(h/t PALA WATCH) The Reader gets in depth on the Pala corruption issue.
In the late ’90s, when the idea of a casino was first considered, members viewed it as a source of security for their financially struggling tribe. Back then, the reservation had few opportunities for employment, and many members moved off the reservation to make better lives for themselves. But a small minority wanted nothing to do with the casino, viewing it as an invitation to trouble. They wanted to keep things as they were and not let outsiders in.
“The casino was supposed to be a good thing for our people,” Paul Johnson, a former member of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, explains. “Unfortunately, a small group of people have turned it from something that was supposed to uplift our tribe and used it for their own personal gain.”
On June 1, 2011, eight tribal members were disenrolled by the band’s executive committee, a six-person elected governing body that rules the tribe. A year later, 154 more members were taken off the roll, losing their per capita, health benefits, and housing. In early 2013, two more were cut; these last members are children.
The 164 disenrolled members of the Pala tribe are all descendants of the late Margarita Brittain, whose blood purity was called into question.
The cited cause of tribal disenrollment is a blood-purity dispute. All 164 disenrolled members are relatives of the late Margarita Brittain, a woman whose lineage has long been questioned by tribal members. The Pala Band of Mission Indians’ tribal constitution states that in order to be a member, 1/16 Pala blood is necessary.
The disenrolled give various reasons for their removal; none have anything to do with blood quantum. Among the alleged motivations are greed, power struggles, and old family feuds. But there is one notion all 164 agree on: if the casino had never opened, they would still belong to their tribe.
Find the link at Pala Watch