Monday, July 2, 2012

Harold Monteau Opinion: Indian Civil Rights Act a FAILURE

An opinion piece from Harold Monteau in Indian Country Today on the FAILURE of the Indian Civil Rights Act.

The Indian Civil Rights Act has been a dismal failure, if one considers its original intent; to protect tribal members and others subject to tribal jurisdiction from arbitrary and capricious acts by the tribal governing body and individual tribal officials. That is, unless a tribe has adopted the rights set out in the ICRA as substantive tribal law with remedies beyond the restrictive “habeas corpus” Federal Court relief. Some tribes have adopted the substantive rights in the ICRA but extend civil remedies beyond the restrictive “habeas corpus” and even allow for monetary damages (only where the tribe is covered by insurance or other such indemnification). Those tribes are in the minority. Unfortunately many tribes still hide behind the tribe’s sovereign immunity as they commit arbitrary rights violations upon their own membership and others.

Original Pechanga’s Blog Native American Hall of Fame Read More HERE


Anonymous said...

So nice to hear people speaking out against the crimes committed by tribes. Indian Country today, thank you for this article, thank you Pala church. Many tribal members are embarrassed by their tribes and do not take the same opinion as tribal leaders, hide behind sovereignty. Even the public isn't falling for the sovereignty crap leaders are dishing out.

Anonymous said...

i'm afraid Harold it was your kind that taught these idiots the word sovereignty in the 70's....before that, they never even heard of the word, much less it's giving them a gun and forgetting to take out the bullets.

Original Cupa said...

One cannot blame intelligence for the atrocities against my fellow native brethren. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to dealing with the ways of the new. I have always been looked upon with shame for becoming an educated native by those who feared those who were smarter. I have been told that I was white washed and that I was no longer a true native for becoming educated. However, as an educated native I am one of the main people standing ground in this fight against the corrupt tribal politicians who have taken advantage of those who did not see it coming. No one "kind" of people should be blamed for the actions of these criminals. Greed and envy exist because mankind is not perfect. People make the choice individually to commit these acts. With or without a conscience these acts have existed throughout the history of mankind. Not just when white people came into the picture.

When a child learns a new word, they don't always use it correctly or in its proper context. Many of these committees are like children and they will learn that the hard way when justice prevails and they see that sovereignty does not apply to criminal acts against their people. Eventually there wont be any more toys in their sandboxes to fight over and they will turn on one another and their sand castles will crumble.

justiceforpaladisenrolled said...

I am going to post a sign on letter for you to send to your senators and congressman as well as others. You can google them to get thier email and address. Send to them as well as their scheduler and assistant.
Our family has been sending to our own states as well as others. I am not the creator nor do I know who is to give credit but it is a great way to get them involved to hold a hearing on amending the ICRA. It will be in my next post because I exceeded the characters allowed by trying to post. You can also send a cover letter explaining your tribes particular situation so they understand the importance of amending the ICRA. Give them articles or this blog or palawatch blog to see what is going on.

justiceforpaladisenrolled said...

part 1 of 2

Dear :

We respectfully submit this letter requesting that you convene an oversight hearing regarding the enforcement of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. Our request is based on the numerous credible complaints that certain Indian tribes have violated, and continue to violate, the civil rights of their citizens.

