Monday, January 28, 2013

Rep. Raul Ruiz on Native Americans. Reminder, it's NOT just the Chiefs and Chairman Where US Govt. Responsibility Lies

New U.S. Representative Raul Ruiz was quoted in the Desert Sun:

Native Americans are the first Americans, and our tribes are an integral part of the fabric of who we are as a people,” Ruiz said in a statement to The Desert Sun. “They are also a significant part of the population in the Coachella Valley.

It is a top priority for me as a Member of Congress to be a voice for our tribes and provide them with the representation and respect they deserve.

I look forward to using my position on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs to work with our local tribes and improve the quality of life for Native Americans in the 36th District and across the nation.”

Please Rep. Ruiz, you MUST bear in mind that the trust reponsibility of the U.S. Government to INDIANS isn't just to the chiefs and chairmen.  It's to ALL native Americans. 


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pala Disenrollment Story Being Told on BLOG

Our friends who have been terminated from Pala are talking about the Pala Disenrollments on their blog PALA WATCH We invite you to take a look at their expose of Chairman Robert Smith. Please share the link with your friends and check it often. Your traffic will help shed light to our new Congress.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Twentynine Palms Band Looking to Build Casino on Tribal Land

The Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians, after looking at land in Joshua Tree, has set its sights once again on building a casino on tribal land in Twentynine Palms.

That was the word from Twentynine Palms City Manager Richard Warne, who announced at the Tuesday, Jan. 22, City Council meeting that he contacted tribal officials to ask about activity on the reservation land at Baseline and Adobe Road.

Warne said he spoke to the tribe’s chief financial officer, who told him the tribe is making plans to build a 30,000-square-foot casino on the land.

Plans, he was told, will begin with construction of a tortoise fence around the property to prevent tortoises from moving into the area.

Tribal officials, he noted, are planning to release an environmental impact statement for the proposed casino on Monday, Jan. 28, and are planning a public meeting about the project in February.

Originally proposed in late 2007, the project had at one time called for a 60,000-square-foot casino with 350 slot machines along with table games, a bingo hall, two restaurants and a sports bar.
The 160 acres of tribal land was also slated to host an RV park with space for more than 100 RVs, tent and cabin sites along with amenities including electrical, water, cable TV, telephone and sewer hookups, wireless Internet access, a 24-hour convenience store, swimming pools, showers and locker rooms, barbecue facilities, a dump site and laundry facilities.

The Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians operates Spotlight 29 Casino in Indio.

Robinson Rancheria Tribal Police Use Assault Weapons in Eviction

TheLake County Magazine has the story of EVICTION after disenrollment

It was a cold, rainy day on the Robinson Rancheria today, when two Tribal Police Officers came to the door of Monica Anderson's house on Quail Top Drive with assault rifles in their hands. Monica was being evicted because her husband belongs to the Duncan clan, a clan who Tribal leader Tracey Avila has spent the past year trying to eradicate from the Rancheria for no other reason than the patriarch, Clayton, speaks out against the wrongdoing he has witnessed there since Avila took control of the administration of the Robinson Band of Pomo people.

I spoke with Monica in December, a week or so before Christmas, when she had first receive the notice she would be evicted. She told me her story, a story that is becoming all to familiar. She has always tried to do the right thing for her husband Dwayne and 8 year old son Daniel Duncan. She worked hard and enjoyed her life on the rez in her Federally funded HUD townhouse. Her job as security at the Robinson's Casino was good enough, until one day she was fired, because she refused to change her statement regarding Tracey Avila assaulting a casino customer.

This was the beginning of the end of her current life for Monica. A cousin of Avila, Monica became a pariah because she refused to lie, and because she loves her husband, who happens to be a Duncan. The feud between these two families, the Duncans and the Andersons, has grown to epic proportions, and the time has come to put an end to it.

Today members of the Robinson's Pomo tribe brave enough to stand with Monica and her family, and stand up to the bullying that has resulted in dozens being removed from their homes, illegally, without reason: elders, families with children, animals slaughtered because there was nowhere for them to go. They came out to peacefully protest a tragedy of inhumanity in our own backyard.

Monica was not alone in becoming homeless today. Carmelita Mitchell came home for lunch and to change her clothes from her job at the hospital to find the tribal police nailing her windows and doors shut. She does not live in the Federal HUD homes, but in a neighborhood below the green townhouses on the hill. She was not allowed to remove her belongings, had been given no eviction notice, and she was at Monica's house with nothing but the clothes on her back. Asked why she was being evicted, she simply shrugged her shoulders and replied, "I party too much!" Both women have paid their rent faithfully. These evictions have nothing to do with money, at least not rent money.

