda, “virtually anybody will have standing to legally challenge a federal agency action relating to Indian gaming development.”

“The overriding problem is that nontribal interests are using the time-tested strategy of divide-and-conquer,” said Joe Valandra, former chief of staff of the National Indian Gaming Commission, regarding both the Carcieri and Patchak cases.

Howard suggested that when a legislator wants to limit Indian gaming alone, Indian country should ask itself, “Who is influencing them and why?” The “politics is local” adage is always a factor, she added. Some legislators, like Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-California), will go out of their way to support local tribes but not national interests.

Lost in all the varying shades of federal opposition and tribal tinkering is the fact that some individual Indians continue to resist gaming, believing it is a culturally inappropriate way to pursue self-determination and sovereignty. “From the get-go, those folks have had the most difficult row to hoe,” Howard said. “The federal government’s relationship is with the tribal government, and if the tribal government feels it is the will of its people to support gaming, individuals who disagree have a hard time being heard.”

At the same time, Indian gaming advocates don’t believe the complex problems facing gaming on the federal level are going away any time soon. In fact, as more tribes build successful casinos, the issues stemming from competition will probably grow worse.

“As this industry and regulation has grown and matured, tribes have increasingly found it difficult to maintain a unified political and business front,” Light said. “At just about any gathering of gaming tribes, the question of how to maintain a unified front comes up. And I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shingle Springs Chairman Nicholas Fonseca Speaks Out in Open Letter

We recently wrote about the Shingle Springs tribal suit, here is an open letter from Nicholas Fonseca, their tribal chair:

Dear Citizens of El Dorado County:

I am the Chairman of the federally-recognized Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indiansand I am writing this letter to set the record straight in light of recent coverage in a local newspaper that is misleading and factually incorrect. The article involved Cesar Caballero, an El Dorado County man jailed by a federal judge for violating a court order prohibiting him from impersonating my Tribe.

The Tribe sued Mr. Caballero in 2008 when he filed a fraudulent document with the County of El Dorado, claiming to be doing business as “the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians.” Despite the Tribe’s requests of Mr. Caballero to withdraw the fraudulent document — which was designed to confuse others as to Mr. Caballero’s affiliation with the Shingle Springs Band — he refused. The Tribe filed suit, and in September 2010, Federal District Court Judge John Mendez ordered Mr. Caballero to withdraw the statement (among other things). Importantly, the Tribe sought the federal injunction, and the federal court issued it, after Mr. Caballero had filed a fraudulent statement with the United States Post Office, diverting the Tribe’s mail to his own address. (This was a federal crime for which Mr. Caballero was separately prosecuted and convicted, and for which he awaits sentence.) Mr. Caballero also went so far as to pose as the Tribe in an effort to interfere with our repatriation efforts involving human remains possessed by a museum and belonging to the Tribe. Judge Mendez’ order necessarily means he believes the Tribe is likely to prevail in its civil case.

A few other facts that bear noting, to set the record straight:

Mr. Caballero is sitting in jail because he has chosen to defy a federal court order directing him to take certain steps to unwind his fraudulent course, including the withdrawal of the fictitious document that started this litigation. As the federal judge explained to Mr. Caballero at his last contempt hearing, he alone controls his own destiny; it is his contempt for the Court — in short, his defiance of the law and judicial process — that landed him in jail. He controls the keys to his cell.

Mr. Caballero filed his own suit against the Tribe, claiming the right to revenues from Red Hawk Casino. While the Court dismissed Mr. Caballero’s claims as having no basis in law, it bears noting that Mr. Caballero and his group had nothing to do with our Tribe when we lived in abject poverty, on a landlocked reservation with no hope for economic development. It was only after we secured public access through an interchange we had to build, and after our Red Hawk Casino finally became a reality, that Mr. Caballero claimed the right to our federal recognition and our name. I would submit that is all everyone needs to know to understand what is really driving Mr. Caballero and his band of followers.