An oversight hearing into the ongoing actions of tribes and tribal officials who systematically disenfranchise their citizens is warranted given the existence of tribal and federal laws specifically forbidding such actions and the significant amount of money the federal government provides the tribes annually for healthcare, housing, education and other needs.
The ICRA was introduced after an investigation by the Constitutional Rights Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary into the problems Indian individuals face when attempting to assert their constitutional rights. After hearings in which numerous individual Indians provided testimony regarding the harm they had incurred as a result of tribal government actions, Congress enacted the ICRA to protect individual Indians from future "arbitrary and capricious" actions.
Unfortunately, while the ICRA was well intended and expressly forbid tribes from taking actions that violated an individual's rights, Congress failed to include an effective enforcement mechanism within the ICRA which would hold tribal officials accountable for committing the prohibited acts. In fact, the only means provided for in the ICRA was a writ of habeas corpus, an avenue more suited to criminal actions and detainment issues.
The ICRA was further neutered by the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Martinez v. Santa Clara Pueblo which held that the ICRA, although a federal statute, was not enforceable in federal court and deference should be paid to tribes to regulate their internal matters. The Court in Martinez based its decision on several assumptions: First, the Court assumed that tribal forums would be available for individuals to bring causes of actions for ICRA violations, and second, the Court assumed that the Secretary of the Interior would hear ICRA claims in circumstances where secretarial authority was required. Both of these assumptions were flawed.
Many tribal governments fail to provide tribal forums, such as tribal courts, in which to have ICRA violations resolved. The absence of an independent tribal judiciary leaves review of such decisions in the hands of those who may stand to profit from the outcome or who are the actual oppressors or violators of the individual’s rights. And, in instances where tribal forums are available, they are very rarely, if ever, separate arms of the tribal government free from the influence of tribal officials.
The absence of independent tribal judicial forums further strips the victims of any opportunity for recourse consistent with basic notions of due process that would be available to any other citizen of the United States. In this regard, Tribal governments and/or officials have used Martinez to further erode the rights of their citizens and selectively apply law as it sees fit.
And, although the Martinez decision did recognize the Secretary’s authority to intervene in limited instances, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), acting on behalf of the Secretary, has routinely declined to address incidents where apparent violations of the ICRA have occurred.
As a consequence, the number of civil rights violations in Indian Country has reached epidemic proportions. Thousands upon thousands have been stripped or denied the basic due process, equal protection, and other rights provided for in the United States Constitution, the ICRA, and tribal laws.

justiceforpaladisenrolled said...

part 2 of 2

Each of us respects tribal sovereignty and the rights of tribes to be governed by their own laws, but we are concerned that numerous tribes and tribal officials have and will continue to abuse the doctrine of sovereign immunity in order to escape prosecution for violating laws intended to protect the victims of their actions.
At its core, this is a fundamental civil rights issue, and the federal government has a legal and moral obligation to protect the rights of those who are being harmed and to whom we owe a trust responsibility.
On behalf of the growing number of Indians who have had their basic rights stripped or infringed upon, we respectfully request that you convene an oversight hearing so that Congress may receive testimony regarding the ICRA and attempts to enforce its provisions in tribal, state, and federal forums.

justiceforpaladisenrolled said...

you can copy and paste part 1 and then part 2 into a document.

Anonymous said...

17 Charged With Trying To Control Indian Casino

Published: April 20, 1997

ign In to E-Mail

A reputed crime syndicate tried to infiltrate and control an Indian casino on the Rincon reservation near San Diego, according to Federal indictments unsealed on Friday.

Seventeen people were charged, including a former member of the tribe's governing council who was accused of accepting a bribe, United States Attorney Alan Bersin said. Most of the charges involved organized crime figures from Pittsburgh and Ohio, he said. The defendants have surrendered or arranged to surrender.

''This is the kind of threat that we need to remain vigilant about,'' Mr. Bersin said at a news conference.

The indictments, unsealed in San Diego and Pittsburgh, accuse the defendants of taking control of the Columbia Group, an investment consortium registered in Nevada that financed the 1995 reopening of the Rincon River Oaks Casino, about 35 miles northeast of San Diego, would have been used to launder money, the authorities said. But the casino was quickly shut down because a Federal judge ruled that it violated an agreement to limit the use of video slot machines, which are illegal in the state.


Anonymous said...

The was comment was basically for evil white attorneys and a white congress that will never suffer at the hands of system with no checks and balances ...

Anonymous said...

The only checks and balances the politicians understand are all the checks that Pechanga has written the poloticians to side with Macarro.Money buys influence!

Anonymous said...

What if the mob has control over Robert Smith and that's why the tribe is losing so much money. He's disenrolling to make more money to keep the tribe afloat. We all know the mob milks everything it can from a business until its ruined and shut down. Roberts more afraid of them then his tribal members so he screws us over instead of them.

pala.rez.bird said...

It's July 4th and I don't know if this blog is still alive, but I wanted to say thank you for posting that "copy and paste" letter on July 2. I also thank the person who wrote it and praise their ability to understand, identify and articulate the situation at hand. This is the type of letter that can't be ignored and I hope it finds it's way into the right hands.

smokeybear said...

It will if you copy and paste and send it to the right people. And don't forget to sign it. It's a great letter of "Concern" and spells out the shortcommings of the I.C.R.A. and its "Impact" on "Indian Country."..."Eagle Eyes."