At the recent Indian Affairs Committee meeting. Chairwoman Senator Maria Cantwell asked Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians Chairman Mark Macarro and BIA Secretary Kevin Washburn how Pechanga allottees get just and equable allocations in S1219 The Pechanga Water Rights Bill. While the Pechanga Band may have an interest in the water rights issue, that interest flows mainly from claims that it solely represents the Temecula Indians and Temecula Indian allottees in this issue. This is not true.
Mr. Washburn stated it is a remaining issue and concerns individual allottees. Furthermore he stated these things need to be resolved in order to be supportive.
• There has been NO communication from the BIA to disenrolled Pechanga tribal members nor Temecula Indian Reservation allottees from the Tosobol Family in three years. That’s when they talked about talking to us.
• His mention of smaller allottees fails to account for the nearly 100 acres of reservation land and vineyards owned by Paulina Hunter descendents
Chairman Macarro tried to answer by saying the settlement shouldn’t affect our rights at all.
• The truth is it does affect our rights the bill states you need to be a federal recognized allottee member of Pechanga to be recognized for this bill.
• The tribe is inserting language into the new bill that changes the definition of allottees to a tribal member, excluding those of us who actually HAVE an allotment on the reservation.
Mark furthered stated that the status of former allottees that were that were members is complicated.
• What is complicated is that if we didn’t meet the criteria for membership set by Pechanga’s constitution and bylaws, it should be laid out before the Indian Affair Committee and the B.I.A. to show that our allottee status is flawed and we have no right to Pechanga has an allottee.
Chair woman Senator Maria Cantwelt asked has the Dept of interior not funded a water settlement. Mr. Kevin Washburn stated no. Chairwoman Cantwell then asks how was the settlement handled in the past. Mr. Kevin Washburn answered how other tribes had their settlement and the process. But when it came to the concerns of allottees that is part of Pechanga’s water bill he stated the tribe has claims and the allottees has claims they need it all settled at one fell swoop
The B.I.A. recognizes the Hunter family as as allottees via a letter from Regional Supervisor Amy Deutschke. With passage of this bill we will lose our recognition as allottees because of the changes to the definition of allottees. And the millions of dollars that Pechanga is going to get for selling the water rights will not benefit allottees that are not members.