Sometimes, when a person is evicted from tribal housing, always when disenrolled, if the council feels like doing it to them, they can also lose their monthly distribution from the casino. Over a hundred people have been dis-enrolled since Avila took the Chair. This is $2500 a year per person. So when they take it back from members, where does that money go? It is not being evenly distributed amongst the tribal members, no, it goes back to Avila, with no one questioning how the money is being handled. Anyone who questions things will be dis-enrolled, which means they will no longer be a member of the tribe. This, in spite of the fact that many of these people have lived here for generations.

So what is she doing with the money? An elder who was at the house today, in tears, told me she used to work at the casino. She happened to find a checkbook one day. When she looked inside to find who it belonged to she noticed that it was Avila's checkbook for a bank in Mexico. In addition, upon further investigation, she saw a sizable bank balance there, far larger than what would have been consistent with someone making her salary. "Now what is she doing with all that money in Mexico?" she asked.

Avila has a long history of money problems. She is currently on trial for grand theft for embezzlement of money from the Elem Pomo tribe, where she worked.

There was no sign of Avila today, however, as law enforcement gathered across the parking lot from Monica's house. After the two tribal police officers (who tribal members allege have not had the necessary training to be true Federal police, being appointed, not hired) showed up with their automatic weapons this morning, they gave Monica until 2:00pm today to get all her stuff out of the townhouse on Quail Top Road.

When I showed up at 2:00pm about a half a dozen LCS Officers pulled up in three cars. They positioned themselves across the parking lot from Monica's house and waited. I noticed Capt. Macedo in the group and went out to speak to him. He told me their role was as observers, and to only intervene if the tribal officers were threatened with violence.

Douglas Duncan, Clayton's other brother, showed up in traditional costume and handed the tribal police officers a copy of the Religios Freedom Restoration Act,,/wiki/Religious_Freedom_Restoration_Act, stating he was there to perform a religious ceremony to bless the house and the grounds. The tribal police did not interfere with the ceremonies that were held in the backyard and front of the house. As it became clear that their patience had run out and they were ready to come in, the group of about 20 Pomos gathered in the living room of the house in a circle, Doug was singing and keeping time with a stick.

Everyone was peacefully singing, when the tribal officers came up the front porch steps and took the locked steel screen security door off it's hinges and entered the house. The two tribal officers entered first, with Captain Chris Macedo, Undersheriff Patrick Turturici, the two cross trained DEA agents in their obligatory body armor as well as a half dozen deputies close behind. DA Don Anderson stayed outside the property.

The two tribal officers went upstairs first, the Pomos were still singing and chanting their prayers in a circle in the living room. They cleared the upstairs, making sure no one was up there. Then they entered the living room and walked into the center of the circle. Walking up to Dwayne Duncan and asked him to leave. He asked the officer if he could finish his song, and they said no. They began to put a tie wrap around his wrists, and he stood there arms at his sides, offering no resistance. When they had the tie wraps on his wrists they tried to move him out of the room.

At this time the Pomos moved in closer and closer, closing the circle with their bodies, arms to their sides, encircling the officers and Dwayne. They could not move. After several minutes of trying to push them through, the Sheriffs moved in, circling the group, grabbing people by their shirts, pulling others, and generally trying to move them out of the room forcibly.

They moved as one, swaying back and forth, Pomos, deputies and tribal police all in a flowing mob. Eventually they swerved towards where I was standing on the couch videotaping the entire event. They all fell forward, knocking me backwards and the couch I was standing on backwards. This created a safety zone for me, as the bottom of the couch was now up in the air, protecting me from the ensuing chaos. By this time people are screaming, the one DEA agent was throwing people around the room, I saw him push a woman flat on her back. At no time did any Pomo raise a hand or make any move against any of the officers.

Doug got taken down by at least three officers, I found myself face to face with Captain Macedo as he was knocked down in the melee. One of the Sheriff deputies had Doug in a choke hold on the floor. His fine traditional regalia strewn all over the living room floor. Capt. Macedo calmly told the office holding Doug to let him up, but that officer continued to hold him down in a choke hold. I did not see Doug so anything to warrant him being treated this way. He was tie wrapped and taken out of the building. It clearly was the Sheriff's deputies who were the agressors, as they ran unchecked throughout the room, grabbing and throwing people down and wrestling them to the ground. So much for not interfering with the situation...