Third, this case is not about federal recognition, and nothing the Tribe has ever done — or is doing — prevents Cesar Caballero and his affiliates from seeking recognition by the United States as a sovereign tribal entity. In fact, the Shingle Springs Band’s federal recognition has nothing to do with the Caballero group’s right to be recognized as a sovereign entity (assuming there is such a right). There can, in fact, be more than one tribe in California with members of Miwok ancestry, and indeed there are.

Fourth, the United States has recognized the Shingle Springs Band since the early 1900s, and set aside land in El Dorado County for our group (consisting largely of homeless Indians who then lived around Sacramento). It is true that our Band consists of people of Maidu and/or Miwok descent, as well as Native Hawaiian descent. Some members of the Tribe even have African American and/or Caucasian ancestors. We are a political entity, recognized by the United States government for many decades by the name Mr. Caballero and others have usurped.

Fifth, Mr. Caballero and his group may be associated with the El Dorado Band of Miwok Indians, a tribe that resided on adjacent lands and that lost its federally-recognized sovereign status in the mid 1900s (along with many other California tribes). Unlike other tribes, that tribe apparently chose not to seek federal restoration. That has nothing to do with the Shingle Springs Band. In the end, Mr. Caballero’s allegations amount to little more than a sad recount of the devastating consequences of the United States’ policy toward Indians, particularly in California, where bands of homeless Indians were settled as sovereign entities on rancherias, only to be later wrongfully terminated, typically without meaningful recompense or support, and too often never restored.

Finally, the ability to have sovereign authority and trust land in this country, and pursue economic development (through gaming or otherwise), does not turn on having a “federally recognized tribal name.” It turns on being a sovereign tribal entity in the eyes of the United States government. Every tribe, of course, has a name, and every tribe is entitled to protect that name from misappropriation by others. That is what our case against Mr. Caballero and those aligned with him is all about.

Shingle Springs Miwoks Sues To Stop Impersonation of Name. Cesar Caballero Fights On From Jail

After a federal judge ordered an El Dorado County man to stop misappropriating the name of the "Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians," the federally-recognized tribe has filed a second lawsuit against other individuals believed to be engaged in the same improper misappropriation.

The lawsuit asks the United States District Court for the Eastern District to prohibit over two dozen individuals, who have no connection to the Tribe or permission to act on its behalf, from pretending to represent or act for the "Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians." The lawsuit seeks injunctive and monetary damages for violation of the Tribe's trademark rights and other legal rights.

The Tribe's problem with impersonators first began in 2008, just before it opened its gaming facility, Red Hawk Casino, when an individual named Cesar Caballero filed paperwork with the County of El Dorado claiming he was doing business as the "Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians." The Tribe asked Mr. Caballero to withdraw the document, and when he refused, sued Mr. Caballero to force him to do so, and thereby protect its federally recognized name from misappropriation. In September 2010, a United States federal judge concluded the Tribe is more likely to prevail in its lawsuit, and ordered Mr. Caballero to cease using the Tribe's name to mislead others into believing Mr. Caballero is affiliated with the Tribe.

The Tribe sought the federal injunction when Mr. Caballero filed a fraudulent change of address form with the United States Post Office, claiming to act for the Shingle Springs Band and requesting delivery of the Tribe's mail to his own address. As a result, Mr. Caballero was charged by the United States Attorney with obstructing the Tribe's mail, which is a federal crime for which he was then convicted. His sentencing is scheduled for April 23, 2012. Mr. Caballero also has used the Tribe's name to secure a tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service, and establish websites that appear to be (but that are not) affiliated with Red Hawk Casino and the Shingle Springs Band. He even went so far as to use the Tribe's name to interfere with its long-time effort to repatriate human remains belonging to the Tribe and possessed by a Berkeley museum.

