As we keep hearing more tribes are in the "disenrolllment business" I think this post is one that needs to be put up on my blog often. I posted this way back in June 2007 and it still does apply, and we need more emphasis on shining a spotlight on the corrupt tribal leadership. Now the Nooksack Tribe in Washington State and The Grand Ronde in Oregon need to know that what they are doing is NOT RIGHT.
I hope from what you read here, you do NOT get the impression that we are against tribal gaming. That is not true. The links tell the story of what's happening at Pechanga, Snoqualmie in Washington State and other reservations like Chukchansi and Pala. Feel free to comment, they are open.
Tribal gaming has helped many tribes in CA, come out of poverty, Pechanga included. Many of the Pechanga people are uneducated and I remember they were so excited when they qualified for a Target credit card. Unfortunately, with success, greed soon follows. Instead of helping all their people, including those they placed in a moratorium hold, who rightfully belonged to the tribe they looked at who they could get rid of to increase their per capita. And, unfortunately, the money hasn't made everyone happy.
But the facts are clear, most tribes have not treated their people as abominably as Pechanga, Redding Rancheria, Picayune Rancheria, Snoqualmie and others have treated their people. In fact it's more like Tribal Terrorism
Reconciling MORAL OUTRAGE at Pechanga Tribe with Self Determination
Here is an excellent article by Sheryl Lightfoot about how to support sovereignty issues, while not supporting the actions when they are morally repugnant, such as Pechanga's disenrollment of 25% of their tribe in order to enrich the remaining members.
Sheryl Lightfoot Article
In order to be sovereign nations, we must act like sovereign nations. But that does not mean that in order to support self-determination in principle, we need to agree with every decision of other sovereign nations. Nation-states in the international system do not always agree with the internal actions of other nation-states, yet they nearly always accept the principle of the equal sovereignty of all nation-states within the international system (with certain notable exceptions like the Iraq invasion or humanitarian interventions). When a nation-state, a group of nation-states, or private citizens of other nation-states disagree with the internal actions of another nation-state, there are a number of possible avenues of action.
First, sovereign nation-states can register a diplomatic complaint with the government of the offending nation-state. This is done all the time in the international system. The U.S. Department of State often drafts and delivers letters of protest to the diplomats and officials of other governments over areas of disagreement. Likewise, the executives of our indigenous nations have the right, if not the moral responsibility, to send letters and make phone calls of complaint directly to the executives of the Cherokee Nation, expressing their concern over the disenrollment decision. This can be done while supporting the inherent right of an indigenous nation to determine its own membership.
Another tactic which can be employed by other indigenous nations or the private citizens of other nations is the art of moral persuasion, or ''moral suasion,'' as it has also been termed. This involves a campaign of exposure and embarrassment. (OP: This is what we've been pursuing for 9 years now)
This tactic has most often been employed in international human rights campaigns, with the purpose being to expose the immoral government action in the media and open up international discussion in order to embarrass the target government into changing its policy to better conform to international norms.
This was done in the early days of the campaign against apartheid in South Africa and has been used often by groups like Amnesty International to urge governments to stop human rights abuses. OP: Now, tribes like Pechanga practice APARTHEID on their reservations, not allowing disenrolled Pechanga people the right to use reservation facilities.
My view is this:
As mentioned on other sites, tribal sovereignty is something that should be nurtured and cherished and not dishonored by tribe who wield sovereignty like a club.. Many now believe that the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians from Temecula, CA will be responsible for the quick erosion of sovereignty, that tribes have fought for for centuries. The question was asked, "what could be done?".
Frankly, economic sanctions of another nation, plus public embarrassment may be the only course of action that is effective. For instance, in South Africa, it was their SOVEREIGN RIGHT as a free nation to impose apartheid on their country, yet, thankfully, at the urging of the Congressional Black Caucus, we stood up for black South Africans.
What recourse did civilized countries use to bring down this hateful policy? Economic sanctions and world ridicule of the policy. No trade, no travel, no money. Final result, end of apartheid and a welcome back to South Africa into the world community.
Similarly, citizens of the United States can impose their own economic sanctions on the Tribal Nation of Pechanga by boycotting their nation's commercial enterprises, primarily TRIBAL CASINOS.
Stop patronizing their casinos, hotel, restaurants and their powwows. Let them know that we do not agree with their system of denying civil rights to their people and until they follow their own tribal law, citizens of our country will NOT support their nation, but will patronize (OP: In other words, support tribal gaming elsewhere) their competitor nations.
Also, letting state and federal representatives know that we expect them not to support a nation that would treat its citizens this way, especially NOT to allow them increased monetary benefits by expanding their casino slot machines. OP: BIA? HELLO? ANYONE THERE? Kevin Washburn, your righteousness is calling, it misses you.
Readers, there are 250 members of the band that were disenrolled and 400 people who are caught in Pechanga's illegal moratorium (illegal in that SOVEREIGN nation, against the sovereign nation of Pechanga's own constitution) Pechanga and its chairman, Mark Macarro deserves no benefit from violations of their laws and against citizens of the United States. Chukchansi has exterminated 70% of it's tribe, Redding 25%. Elders and children abused by unconstitutional acts under the BIA's watchful eye. Now since this first writing in 2007, more tribes have abused their people: Pala, Nooksack, Grand Ronde. WHY? Because they know they can get away with it...
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