I watched as Pomo after Pomo were grabbed, tie wrapped and taken away. They were taken to a holding room at the tribal headquarters building, where they will be cited for "Interfering with the duties of a Federal Officer".

The scene continued outside and was still going on when I left, but by this time there were twice as many deputies, and even Lakeport PD and the canine crew had shown up, it was a regular circus. Move along folks, the show is over...

Douglas Duncan was arrested and transferred to the Hill Road Correctional Facility. He has been charged with a felony charge of FORCE/ADW NOT FIREARM:GBI LIKELY which means assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. Although no one witnessed him assaulting an officer, claiming he hit one of the officer in the head with his clapper he used to keep time. He was singing as he went down.  He also was charged with 2 misdemeanors, and has a bond of $30,000.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Laverdure Takes Advisor Position at Akin Gump.

 Donald “Del” Laverdure has a new role in serving Indian country.

The former Indian Affairs official and political appointee in the U.S. Department of the Interior has entered an agreement to serve as a strategic advisor to clients of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s American Indian law and policy practice.

A release from the law firm states that his focus will be on tax, infrastructure and natural resource issues for Indian tribes, including the Crow Tribe and other tribal communities throughout the nation.

Laverdure who was recently Acting Assistant Secretary, before the appointment of Kevin Washburn, served almost three and a half years in the Department of the Interior as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs since President Barack Obama appointed him in July 2009.

Laverdure worked closely with Secretary Ken Salazar and his senior staff and testified nearly a dozen times before Congress on behalf of DOI.

“I am thrilled that someone with Del’s knowledge and experience is going to be working with our team,” stated Donald R. Pongrace, who heads Akin Gump’s policy practice. “Del has an exceptional understanding of the tremendous range of issues facing Indian tribes today and will be a great asset to our clients.”

Laverdure added, “Akin Gump has a strong and growing American Indian law group that has been a powerful advocate for tribal governmental interests. The firm’s accomplishments on behalf of the Gila River, Crow, Osage and other tribes are significant examples of how they apply their knowledge of policy and the law to make a difference for their clients. I’m excited to work with this outstanding team.”

Friday, January 11, 2013

CA Tribal Disenrollment: Lifelong Dry Creek Rancheria Members LOSE Appeal

Two longtime Dry Creek Rancheria members who were running for office in a high-profile political battle learned Thursday they lost their appeal to stay in the tribe.

Carmen Cordova Soltanizadeh and Laila Elgin DeRouen said they were informed the Dry Creek board of directors voted 3-2 to disenroll them from the approximate 1,100-member tribe.

“We've been members our entire life,” said DeRouen, 29. “There's absolutely no basis for what they've done.”

“I am who I am, not because of them,” said Soltanizadeh, 34. “We've been a part of the reservation since it begun.”

Soltanizadeh said the first indication she got that the vote was against her was Thursday morning, when her $650 monthly per capita payment for being a tribal member was taken out of her bank account.

“It was put in, then reversed. That's how I knew the decision was made,” she said.

But by Thursday afternoon, she was informed the money, which is generated by Dry Creek's River Rock Casino, was redeposited by tribal officials who decided she would get the final payment after all, despite her disenrollment.

“By putting it in and taking it out, it was a slap in the face,” she said.

The dispute over the status of the two women led to the postponement of tribal elections in November.

DeRouen was running for secretary-treasurer of the five-member tribal board. Soltanizadeh was a candidate for tribal gaming commission.

The two women claim they were selectively disenrolled because they were challenging members of the salaried board who are up for re-election.

Tribal Chairman Harvey Hopkins, who is running for re-election, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Dry Creek Appeal Denied

Ignoring Human and Civil Rights Violations BIA places Land into Trust

It's amazing how the BIA just turns a blind eye to corruption, our friend Marc Benjamin has the story up at the Fresno BEE

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved an application by the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians to put 12.48 acres of land in a tribal trust, the tribe announced Wednesday.

The land is on four parcels contiguous to the Picayune Rancheria and within the tribe's aboriginal territory near Coarsegold in Madera County.

A 2.53-acre piece of land borders Highway 41, south of Avenue 417. The other three parcels do not have highway frontage, tribal maps show.

Each parcel contains a vacant home and the tribe is not proposing a change in land use, according to BIA records.

The land will eventually be used for tribal housing and nongaming economic development, said Nancy Ayala, tribal council chairwoman.

"We are blessed to complete what has been a prolonged and demanding process," she said in a prepared statement. "Now that we have brought these original Chukchansi lands into trust, we will be better able to protect and honor these beautiful lands."