In response to the Tribe's civil lawsuit against Mr. Caballero, he filed a counter-suit against the Tribe in February 2009, claiming the Shingle Springs Band is an imposter tribe that should never have been federally recognized, and that his "tribe" (not the federally-recognized one) had the right to the Tribe's reservation and revenues from Red Hawk Casino. The Court dismissed all of Mr. Caballero's counterclaims as having no basis in law.

By having issued a preliminary injunction against Mr. Caballero, Federal District Court Judge John Mendez necessarily found that Mr. Caballero's deceptive actions risked irreparable harm to the Tribe and that the Tribe was likely to prevail in its lawsuit against Mr. Caballero.

Despite the federal court order, Mr. Caballero refuses to comply, and claims other individuals who are members of his "tribe" preclude him from doing so. As a result, the federal court held him in contempt and ultimately imprisoned him pending his compliance with the order. Mr. Caballero remains detained in the Sacramento County jail.

During Mr. Caballero's contempt proceedings, a number of persons with no connection to the Tribe signed letters on Mr. Caballero's behalf, claiming they were the "Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians" and were responsible for the conduct for which Mr. Caballero faced contempt by a federal court order. Those persons are now named as defendants in the Tribe's second lawsuit, filed on March 1, 2012. Judge Mendez deemed the second suit related to the action against Mr. Caballero, which is set for trial on September 24, 2012. The second lawsuit has not yet been set for trial.

Nicholas Fonseca, Chairman of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, stressed the importance of protecting his Tribe's rights in its name, which the United States has recognized as the "Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians" for more than 30 years. "This Tribe has long struggled in poverty, and these people were nowhere to be seen when we had nothing at all," Chairman Fonseca said. "It was only after we managed to establish a gaming facility that they suddenly decided they wanted our land, our federal recognition, and our name. If you want to understand what is driving these people, the fact that Cesar Caballero claimed the right to Red Hawk revenues in his countersuit against the Tribe is all you need to know."

The United States has recognized the Shingle Springs Band as a sovereign tribal entity since at least as early as 1906, when it acquired land for the Native group (then without land, living homeless in the Sacramento area) on an El Dorado County tract of trust land next to that of another tribal group, commonly known as the El Dorado Band (named for the "El Dorado Tract" on which they resided). The Shingle Springs Band was then known as the Sacramento-Verona Band of Homeless Indians, and as early as 1980, the United States listed the Tribe as a recognized tribal entity under its present name.

The El Dorado Band lost its federally-recognized sovereign status in the mid 1900s, in connection with the then federal policy of terminating the sovereign status of tribal governments. It is believed that the United States distributed the assets of the El Dorado Band to members, including the land on which that group resided, and unlike other tribes in California, the El Dorado Band never sought to restore its federally-recognized sovereign status. It is believed Mr. Caballero and the other defendants may descend from that terminated tribe.

Erick Rhoan: Pala Disenrollment Saga Adds Another Chapter

Our friend Erick Rhoan has a post up on the disenrollment at Pala Reservation.

His blog is Strict Liability in Blog and I encourage you to visit.

After delving into the issues, here's Erick's thoughts:

Personally, I have never looked up to the BIA for much, if anything. I think it is a completely useless organization that should have been jettisoned into the administrative void along with the racist policies it has been enforcing since its inception. If you want a research project to do this weekend starting googling around and find out how many colossal screw-ups this agency has made over the years. Search for things like the “Cobell Settlement,” if you want a starting point. Or, for recent, local news, look up their lack of involvement in the Chukchansi/Picayune spectacle.

Another item to consider amidst all this is the reliance on blood quantums to determine who is or is not a Native American. This too is another relic that needs to be forgotten. Aside from the historical and sociological fact that ethnic bloodlines in a multi-cultural society will dilute, we need to stop and realize that Indian-ness is not contained in the blood. Being Indian is a culture, a religion, a way of life, a society, a hierarchy, and a family all balled into one. It is spiritual, familial, and societal. It is not a matter of simply being a fervent environmentalist or feeling strongly attached to nature. It is your life’s code. Just because you are 1/8th, 1/16th, 1/4th or whatever, means absolutely nothing. The more and more people cling to this useless yardstick to measure “culture,” the more it sounds like arguing for racial purity, and no one does that in this world anymore. And this is assuming that the higher the concentration of one ethnicity in your background leads you to be more “Indian” than the guy who’s only half. How many full-blood Indians have sat on tribal councils within Native America who have betrayed their own people? Why can’t conduct, attitude, and respect be just as much a measure of Indian identity than one’s blood quantum?

Now that the motion for the TRO has been denied, the plaintiffs in this case will have to wait for their appeal results from the BIA and I don’t know how long that takes. And in the meantime, their disenrollment will take effect, stripping them of their Native American identity, their monthly gaming allotment, their healthcare, and who knows what else. Even if the BIA recommends they be reinstated, the Pala tribe doesn’t have to obey it.

This is not the first time a tragedy like this has befallen an Indian family and, unfortunately, it will not be the last.

Write your Congressperson. This needs to stop.

Monday, April 2, 2012

BIA's Larry Echohawk, After Destroying Lives at San Pascual, RESIGNS.

Screw the Alito Family, then resign. Good to see you GO, Mr. Echo Hawk. You have left a legacy of destruction of Indians, congratulations.

The top official for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is resigning to accept a full-time leadership position with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ending three years with the department that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says "opened a new chapter" in U.S. relationships with American Indian tribes.

Larry Echo Hawk, the assistant secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, is being appointed to the Quorum of the Seventy, which is the Mormon Church's third-highest governing body. The announcement from the church came Saturday during its semi-annual general conference in Salt Lake City.

President Barack Obama appointed Echo Hawk, 63, to oversee the BIA in 2009.

"With Larry Echo Hawk's leadership, we have opened a new chapter in our nation to nation relationships with American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, accelerated the restoration of tribal homelands, improved safety in tribal communities, resolved century-old water disputes, invested in education, and reached many more milestones that are helping Indian nations pursue the future of their choosing," Salazar said in a statement.

During Echo Hawk's tenure, the Interior Department settled a $3.4 billion class-action lawsuit with Native American landowners over mismanaged royalties. The settlement reached in late 2009 is under appeal.

Salazar said he would work with Echo Hawk to ensure a smooth transition within the BIA. It was not clear who would be appointed to oversee the BIA after Echo Hawk's departure.

Echo Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation, was elected Idaho attorney general in 1990, the first Native American to be elected to the position in any state. He ran unsuccessfully in 1994 for Idaho governor as a Democrat.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Judge REFUSES to Block Pala Disenrollment.

A federal judge in San Diego has refused to block the Pala Band of Mission Indians in northern San Diego County from "disenrolling" about five dozen members and making them ineligible for payments from the tribe's casino and hotel and other business ventures.

The 60 were among 162 members -- about 15% of the tribe -- who were ousted by the tribe's governing board.

U.S. District Judge William Hayes declined to issue a temporary restraining order, finding that the ousted tribal members' lawsuit seeking to force the Bureau of Indian Affairs to require the tribe to reinstate them had little chance of success.

"It is well established that Indian tribes are sovereign political entities that possess the exclusive right to develop their own laws and govern their own internal affairs," Hayes wrote.

At issue is the lineage of Margarita Britten, a tribal elder who died in 1925. The tribe's governing board in the last year declared that Britten was not a full-blooded Indian and thus her descendants did not have enough "blood quantum" to qualify as tribal members.

Tribe leaders say Britten's relatives have long known that her father was white and thus she was not a full-blooded Indian. But the "disenrollees" say that the motive for their ouster is greed and power.

Each tribal member receives about $7,500 a month under the tribe's profit sharing plan, along with access to healthcare, housing and other benefits.

The lawsuit alleged that the tribal's 1997 constitution giving the tribe -- not the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- authority over membership was never properly approved. Hayes disagreed.