Land must be put into trust to give the tribe jurisdiction over it, and tribes must petition the federal government to put land into trust.

In recent years, placing lands into trust has been a priority for the Chukchansi Tribal Council. The tribe holds about 184 acres in trust and 650 additional acres are in a process that could eventually place them into trust, tribal officials say.

Read More about the horrors at Chukchansi:

Picayune Rancheria

Fresno Bee

Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians

Carmen George

Chukchansi Council Dispute

Morris Reid

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fauxcahontas Elizabeth Warren WON'T Self Designate as Native American from MA

Jammie Wearing Fool blogs about this, with comment from Twila Barnes, Cherokee genealogist..

She refuses to beat her own drum. Really, how pathetic is this woman? And how pathetic are the idiots who voted for her?
Despite repeated claims she is “proud” of her Cherokee heritage, newly minted U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is keeping that pride under wraps and won’t be taking advantage of a chance to officially list herself as the Bay State’s first Native American U.S. senator.
Aides said Warren, who describes herself as part Cherokee and part Delaware Indian, won’t contact historians at the Senate Historical Office to tell them she’s Native American. The office lists minority senators in its official directory.
Warren’s aides refused further comment, but Betty Koed, an associate historian at the Senate Historical Office, said, “If her office wants to call and have her listed, we’d be happy to do so.”
But she can’t do it because she and everyone else knows she can’t. It’s bogus and she’s bogus, but just can never admit it.
Twila Barnes, a Cherokee who has been a consistent critic of Warren, said her decision is just more proof Warren’s claims are suspect. “I think she just wants this to go away because she knows she has no proof. I think it was something she did to get a job, and it was temporarily convenient,” Barnes said. “She’s saying she’s so proud, then why isn’t she declaring herself and getting involved in Native American issues?”
Read the rest at this link below:

Tribal Disenrollments: Dry Creek POMO Indians Fight for Control

 The struggle for control of the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians played out Monday in Santa Rosa as two candidates for tribal office challenged their pending disenrollment.
The candidates, daughters of previous tribal leaders who themselves were disenrolled four years ago, appealed to the five-member Dry Creek board of directors to reverse the decision to kick them out of the tribe.
“It’s a political thing. There’s no reason I should not be qualified to run,” said Laila Elgin DeRouen, who was informed in October she no longer qualified for tribal membership after declaring her candidacy for secretary-treasurer of the board.
“What I presented was the truth,” she said after emerging from her appeal hearing at the Dry Creek administrative offices off Airport Boulevard. “They should never have questioned my membership to begin with.”
Disputes over membership in tribes have increased since Las Vegas-style gambling was legalized on Indian lands in California a dozen years ago.
They have flared up periodically among the about 1,100 members of Dry Creek Rancheria, who opened their River Rock Casino near Geyserville in 2002.
At stake is an about $650-a-month payment each adult tribal member receives, along with eligibility for medical, educational and housing benefits.
For those who have been booted out despite tracing their lineage back for generations, they say they also face a painful loss of their cultural identity and heritage.
Read the Rest of the story here

Monday, January 7, 2013


I'm an Irish Fan, who are YOU rooting for? UPDATE: Well that was tough to watch. Loved getting comments from fans of teams that got to watch this game on television.

WHO Belongs in the Snoqualmie Tribe? It's a MESS

He traveled with a notebook in his pocket, on an urgent mission.
All over Western Washington, for two years beginning in late 1916, Indian agent Charles Roblin sought out homeless, landless Indians, left behind and hiding out during the treaty-making era, who had never received the benefits promised in return for the loss of their land: a school for their children, tools for farming, money.
On sandbars in the rivers in northern Puget Sound, he found Sauk Indians chased out of communal gardens that had sustained them for generations, run out of the forests where loggers didn't want them, and burned out of villages where fishermen didn't want them, either. He traveled to Tolt, where Snoqualmies had lost their livelihood when the hop ranches were destroyed by aphids.
Roblin took down their names and family history, and recorded their enrollment in tribes according to their bloodline, so they could secure the benefits they had been promised under the treaties.
Those records are called Charles Roblin's Schedule of Unenrolled Indians, dated Jan. 1, 1919, or Roblin Rolls for short. In those records Roblin used a red pen to denote families that did not qualify to be enrolled at Snoqualmie, because they were already enrolled in other tribes.
But the red ink was undetectable in the black-and-white copies and microfilmed records that made it to Northwest archives, and at least three major families called out in the Roblin Rolls nonetheless claim Snoqualmie ancestry today.
Seattle anthropologist Jay Miller discovered that secret as he combed through the original Roblin Rolls — organized in a rainbow of colored papers and folders, and notated in colored inks — to help resolve an ongoing tribal enrollment dispute under a contract signed by Snoqualmie tribal secretary Nina Repin.
Miller's research indicates that Shelley Burch, chairwoman of the tribal council, several other council members, and some tribal members claiming hereditary chief status are descended from families nixed by Roblin in red ink. The mismatch with the original record shows that contemporary records used to claim membership today are unreliable, Miller said. "Most records after 1920 are inaccurate, messed up, corrupted or intentionally falsified," Miller said.
Some question the reliability even of the Roblin Rolls, because tribal members were self-identifying their lineage; the oral history they related could have been embroidered, and other complications defeat a perfectly square-cornered foundation.
Read the rest of the story HERE

Tribal Casino Crimewatch: FOXWOODS and Mashantucket Pequot's Former Chairman Charged with THEFT from Tribe. Is Pechanga NEXT on Fed's list?

The news coming out of CT today with the indictment of a former tribal chairperson makes us wonder when the Feds will charge Pechanga's former tribal chair, Jennie Miranda, of the infamous Masiel-Basquez Crime Family with theft from the tribe.  She has already been disenfranchised from the tribe, but Federal Laws have been broken.    Let's see those arrests...

The former chairman of the tribe that runs one of the world's largest casinos and his brother, the tribe's treasurer, have been charged with stealing a combined $800,000 from their Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, federal prosecutors in Connecticut said Friday.

The indictments returned by a federal grand jury in Hartford follow a lengthy FBI investigation at the tribe's tiny reservation in rural southeastern Connecticut, where it owns and operates Foxwoods Resort Casino. 

The former chairman, Michael Thomas, 44, is accused of stealing more than $100,000 in tribal funds and federal grant money between 2007 and 2009 during his tenure as leader of the tribal council, a position he was ousted from over his handling of the tribe's finances. His brother, treasurer Steven Thomas, 38, allegedly stole more than $700,000 between 2005 and 2008 when he was assistant director of the tribe's natural resources department.

 A tribal spokesman, William Satti, released a statement in which the tribal council said the federal charges threaten tribal sovereignty. "We are disappointed in the federal government's decision to move forward with this action, and feel that this has strong implications on self-governance throughout Indian Country," the statement said. The council also said it is confident in Steven Thomas' dedication to his duties as a tribal council member but didn't mention Michael Thomas.

A separate statement sent internally to tribal members offered assurances that the tribe itself is not the target of the FBI investigation.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Per Capita Payments At Pechanga at 10 year Lows. Even after Terminating 25% of their Tribe

The Press Enterprise has a story on identity theft of a per capita check for the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.   Here's that story:
A recent identity theft case in which a Pechanga tribal member’s monthly casino profits check was stolen casts some light on a topic of much speculation by outsiders.
How much does each tribal member receive?
According to court records, it’s about $13,000 a month, or, about $156,000 a year.  OP:  Our last year in the tribe, 2005 we earned $268,000 and that includes bonuses.   A year later, drunk Pechanga youth were bragging about earning over $30,000 per month.
In years past, the per capita payments were apparently higher.
Each adult tribal member received a benefit of more than $250,000 per year in 2006, according to a 2009 opinion from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
That case involved a claim filed by sixteen people stripped of their membership in the Pechanga Band of LuiseƱo Indians in 2006 after their tribal lineage was disputed.  OP:  Disputed, yet proven by Pechanga's own hired experts.
In the recent identity theft case, investigated by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, tribal member Robert Freeman told sheriff’s officials that he went to pick up his check in September from the Pechanga Tribal Government office near Temecula but was told it was not available. A tribal government worker told him he had signed up for direct deposit.
Trouble was, Freeman hadn’t.
The worker told authorities that she had received a call from a man claiming to be Freeman and asking for direct deposit, search warrant documents say. The worker traded email messages and phone calls with the man, who filled out a direct deposit application.
As soon as the theft was reported, the bank account where the check had been deposited was frozen, court records say. There was still $11,500 in the account.
Freeman told sheriff’s investigators that he suspected his former roommate, Ji Yong Lee, who would have had access to his personal information, court records say.
Yi, 29, was charged Nov. 26 in Riverside Superior Court and pleaded guilty Dec. 6 to identity theft. He was sentenced to three years’ probation, 90 days in jail and ordered to pay fines and $13,088.64 in restitution, court records say
This means that Pechanga has fallen on hard times during this recession, including bad publicity over their disenrollments.    KARMA IS A BITCH